I’m so excited to interview Stephanie Necessary of Necessary Photography based in Myrtle Beach, SC. She specializes in photographing weddings, seniors and families. Her work has been featured in PhotographersConnection, Evoking You, Help Portrait Blog, and Eccentric Edge Magazine. Check out her amazing photography portfolio on her website or Facebook page.
1. How did you get your start in photography? Well…..it all started with a trip out west. My husband, Mark, is originally from New Mexico and about ten years ago (where does time go?) we packed up the family and headed out there for a few weeks. Since I’d never been before, I wanted to make sure I had some ‘good pictures.’ So…I headed to the store and bought my first SLR – a film Canon Rebel. 25 rolls of film later, I was hooked. It took me many years as a hobbyist – immersing myself in as much photography education as I could – before I put on my big-girl pants and called myself a ‘professional.’ Truthfully, I’m still immersing myself in learning more and can’t wait to see where my photography will be in another ten years!
3. If you could show us only one photo what would it be and why is it important to you? I thought this would be an easy one for me, but it turns out it’s not! After a lot of mulling over – I’d go with my image called “Define Yourself.” It’s important to me because of a few reasons. First, it was a fun shoot that pushed me to learn a new technique. Second, I collaborated on it with my 11 year old step –son. And third, it really hits on a very important issue for me. I love doing images that really represent something that I’m passionate about – and this one is great for raising awareness about bullying. It’s been shared on national anti-bullying blogs and is the playbook cover for a play called “Breaking the Silence of Bullying” by Dr. Beverly Boone. I don’t think there’s a better thing in the world than to use something you’re passionate about to make a difference in the lives of others – and this image has done that.
4. If you could only use one lens, which one would you choose and why? Another seemingly easy question that’s so much more than initially meets the eye. My go-to lens now is the 50mm 1.4, but that’s because I can’t afford the 85mm 1.2! LOL. I am a prime girl, all the way. I do not use any zoom lenses. I just got the 200mm 2.8 and have begun playing with it and really am enjoying the compression and creamy bokeh it adds. So, I guess the answer to this question is: 50mm 1.4 – but if I had more money, my answer might just change!
5. Your conceptual photography work is really incredible. When did you start exploring the idea of conceptual photography and where do you find your inspiration? I’ve been a huge fan of Brooke Shaden for a while now – and it was her work that first peaked my interest in this genre. I wanted to try it but had NO idea where to start. My first real attempt at it was simple levitation images during my Fallen Angel shoot – and I felt I had some minor successes, but really struggled to create what I thought was ‘believable.’ Soon after that, I found Shelby Robinson and was so inspired by her work – especially considering her age (18!). I reached out to her, and did a mentoring session with her via Skype. That Skype session was really the turning point for me with conceptual photography. After that session, I shot the karate crane image on the beach. The image features myself and my two boys – floating in lotus position with oriental cranes floating around us. That one was my biggest compilation to date – 27 images were combined in post to create it. From there, I purchased Brooke Shaden’s Creative Live course (totally worth it) and used her suggestion of listing emotions, colors, and objects to help create inspiration for future shots. I definitely tend to gravitate towards fire and water – so a lot of my conceptual images feature one – or both – of these elements.
6.Being an Artist in Residence for South Carolina State Parks sounds like an amazing experience and your landscape photography is breathtaking. Can you tell us about how you became involved with the state parks and your role as an Artist in Residence? I loved being an Artist in Residence for the South Carolina State Parks! A friend of mine heard about the program and encouraged me to apply. Apparently, a lot of states do this – and national parks too – although this was the first time I’d heard of the idea. I applied at the end of 2011 through the SC State Parks website, and found out in December 2011 that I was one of their artists for 2012. My family and I went to Keowee Toxaway State Park in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains and stayed in a cabin for a week. The cabin was provided to us at no charge as a part of the program. We enjoyed the park, hiked, fished, and – of course – I took a lot of images! I chose my favorite one (Moon over Lake Keowee), had it enlarged and framed, and donated it to the park. The AIR program is really a cool idea that benefits both the artists and the parks. I’d highly encourage others to try it!
7. I see that you love Montana and Glacier National Park. How did you become so passionate about state and the park?
I honestly have no idea! There’s just always been something about Montana. When I graduated from high school, I wanted to go to University of Montana, but was unable to afford the out of state tuition….or at least that’s what I told myself. I think a large part of me was afraid to go so far away from family. So, I ended up getting my Bachelor’s from Coastal Carolina University. I grew up with horse fever, and loved the rodeo life. Something about being on horseback through the mountains of Montana just called to me. My husband felt the same way. So, for our ten year anniversary, we finally made the trek out there and it was SO worth it! If I didn’t have kids…..I might have stayed. Let me say, riding through the mountains was EVERYTHING I hoped it would be. I plan on applying for the Glacier National Park Artist in Residency program in the next year or so….so – say a little prayer for me.
8. How did your family get starting practicing Goju Ryu karate? Funny you asked this…I have some great friends! The same friend that turned my on to the Artist in Residence program is all to blame for karate! She enrolled her son at a local dojo, and he absolutely loved it. So, we took the boys to try a few classes, and ended up enrolling them as well. The boys had been doing it for roughly 6 months when my husband decided to give it a go. My husband’s youngest brother and father are black belts in Shorin Ryu – so he grew up in a martial arts household. About a year later, I jumped on the bandwagon and began practicing with the family. So – we’ve been doing it together now for a little over 2 years. It’s really an incredible thing to be able to share something like that with your whole family – plus, I feel a lot safer going to some of the remote areas I go to for photography since I started practicing Goju.