Meet Lindsey Wilderotter a portrait and lifestyle photographer based in Caldwell, New Jersey. I started following her on Instagram and absolutely LOVED the energy of her photos. Lindsey was gracious enough to take time out of her busy day to answer a few questions for us on her career, inspirations and of course the equipment and processes she uses for her stunning images.
Tell us a little about yourself?
I am 27 years old living in New Jersey and have lived here my whole life. I have three awesome brothers and love the fact that I don’t have any sisters even though everyone asks how I could be the only girl among all these boys! But I love it and wouldn’t change that for anything. They helped me to discover my love of sports and have always supported me in everything I was passionate about. I am a runner and have been since my junior year of high school. I love running and it has been such an outlet for me through all the good and bad times. When I was a sophomore in college, I ran my first marathon and since then have run 13 marathons! After I started to run more in other states, I wanted to make a goal for myself to run at least one full or half marathon in every state and so far, I have knocked off twelve states. So more to go but it’s something that drives me and brings me to a new place to explore while doing the one thing that always puts a smile on my face!
How did you decide to pursue a career in photography? What inspired you?
I have always had a passion for photography and was always the person at parties and events that wanted to get a picture. I love capturing something so beautiful and memorable that I can look back on in a few years and remember everything about that day, who I was with, the weather, etc. I love that feeling but I also love creating new things and looking at things in different angles/ways and photography was the perfect outlet for that. However, I didn’t pursue it as a career or anything other than a hobby until about two years ago. I went to school for mental health counseling and was a therapist for about a year. But while I was in the field of counseling, I noticed how much my mind was focused on things related more to a photographer than what it should have been focused on while I was sitting with clients. I’ve never been good with sitting in desks/being in offices, but I always thought that the field of counseling was something I would love to do. I love helping people and I know the power of counseling and wanted to be there for people who needed it. But as I started to see myself fade from it, I realized that this wasn’t fair to not only me but to my clients. They deserved someone who could give them the full attention they needed and deserved. So I decided to take a break from the counseling world and see where photography would take me. It honestly came to a point where I just said to myself that I don’t want to look back on my life in ten years and wish I made a change earlier. Life is too short not to follow your dreams or your heart and my heart was fully invested in photography.
How would you describe your photography style?
I like being different in my photography, exploring places and angles that aren’t traditional. I started out doing nature and city photography and absolutely loved that. I used to go into New York City and find random alleyways or streets that I had never seen before and take photos there. I would also almost get on the ground (yes in NYC, dedication at it’s finest!) to get above shots of areas that I never really thought to look up at before. I think I will always have a soft spot for landscape and city photography even though they are different, I just love capturing this world and finding beauty in unexpected places. However, as I have started to expand my photography career, I have loved working with people in portraits or lifestyle photoshoots. Honestly, I love it all!
What equipment do you use?
I use my Canon Eos Rebel T6 camera and currently have two lenses, the 18-134mm, and 50mm. I am in the process of getting another lens and possibly getting another camera base that works a little bit better with fast-moving shots but for now these are the two lenses I use with the camera base that my boyfriend actually got me for Christmas two years ago that started this whole process and really pushed me to go for it! I am also working on getting an off-camera flash for night events and night photography as well!
Can you describe your post production workflow?
