Aug 8, 2011

Spotlight on ... Cindy Harter Photography!

Cindy Harter-Sims is a very dear friend of mine.  Despite the fact that we have never met in person, we have spoken, encouraged, taught, cried and laughed together virtually every day for the last five or so years.  So although we have never been in the same room together, we are nonetheless the closest of friends and I simply adore everything about her!  We met as part of a Yahoo! group of photographers who came together to learn this crazy obsession together around 2006.  That larger group has since disbanded, but a core group of 8 of us remain together to this day.  That group has been one of the biggest blessings of my life and I love each one of my girls dearly.  

Cindy has one of the biggest hearts of anyone I know... and it shows in every bit of her work. She is an amazing woman and artist... come meet her and see for yourself!

Cindy Harter

Hi Cindy!  Tell us where you live?

I live in Cartersville, Ga.  It is a small town about 40 minutes northwest of Atlanta.

What do you love about living there?

I live in a small southern town that is filled with artistic people.  This town really appreciates the arts.  We have museums, potters, painters, musicians, actors and many who are big fans of the art world. It's perfect for me!

Describe your photography style.

I feel so passionate about what I do and why I do it.
My photography style is one of describing the connections between people.  I hope that when a viewer looks at my work, they can feel how the subjects feel for each other.  It blesses me to be able to create a hard copy image of how people feel about the love in their lives. I believe that a having a special image in your house, that reminds you that the people in your family truly LOVE you, can change how you live out your day.  I love being a part of that!

How did you get started in photography?

My story is a journey of understanding connections between people.  I have five grown children, so I always understand the bond between a momma and her kids, but I didn't have a romantic love connection for myself.  I knew what it looked like and longed for it in my own life.  After a divorce, I began shooting other people's families, hoping to show a family the gift they had in each other so they would appreciate each other and stay together.  I truly thought the closest I would ever get to a love story was to photograph other people. Thankfully, other people responded to the message I was saying through my pictures. My business began growing, and it is beyond anything I could have imagined for my life.  Not only has my work brought people together, but I have been blessed to find contentment in my work by knowing I am doing something good. AND God sent me the right man, so I have also have my own love story.  I keep going on this journey with the excitement of not knowing what is around the next corner!  I can't wait to see where my life story goes and would love to have you go with me.

Do you shoot professionally?

Yes. Yay!!!  (Cindy recently opened a beautiful new studio in Cartersville!)

Describe what you do and why.

I have always had a gift of being able to read the dynamics in relationships without knowing the person really well.  I always thought my gift was so that I knew how to pray for others.  I still believe it is helpful in knowing how to pray for someone, but I now realize that it goes much farther than that. My journey was all leading up to this place and this job!  When I meet a family, I know who is in pain and why, and I can feel who needs to spend more time with who and who needs to be touched more by whom. I take those needs into account and choreograph a session that shows each person what they need to see. Then, the DVD slideshow reinforces that message. I talk a lot about the gifts they all have in each other during the session.  I am an expert in longing for love and am the biggest fan of appreciating the love you have.  It is easy for me to communicate this during a session and most couples and families really understand how precious the people around them are, after our time together. When they see their pictures, they see the love they already have and begin that awesome journey of thankfulness.
 I had a session with a family where I felt the dad was spending way too much time with his work, and just needed to be reminded of his blessings, by making his kids laugh and making his wife smile.  I created an environment where I captured that in a picture and when he saw his final images and heard the music with the DVD slideshow he called me right after crying ... All he could say was "my girls, those are my girls ".  I knew I had done exactly what I had set out to do!  I knew they would all cling to each other a little closer, and that is something that a special picture can remind you to do!  How awesome to play a part in making that happen :)

What’s in your bag, and what one piece of equipment could you absolutely not live without?

I have 2 5D Mark II's and 2 Cannon 580ex speedlights. I don't want to live without my 24-70 2.8 lens, most of my work is done with that lens. Other lenses include 16-35 2.8, 50 1.4, 100 2.8, 70-200 2.8, 15mm fisheye,  2 Alien B800's and 2 medium soft boxes. I also have reflectors and a studio full of chairs, fabrics, and other fun stuff.

What is your best post-processing tip?

Get the exposure and crop perfect when you take the pic, so that you have minimal work afterward.

Was there ever an “aha” moment when you knew you had found your photographic voice?

The first time someone responded emotionally with an image of mine and they "got the message", I knew I was doing something good. Now I am an addict!  I admit it!  

What is your best advice for those who are new to photography?

Practice!  Learn everything you can!  Do not hang a shingle until you have a professional understanding of exposure and how to paint with light.

If you could spend your life doing anything you wanted to do with no concern for money, what would it be?

I would be doing THIS!!!

What inspires you?

Seeing love and connections between people.

Show us your favorite image taken by you
This is probably my favorite image I've ever taken.  These precious babies were five days old, and I wanted a fresh take on a daddy and his boys.

Thank you so much Cindy for sharing your talent and vision here on the blog!!!  Be sure to leave Cindy some love in the comments!  ;)


Julie Monacella Photography said...

Oh, LOVE this post. A wonderful interview of a wonderful person (by a wonderful person). :)

Anonymous said...

We love Cindy! Her work shines and inspires all of us; and her love for those around her especially is a bright star in our lives.
thanks for this article!!!

Allison said...

Love you Cindy girl! Awesome article, you are an amazing force in the photography world my friend. You are realizing your dream, and that so inspires me!!

Jennifer said...

Cindy Sims is so talented. Cartersville is so blessed to have her. I'm glad to call her friend. Love you girl, Jennifer N

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