Feature Friday//Trista Spurrier Vandevenne//August 4, 2017

This week Trista Vandevenne is sharing some of her beautiful work with us and answers a few questions below! 

Please tell us about yourself…

Hi, my name is Trista Vandevenne and I’m a hobbyist photographer.  My husband and I live in Cary, NC with our 3 daughters (8, 6 and 3).  In my previous life I worked in banking after getting my MBA at Duke University and thrived on travel and doing bucket list things like jumping out of airplanes. I am currently at home with the girls and enjoying our time together (when they are not in school and activities!).  We love getting out and about, spending time with friends as well as movie nights at home.  When we can we head out to the beach to enjoy the sun, water and sand (well maybe my camera doesn’t like those things but we do :).  I love being behind the camera and finding beauty in our moments and in the world around us. I also love capturing the more humorous side of life. My husband jokes that my hobby is like a full time job and he’s not far from the truth :).  I’m currently working on getting monthly photo books done and its become quite the endeavor because I’m so far behind!

Can you describe your style in 3 words? Why those words?

E-Motion, Bold, Clean  

My favorite pictures capture what I call e-motion (includes both genuine emotion and movement/motion) in beautiful light that either highlights the light/shadows or enhances the colors. I don’t often get to shoot at golden hour so I have tried to find ways to document our days in an artistic way all throughout the day. I enjoy trying to capture a feeling through my camera and enhancing in post. I especially love to show the strength in us and in nature and also the humor.  I prefer uncluttered scenes and will either shoot to help declutter or clone out in post.  I usually convert to BW if the colors aren’t adding to the story and/or the light or emotion just screams for BW.

What sparked your passion for photography?

I have had a passion for taking pictures since I was a kid with the family film camera (I know, I’m dating myself). During my youth I loved capturing moments, snapshots in time to remind me of what we were doing and with whom we were doing it. As I got older I enjoyed capturing the beauty of the places to which I traveled as well as capturing the furbaby’s personalities for animal adoption charities.  After kids, the focus shifted to capturing our daily lives as well as our bigger moments and vacations. 

What's in your camera bag right now?

I usually have my D750 and my 24-70mm.  The 24-70mm is just my sharpest, most versatile lens.  I love how much story telling I can do with it.  If I need something that can handle low light and I’m not going to bring out a flash then I will use my 35mm (its a DX lens, I just haven’t upgraded because its so sharp and I rarely shoot closed down).  I also love playing with my lensbabies (Edge 80 is my favorite) and my 70-200mm (when I have enough room and haven’t had too much caffeine that day ;).  For underwater, my pool bag always has my Olympus TG4 which is just so fun!

What is your dream shoot or project?

I love concept driven photos where I have a vision and I work to execute that vision thinking through all the parameters of model, wardrobe, lighting, location, composition, etc. If only my kids were more enthusiastic about those types of shoots I might be able to practice it more often!! On a daily basis I still think through those elements and try to guide them to the feeling and vision I have. Sometimes we succeed, more often than not they do something even better than what I envisioned which is lovely! I have often dreamed of traveling the world with one or more kids and just witnessing and capturing the beauty and wonder of it all! You did say dream, right?! :)

What are some of the misconceptions you had about photography and photographers at the beginning of your photography journey? Have they changed, and how?  

I used to think all the big photographers knew it all! But the best thing about photography is that there is always something new to learn, different genres to explore, alternative ways to edit. It really makes it hard to get bored!!

What advice would you give to newbie photographers? What advice do you wish you'd been given at the very beginning?

To the newbies, my biggest advice is to learn all you can while practicing daily!  Like anything else, one without the other will not create substantial growth but together they can help you really fly! I experienced significant growth last year when I did my first 365 while also taking classes and learning online. Also, open yourself up to constructive criticism and find a mentor or a small group whose opinions you value! Others will see things in your photography that you can’t see yet and with some constructive criticism you will be able to focus on the right things. I would also say don’t be afraid of full sun!  I think all the talk about the perfect light at golden hour makes people think they can’t get good photos out in full sun but its definitely doable and think of all the magical memories we would miss out on if we only shot during golden hour! I think looking back I wish I had started my serious photography journey sooner :)