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Interview: Photographer Barbara MacFerrin (USA)


Can you tell us a little about you?

I am a fine art portrait photographer based in Boulder, Colorado, USA. After ending a 12 year career in the information technology field, I started my portrait photography business in late 2016. Since then, my work has become recognized worldwide winning multiple international awards. My work has been published in Professional Photographer (PPA) Magazine, Shutter Magazine, UK's Professional Photo Magazine and Boulder Magazine. I also teach online and in person Fine Art Photography workshops to photographers all around the world.


How and when did you get into photography?

My love for photography began after my father, who was also a photographer, gifted me a 35mm Minolta X-370 camera on my 17th birthday. Over the next 25 years, photography was a hobby, mainly capturing landscapes in the beautiful mountains of Colorado. Eventually, I started a portrait photography business, but it took a long time to get there.


What does photography mean to you?

Photography is a creative outlet for me. I feel like it’s in my genes, as my father, grandfather and uncles were all either photographers or artists. Since I’m not good at drawing or painting, I create photographs that look like paintings. I can spend hours editing in Photoshop, which is like the painter’s canvas to me. I love to be able to show people how I see them in a way that they’ve never seen themselves.


Please briefly describe your photography style for our readers.

My fine art portraits resemble paintings. My intention is to capture my subjects' true essence and to create not just photographs, but works of art. One of my ambitions when I started as a professional portrait photographer was to have my own unique recognizable style, which I have achieved despite not having a fine art background or formal art training. On sessions, I shoot handheld with a Nikon D750 and my go-to lenses are the 50mm and 85mm. I like to work with a wide aperture to emphasize the softness in the background and throughout the image which fits my approach.


Where do you get inspiration from?

I am inspired by old master paintings of the Renaissance and Baroque periods,such as Rembrandt, Vermeer, Caravaggio and the like. I also love Chris Knight’s and Gemmy Woud-Binnendijk’s work. I’m very much an introvert so I really need to spend quiet time in nature, which is also an inspiration for me.

Do you think in advance what you want in the picture?

I usually have a vague idea at first, but many of my projects are not “pre-planned” as I enjoy creating in the moment and not being limited to a specific outcome. The images are typically created organically both in front of the camera and during editing. Therefore I don’t know exactly how the final image will look beforehand.


Studio, on location or both?

I would say that 90% of my work is done in the studio. This is because in order to obtain my fine art style, I must have control over the lighting. Occasionally I will shoot on location but not very often.


Would you consider yourself a hobbyist or a paid professional?

I am a full time paid professional. I started my business in 2016.


What has been your most memorable session and why?

My most memorable session was when I photographed a model in Iceland in 2017. I was worried about the weather as it was cold and rainy, but the images turned out great with the juxtaposition of the dark and gray environment and a beautiful model in a beautiful dress. It’s interesting that my most memorable session was done outdoors, which I don’t do very often.


Nikon or Canon? Favorite lens?

Both Nikon and Canon are great cameras. I think it just comes down to the user’s preference. I have been shooting with a Nikon D750 for the past 5 years. My favorite lens is the Nikkor 85mm 1.8 as it always produces sharp images with a lovely depth of field for my studio portraits.


What is one piece of advice you would like to offer a new photographer looking to start their own business?

Treat it as a business and not a hobby. Get all your business licenses, taxes, business insurance and contracts in order. Find a CRM software that you like and get a workflow going early in your business. As you get busier, it will get harder to stay organized. Value your work and don’t underprice your services. The photography industry has been devalued over the years due to the number of “hobbyists” taking pictures for free or for ridiculously low prices. This conditions clientele to think that photography should be cheap because they’re used to seeing low prices being charged. Make sure you’re taking into consideration all your costs of doing business and how much you need to charge to cover your expenses and to make a living salary.


What do you think of our new magazine?

I like the magazine. I would like to see more representation of men and minorities. Perhaps there could be an issue with just specific genres such as children or seniors, etc. I do enjoy seeing the work of photographers I have not heard of before and it is a great source of inspiration!




Photographer: Barbara MacFerrin

Model: Helaina - IG: @helaina_mm

HMU and Headpiece: Theresa Elmore

IG: @theresaelmore.glow

Lights: @westcottlighting

Photographer: Barbara MacFerrin

Model: Ellisyn - IG: @ellisyn_lewis

Backdrop: @intuitionbackgrounds

Lights: @westcottlighting

Photographer: Barbara MacFerrin

Model: Sesamae - IG: @thatgirlses

HMU: Karen Pelaez - IG: @pelaez_karen

Headpiece: @ladyefflorescence

Backdrop: @avezano_backdrops

Lights: @westcottlighting

Photographer: Barbara MacFerrin

Model: Donnamaria - IG: @circalifeimages

Backdrop: @intuitionbackgrounds

Lights: @westcottlighting

Dress: @reathua

Photographer: Barbara MacFerrin

Model: Courtney - IG: @courtneyrenee98

HMU: Karen Pelaez - IG: @pelaez_karen

Backdrop: @intuitionbackgrounds

Lights: @westcottlighting

Photographer: Barbara MacFerrin

Model: Nate - IG: @natewalka

Styling: Theresa Elmore

IG: @theresaelmore.glow

Backdrop: @fine_art_backdrops

Lights: @westcottlighting

Photographer: Barbara MacFerrin

Model: Alex - IG: @alexandramichele10

HMU: Theresa Elmore

IG: @theresaelmore.glow

Backdrop: @babydreambackdrops

Lights: @westcottlighting

Photographer: Barbara MacFerrin

Model: Viv - IG: @vivi.montanez

HMU: Theresa Elmore - IG: @theresaelmore.glow

Lights: @westcottlighting

Photographer: Barbara MacFerrin

Model: Pine Hound Jackson Jr

Backdrop: @fine_art_backdrops

Lights: @westcottlighting

Photographer: Barbara MacFerrin

Model: Charlee - IG: @charlee.johnsen

HMU and Headpiece: Jennifer Gacek

IG: @wicked_glamour

Backdrop: @fine_art_backdrops

Lights: @westcottlighting

Photographer: Barbara MacFerrin

Model: Brianne - IG: @babuishas

HMU: Anderson Gonzalez - IG:

@andersongonzalezmakeup

Backdrop: @intuitionbackgrounds

Lights: @westcottlighting

Photographer: Barbara MacFerrin

Model: Eric

Backdrop: @fine_art_backdrops

Lights: @westcottlighting

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