As a society in the growing age of social media, we generally communicate through tweets or status updates, but images and visual arts have its own vocabulary to express itself to our inner senses. In photography, there is a reality so insightful and profound that paradoxically it becomes more real than reality thanks to the lens of the photographer intimately tied to a photograph.
Regarded as the art to the observing mind, there is much more than meets the eye with any single photograph. Provoking emotions and certain feelings through images, photography has a unique way of touching and stimulating all of us in some form, while unearthing fascinating moments from ordinary situations. At best, photography speaks to our emotions while allowing us to tell our stories and show others our own framing of the world around us. A good photograph requires a good photographer who has the ability to capture a moment in time, envision it in the mind’s eye, and make it so by the tools available. In many ways, photographs have the power to not just express what one feels, but define what exactly is being conveyed in an image’s distinct instant.
Blessed with a sophisticated eye for style and composition, northern Indiana photographer, Priscilla Kammerer of Priscilla K Photography is able to blend her love for life and art by capturing priceless moments for many in and around the area.
Since first launching her business in 2012, Kammerer has photographed hundreds of individuals for sessions ranging from engagements to weddings, newborn births to high school senior shoots, family portraits, and much more. Her photographs, superlative and pure in their honesty, capture an exquisite and delicate intimacy.
Though her passion grew over the years, Kammerer reveals how her family, particularly her three young children, catapulted her into the profession. By capturing their personalities and freezing moments of their childhood, she knew there was no turning back. “The entire reason I became a photographer was to capture moments of my kids. I wanted a nice camera to help document their moments growing up,” she smiles. “They are still my favorite subjects.”
After sharing their photographs on social media, Kammerer discloses how her appetite for the art snowballed but admits that it wasn’t an easy start for her. “When I first started, many established photographers in the area treated me poorly to the point [where] I almost gave up. I vowed to never treat another photographer that way.”
The 33-year-old shares that the biggest lesson learned from starting her business was the need to have a tough skin, be determined to succeed, and trust her gut. “I wish I had not paid attention to the cruel people out there,” Kammerer says. Once her passion for photography was ignited, she reveals it was a burning admiration that she just couldn’t put out. She smiles, “I am so glad I didn’t quit.”
As a natural light photographer, Kammerer understands how essential it is to pay close attention to light sources, as they are important parts in enhancing and defining an image. Currently using a Canon 5D Mark III, she shares how her first camera (Canon EOS Rebel T3i) taught her that it isn’t really the camera that makes the photograph, but the person behind it. “[It] taught me to rely on my eye and my perspective,” she discloses.
Through many trial and error attempts, the Indiana native reveals how she was autodidact and gaining much of her knowledge from learning on her own in her spare time. However, it was through meeting fellow photographers in her community and befriending them that helped her enhance her skills along the way. “I am eternally grateful for these individuals who are as kind as they are talented,” she humbly says. “I rejoice in their success as much as I do my own.”
Shooting in natural light is not just a romantic element to the various styles of photography, but adds a touch of realism and energy to an image. Kammerer works with daylight and primarily based outside, working with nature and photographing her clients in a very artful setting. Yet, the scenery—whether it’s countryside or city—can pose its own set of problems for the eager photographer who feels happy and works well with nature’s sunlight. Searching for that elusive golden hour is not a guaranteed outcome depending on the time of day, year, or even state. “Indiana is tough,” she says. “We only have a few good months of weather. [I’ve] had to reschedule so many sessions.”
Because of rescheduling and working around Mother Nature’s clock, Kammerer has had to throw her creativity into high gear when photographing subjects. “I have done sunrise sessions to capture beautiful light. I have had family sessions where a good portion of the family is cuddled in a heap of quilts. I am pretty stubborn about the time of my sessions,” she laughs. “[But] it is worth it—that sunset light, there is nothing like it.”
Kammerer truly believes photography “is art that is personal” and it surely is. The photographer gets to be a small part of someone’s love story, disclosing how it makes her heart truly happy. “The thing I love about photography is that I get the chance to freeze a moment of time. A first birthday, a first kiss as a married couple, the first time a mom meets her newborn—it is quite humbling to be invited into these moments.”
She reveals that some of the sessions she has shot over the years have truly shocked her and taken her by surprise. “Many of my engagement [or] wedding shots have made my heart soar,” she says. “I feel that photographing couples is my niche. I love capturing love.”
It is an evident fact that through Kammerer’s photographs, one can see how her vision radiates not just pure love and romance, but enchants viewers through a magical and personal element too. She reveals that in order for a photograph to stand out, it must seize emotion and aptly define the moment. “My goal at every session is to capture emotion,” she says. “I like to take chances and push myself.”
Kammerer credits the connection she has with her subjects as an important component to being a successful photographer. “I try my hardest to make my subjects feel comfortable,” she says. “I love laughter at sessions—even if it means making a fool of myself, it is worth it.”
She goes on to share that being a photographer also means becoming a good director, disclosing how guidance creates ease and trust. “I don’t ever want a session to feel stressful,” she expresses. “It is the biggest compliment when my clients tell me they had so much fun.”
As a photographer situated and residing in northern Indiana, Kammerer has had a chance to branch out a bit and travel across the United States for work. She shares the furthest she has traveled was for a wedding in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. “It was awesome,” she enthuses. “I am traveling this fall to Florida for another destination wedding—traveling is another passion of mine, so it is amazing to do both.”
With the processing time and editing, photography isn’t easy but Kammerer manages, revealing how she has found a fine balance between her work and family life. “The first two years I said yes to too many sessions and did not give my family enough of me—I have since changed that,” she says. “My kids are only little once.”
Family is an important part of Kammerer’s life and it reflects greatly in her portfolio. Through it all, she finds herself inspired by one individual who has stood by her through it all—her husband, whom she calls her “biggest fan.”
“He encourages me and makes me feel like I can do anything,” she smiles. “[But] I also have amazing clients—many of them have become friends over the past few years. They encourage me and push me to give them better images than I gave them the session before.”
There is no doubt about it, but recent years have shown women are a driving force in entrepreneurship. Reports have shown that the number of women-owned businesses in the United States rose by 68% between 1997 and 2014, doubling the growth rate for businesses started by men. Kammerer is definitely a part of this growing trend and shares solid advice that if women choose to start their own business, it is essential they have a tough skin, put family first, and “don’t doubt your worth.”
Photography not only helps one live in a moment, but also serves as a fantastic story-telling medium that savors life intensely through every hundredth of a second. Whether a photographer shoots one image or series, the possibilities of tales are endless. Kammerer has been able to capture priceless moments over the years for many, proving that the beauty of photography is in the illustrations of feelings written on the human face and the unspoken truth open to interpretation.
At the moment, the enterprising photographer is currently booked for the year and is taking new clients for 2016, but it’s no doubt that while Kammerer is growing as an artist and photographer, she is becoming a smart and savvy businesswoman who can manage to have the best of both worlds.
Kammerer truly loves her job and is on a determined path with her artistic approach to capturing moments. From the first time she picked up her camera all those years ago, to photographing her latest session, the photographer has a sincere passion for the profession and art. Her attitude and passion proves that where there is genuine love and inspiration, one cannot go astray because the best reward that life offers is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.
“If you pursue what your passion is, it doesn’t feel like work,” she says. “When I am shooting a wedding, I don’t feel like it’s a job, it’s my happy place. [And] to get paid for doing what I love is pretty much a dream.”
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All photos from this interview can be found on Priscilla K Photography’s Facebook page.