Meet Sarah Gannaway!
I’m one of the oldest (figuratively and literally) members of the SPS Team. I joyfully hold the title of ‘Customer Support Ninja’ and chances are, if you’ve ever emailed firstname.lastname@example.org, your reply came from me.
1. How did you get involved with SPS?
My good friend, Julie Elfers, took Kyle’s class and raved about it. I signed up as soon as I could. I’ve loved photography my whole life and took some college classes, but when I moved to digital from film, I shelved all my knowledge and let the camera intimidate me. I knew it was time to fall back in love with taking pictures I could be proud of. I got very involved in the Facebook group and was eventually asked to help moderate it. A year after that, I became one of the first ‘official’ SPS Team members.
2. Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m a mom of four kiddos who keep me on my toes and wife to an amazing guy who loves me for who I am. We have a dog (and a puppy on the way, but please don’t tell my kiddos that!), three rabbits, a guinea pig, and an assortment of fish because four kids just wasn’t enough to really call it a circus. I was born and raised in Wisconsin and still live there today. I love to read, cook, and craft (not necessarily in that order) when I’m not behind the lens.
3. What’s your favorite thing to shoot?
I love preserving moments – lost teeth, favorite art projects, things my kids are proud of, and times I know I’ll want to look back on someday when my kids are grown. Last year, I rekindled my love for landscape photography and that’s an area I am excited to explore as my kids grow up and are home less and less.
4. Who, besides Kyle Shultz, are your photography idols?
I really enjoy Lacey Meyers’ work (@lacey.meyers on IG). I have a fair number of favorite artists in our Grads group as well. I follow them far more closely than any ‘celebrity’ photographers. We have some truly amazing talent in the SPS ranks.
5. What’s your favorite piece of gear?
Hands down it’s my Canon 135mm f2 L lens. It rarely leaves my camera. It has some seriously dreamy bokeh potential.
6. What gear have you bought that you wish you hadn’t bothered with?
Early on, I bought a 28-135mm f3.5-f5.6 variable aperture zoom lens. I thought it was ‘good glass’. I never loved it even compared to my cheap-o nifty fifty. I learned right then that it was better to wait and save for what I really wanted than to settle. In that respect, I’m glad I bought it because that was a really good lesson to learn.
7. Do you have a favorite shot? Would you share it with us?
It would be really hard to choose a single favorite shot – there are so many I’d choose as a photographer and some I’d choose as a mom. That’s for sure. This one is one I’m proud of both as a mom and as a photographer, but it was SO hard to choose just one!
8. What’s in your ‘working’ bag? Why?
I’m a ‘primes’ girl, so my bag is usually weighed down with a bunch of lenses in addition to my Canon 6D body. I always have my 135mm f2, my 50mm f1.4, and my 24mm f2.8IS. I usually carry my 85mm f1.8 as well because I like that focal length, but I don’t choose it as often as other lenses because it’s prone to chromatic aberration. I always have an Expodisc, a lens cloth, extra SD cards, business cards, a pen, tissues, and lip balm in my bag as well. If I’ll be shooting indoors or in an unfamiliar location, I’ll also pack my speedite in case I need additional light.
9. If you had one (ish) piece of advice to share with beginners, what would it be?
Learning photography can be a lot like cleaning out a closet. It can be daunting to think about undertaking, it often seems to look far worse before it looks better, but it’s SO worth doing. Pick one thing to start with – rule of thirds is a good one. Focus on just that. Don’t pay any attention to anything else. When it starts to feel like you don’t have to think about the rule of thirds much anymore, move on to something else. Light is a good second step. Really focus on how the light is affecting your subject. Don’t even worry about the rule of thirds. Just light. When you feel yourself ‘seeing’ light without having to think, move on to something else. Pretty soon, you’ll realize you’ve got light and the rule of thirds working for you in addition to your ‘new focus’ without even thinking about them. It snowballs from there and before you know it you’ve made a ton of progress toward better shots.
You can find me on Instagram @sarahgannaway, but I almost never manage to post.