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Home / Interview Series / Interview Series: Redboat Photography

Interview Series: Redboat Photography

Red Boat Photography Interview

Something new here at the Sweet Tea Junkie blog is our Interview Series which will feature a variety of small business owners mostly from across the South that we think you need to know about! At Sweet Tea Junkie we love Sweet Tea (kinda obvious) and being a small business ourselves love seeing others chase after their passions as well.

Our first interview is with Katie Sams, Co-Owner of Knoxville based Redboat Photography. We recently commissioned them for a product and lifestyle shoot and were just blown away with the results.

Tell us about yourself and your business
As a North Carolina native, I really enjoy southern living. This includes slowing down, taking beach trips, sipping sweet tea, and evening walks with my husband (and best photographer) Alex. I feel that that love for the south and slower living really translates into the work we do with our photography business. With each session or wedding, I try to convey a sense of calm, ease, and not struggle to try and create something that isn’t there, but rather use the beautiful southern landscape and light to create beautiful images.

How did you get started? What year did you start?
I’m not sure how we got started haha. I idolized my grandfather as a child, who wore Velcro New Balance shoes, played “Big Band” vinyls, and always had a Canon camera handy. I loved how beautiful his pictures were and got my first Olympus when I was around 8 or 9. I really haven’t put down a camera since.

I officially started the business the Summer of 2012, when my husband was unexpectedly deployed to Afghanistan. I had felt the urge to start the business prior to that, but had never had time. With my newly (and sadly) acquired free time, I began to study lighting, composition, and started photographing everyone and everything.

What drives the passion for what you do?
I love making beautiful images of people that inspire me and that are as beautiful on the inside as they are on the outside. It’s so fulfilling when recently a bride wrote “I can’t stop looking at the pictures and crying! I love how you captured our day”. It’s also such an honor to be invited into these intimate moments.

I’ve photographed the anguish of a wife and daughters as they watched their father/husband leave for war, a family who’s father/husband had cancer and may not survive, a close friend who with shaved head who had received news she had beat cancer… and a family session where the grandmother wasn’t alive the next year. It’s the gravity of the responsibility that makes me want to create exceptionally beautiful images, because you never know when you’ll be the last person to photograph someone.

What advice do you have for people looking to start in business?
I would advise aspiring photographers to look at the whole picture. Don’t just think “wow, I can make $300+ for an hour of work” or “I’m going to get rich making $3500 working 8 hours at a wedding”. Realize that there’s a lot more that goes into it, including expensive gear, computers, software, insurance, taxes, time, sweat and (literal) tears.
There have been many times I wanted to quit due to bridezillas, difficult families and inner struggles of trying to balance work and family (to name a very few). I would highly recommend becoming an intern at a successful photography studio. Not a wedding mill (because believe me, I’ve worked for those as well and they don’t have a heart or soul for the industry), but someone who is producing beautiful work and putting in the hours to make a great client experience. Then see what you think before you embark on this journey.
A lot of people think because they have a $600 camera they can go out and shoot weddings. I cringe because those are the people that are oftentimes too naive to realize they’re most likely ruining someone’s wedding images that can never be replaced.
Name one resource (website, blog, person etc.) that you follow regularly
I follow Josh Elliott of Josh Elliott Studios in Irvine California. His use of light, the way he pulls beautiful, rich color into his images, and just his humble manner is so energizing. Its nauseating to follow a photographer who is constantly self-praising and self-serving, but Josh lets his gorgeous images speak for themselves. It’s refreshing.
I also follow Style Me Pretty and other big-name blogs, but more to keep abreast of the changing trends and styles.

What is your favorite type of tea?
I’m a plain Jane girl. I really just love a strong and sweet cup of black tea. I’m not much of a flavored tea girl, but I have to admit I love the light flavors in the Sweet Tea Junkie flavored teas.

What is your website address and how can our readers contact you?
Our web address is www.redboatphotography.net. I would love to hear from your readers! I can be contacted through the form online or at redboatphotography@icloud.com.

There you have it folks, our interview with Redboat Photography. Share it if you enjoyed it and if you have a great Southern Small business (tea related even better) we want to hear from you.