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Student Spotlight: Meet Kaleigh Fischer


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I can still remember one of the first things Kaleigh said to me after she took my online course The Perfect Portrait (I always get a little nervous/excited hearing from students, so my ears were perked). She said, “I’m so glad my computer froze at the end of your free workshop and lead me into your course, it has given my so much confidence in my editing workflow!”  (hey, I guess that’s a time when the joys of technology worked in our favor?)  I’m so glad she was a part of The Perfect Portrait though because I have LOVED seeing her work grow and evolve.  She really takes some truly spectacular images whether it’s people…or horses (you’ll  have to keep scrolling to see more!)

She shows off her gorgeous work PLUS shares some tips for all of you new or intermediate portrait photographers right here!

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Describe your photography journey.

Photography was not my childhood dream, I had no idea this is where life would take me but I am so thankful I am here. From the time I was 11 I wanted to work in the dental field. As a child I was teased about my smile and begged my parents for braces. I finally got them and will never forget the joy my new beautiful smile gave me. I wanted nothing more than to help make others feel that kind of beauty and confidence. I finished school, became a dental assistant and quickly realized it was not everything that I had expected. I then felt very lost and confused. I knew I had to find a different path. I had always enjoyed taking pictures but never imagined it would become my career. After a lot of thought and support from my husband and family I decided to take another leap of faith and enrolled in the photography program online at the New York Institute of Photography. From there, I fell in love with all aspects of photography. There is a challenge in everything! Learning equipment, seeing things in a light you never did before, paying attention to detail as well as the big picture, meeting so many new people and the fun of editing to make a photo truly yours. It took me three years to build the confidence to start my business but this year I did it and learned so much! I owe a lot of that to Emily and the course she offered that really boosted my confidence in Photoshop teaching me consistency in my style.
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What (or who) was your inspiration for wanting to get into photography?

The urge to make people feel beautiful was my original inspiration. Now that I have a son and another on the way, family is my inspiration. My Mom never got in pictures with my siblings and I growing up. I have maybe 3 to 5 pictures of her. She practically hides from the camera when she sees it! For that reason, I want to make sure I am in as many photos with my kids and husband as possible. I want them to have those memories to hold on too and pass down. I continue to try with my mother so that hopefully her grandchildren have pictures with her.
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What type of photography do you enjoy the most and why?

Family and Equine photography! I favor family photos because they are unpredictable, especially with young children. Capturing both candid and posed shots feels natural to me. I like to get that one perfect photo for cards but after that let loose and get the entire family interacting and having fun (pets are always welcome as they are family too!). Which leads to Equine photography – I volunteer at a horse rescue and started taking black background photos of the rescues to help them find forever homes as well as auction off large canvases donating all proceeds to the rescue and horses. They are such beautiful animals!
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Where do you see yourself as a photographer in the next 5 years?

I hope to have a steady clientele and income focusing on the type of photography I love while helping my husband provide for our family. Being an Army wife, a mother with two young children and possibility of moving often it is not always easy to make a home based business a priority but I am dedicated and motivated! I look forward to see the progress I make in 5 years.
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What is one piece of advice you would give to a brand new photographer?

The quote ” comparison is the theft of joy” could not be more true in this field. We have all been there. You are not the first and will not be the last and even when you are confident, the thought will creep up on you. It is great to admire others work and styles but do not compare yourself. Find YOUR STYLE. Pay attention to the little tweaks in editing that you catch yourself doing over and over. I love the bright and airy look many wedding photographers have, I appreciate it, admire it, read articles but realize that it is not my style and THAT IS OKAY.
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Tell us a little bit about the gear you use.

I have a Nikon D750 and an 85mm 1.8 lens that I use religiously. Unless I am indoors I hardly change it. I have a 35mm and 50mm but only find myself using them when taking indoor lifestyle photos of my own family. I am saving up to get a 135mm and can’t wait! my gear is simple, I don’t like to carry a lot and I love natural light.
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Do you have any funny or embarrassing moments to share about a time when you were out shooting?

I love using prompts. I am known to be corny and laugh at myself so I rarely get embarrassed. I used the prompt on a family with teens once and told them “get close, smile, now squeeze your butt cheeks!” They looked so confused! haha It was meant to make them laugh but when they didn’t I told them to “loosen up, no pun intended”… Teens are just too cool I guess. I was cracking myself up though and the session did turn out great! This is where client questionnaires become so important! Learn a bit about the family first. It will definitely help you in the long run.
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Describe how you find inspiration in your work.

I love vibrant colors, contrast, sharpness and make sure I have all of those things while editing. A lot of my inspirations come from piecing together things I love about other photographers work and mashing it together. Study those you admire! Truly ask yourself what it is about 3-5 of their images that you are drawn too. Notice what makes their work consistent. Take notes!

What tips do you have that would help others that are looking to advance their portrait photography skills?

Practice! Try it all then narrow it down. You do not have to offer EVERYTHING. Figure out what it is that makes you happy.. lifestyle, newborn, families, weddings, fine art, events, etc then specialize. We are lucky to be in field that we are in control of what we love and how creative we are. You do not have to do anything that you don’t enjoy.
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How would you describe your style?

Warm, vibrant, sharp, clean, both candid and posed
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Where can we find you? Do you have a website or social media channel where people can follow you?

Currently the best place to follow me for recent work is Facebook. Follow me at Kaleigh Fischer Photography I look forward to following many of you as well!

To read more about students in the Cozy Clicks courses, hear their story, transformation  and how they can help and inspire YOU! Check them out here!

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