Honestly, my post-production workflow is almost as fun as the actual work itself! Not only do I love taking the photos and creating the beautiful shots, but I get so excited when the shoots are over to go and edit! I typically try to get my photos back to my clients within 24 hours, which so far, I have been able to. What that requires is going home after the shoots and uploading the photos to both my computer and my hard drive. I am somewhat paranoid that if I don’t upload them to both from my memory card that I am going to lose photos, so I always make sure to first back up the photos. Then I got through all the photos that I took for the shoots and delete the ones where the clients blinking or talking, or if the photo is blurry, etc. And then I go into full editing mode. Before editing, however, I usually make sure that I get a sense of the client’s style and if these photos are for their Instagram or website, I make sure to look at that so I can edit in a way that matches their style. My editing style is a little darker than some people like so I take that into account and change my style to give them the photos that they want and will use. So after knowing how they want their photos edited, I open Lightroom and start uploading and editing the photos. I have about three presets that I use for all my photos that I got back and forth with (again to match the styles). However, I don’t just add the preset and save it and call it a day. I usually apply a preset to a photo and then adjust the lighting or contrast depending on how the preset has affected the photo. Once I feel that the edit is good, I save it to a file on my computer. After editing all the photos for the photoshoot, I add all the photos to an album on a site called Pixiset that makes a beautifully well-done and super easy downloadable album to send right to the client’s email for them to download! Once they receive their photos, I always tell them to let me know if they want any changes and I will make those adjustments within the next day and send it back. Oh and also, my post-production work is almost always done in a coffee shop! I can focus so much better there, and the 2-3 cups of coffee help me get through the hours of editing. But truthfully, as tedious and time-consuming editing can be, I do love it. I love taking a photo that I took and editing it to something even more beautiful for my client to share and love.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I find a lot of my inspiration through other photographers that I follow on Instagram. But also, I find a lot of inspiration through my clients too. Whenever I do a photoshoot with a client, I ask them to send me some inspiration that they have found for their shoot so that I know what types of photos/style they want to accomplish during our session. They usually find a lot of things on Pinterest, which is another great tool that I have used for sessions like engagement shoots and mini sessions with clients. But I do get a lot of inspiration from other photographers that I see post their sessions with clients and take notes of some of the poses or locations that they have used with their clients so that I can give some ideas to my own when the time comes.
How has social media help expand your career and brand?
Social media, as much as it can be a big pain in the butt, really has positively influenced my career. I started to share my business on my Instagram, I put my website on there, I post photos from my sessions, I offer discount sessions, etc. and it has brought me pretty much all of my clients. Even though I sometimes feel super annoying posting so much about my photography, I have found that people do reach out to me because of it and I have almost every weekend from now until the end of October booked with sessions because of Instagram. It is a great and amazing tool that does connect you with so many people. I have even met other photographers that have allowed me to second shoot with them at weddings for more experience and some that refer me to their clients when they can’t do a shoot for them on a certain day. It has been amazing to grow in this space and meet so many people, both photographers, and clients that have pushed me further in my business and my career.
What has been the biggest highlight of your career thus far?
Ah, this is a hard one! The biggest highlight of my career thus far honestly was probably my first photoshoot with a blogger that I met through Instagram. She was the first person to reach out to me to ask for photos for her blog/website/Instagram and to be honest I was so nervous! We met in New York City and we took photos throughout Central Park. She had sent me some photos that she had seen another blogger take for inspiration, so I had a good idea of the type of shots she wanted. After just a couple of photos, she asked to see them. At first, I was so scared that she would look at them and not like them, but when I showed her she loved them and said that they were already exactly what she wanted. That made me feel like I really could do this and that I could make this into something. Even though it was only my first shoot, I felt excited and inspired to keep going. We finished our shoot that day and when I sent her the photos later that night, she told me how much she loved every single one and that she wanted to already schedule another shoot for the following month to get more content. It was the perfect first photoshoot experience and honestly gave me the confidence to keep going.
Where do you see yourself and your business in the next couple of years? Any special projects you would like to share with us?
I hope to see my business continue to grow and honestly my goal is to go full time by the end of this year. Right now, I am currently working part-time at a restaurant while I build up my business, but I would love to be doing photography every day, full time! I want people to know me as a professional photographer and trust me to capture amazing and beautiful things for them. I have already had a good amount of experience with family, newborn, event, and portrait photography and I hope to continue that in the years to come. I do have an amazing work collaboration with a hotel in Asbury Park, which is awesome and some fun things with them will be coming up. As much as I want my own photography business to grow with clients of my own, I do hope to also start to work with other brands or hotels/companies and get more experience in that area of photography.
Anything you would like to add?
I think the only thing that I want to add is that as scary as it was to completely change my career path from something that I went to undergrad and two years of grad school for, I could not be happier with my decision. I am truly so happy taking photos, meeting new people, creating something beautiful and sharing it with so many people. This is where my heart is happiest and as I said earlier, life is too short to just wish for your dreams to come, you have to make them happen. It’s not always easy and there are days that I question myself, but I wouldn’t trade any of those days because they have made me stronger and pushed me to go outside of my comfort zone and find what I truly love. Don’t just let your dreams stay a dream, make them your reality.
Mobile phone: 908-370-4681
Click here to view a pdf of the interview.