Fun Interview with Photographer Tamara Lackey

September 11, 2013

in Guest Photographer Judge, Guest Photographer Judge 2013, Photo Challenge 2013

Interview with Tamara Lackey - Guest Photographer Judge via

We are so thrilled to bring you this fun interview with award-winning photographer and author Tamara Lackey.  We are really looking forward to meeting her next month at our upcoming I Heart Faces Photography Conference where she will be bringing the keynote speech to all of our attendees.  We know that we will all be inspired to Dream Big after listening to her!

About Tamara Lackey

Tamara is a portrait photographer and runs an associate-based photography studio in Chapel Hill North Carolina that specializes in portraits, commercial and editorial work.  She is also a wife and mom to 3 children and 2 dogs. : )

Interview with Tamara Lackey - Guest Photographer Judge via 

My Photography Journey

I have been shooting professionally for over ten years.  I started out photographing everything on land but then started specializing in people portraits and now predominantly photograph children and families.

Interview with Tamara Lackey - Guest Photographer Judge via

Fun Q&A with Tamara

What inspires your photography the most?

I am extraordinarily inspired by people who practice kindness, who try to overcome the obstacles we all face, and are living ther lives with the practice of caring for each other.  I think that, as a society, we can easily feel overwhelmed and unable to measure up to our perceived idea of how well everyone else is doing.  When I meet people who live their lives authentically, who show how much they care for others – even (actually, especially) when it’s more of an effort than an easy thing to do, I find that very inspiring.  It makes me want to try harder and to create new things (photographs, words, programs, new ideas) more frequently.
For me, photography is a wonderful excuse to get to know new people very well in a very short amount of time.  My job is to understand what makes them tick and to show as much about them as flatteringly as possible through my lens – and it’s so inspiring to do that when people let you in, when they slow down enough to genuinely share kindness and authentic emotion.
Interview with Tamara Lackey - Guest Photographer Judge via

What is your favorite quote?

Wow, there are so many.  But, just one?
“There are no sides in a round world.” ~ Dr.Wayne Dyer
I love this quote for several reasons. One, I love to travel, and I do so often – and I feel strongly that if more people spent time in more places around the world, they’d better see that, at the root of it all, we really are all the same.  There is no us vs. them based on where we live or what our religion is or how we look or dress or live our lives.  And I think this relates to photography quite well, too.  At the heart of our work, we are interacting with subjects who can feel self-conscious or uncomfortable or in need of guidance.  If we can really emphathize with how our subjects might feel, and understand that they are probably feeling how we might feel if a lens was pointed at us, we can connect with them that much more strongly – and photograph images that are that much more powerful.  Part of getting great portraits is making your subjects feel more comfortable/less lens aware.

Interview with Tamara Lackey - Guest Photographer Judge via

Besides your camera, of course, is there a piece of equipment you can’t live without?

I never conduct a photo shoot without at least one reflector, and I often use two.  I find this simple lighting tool to be an extraordinarily helpful piece of equipment as a fill light, as a shading device, as a fan, as a throw toy, I could go on and on.  I love reflectors.

Interview with Tamara Lackey - Guest Photographer Judge via

What is the best photography advice you have ever received?

I have jokingly (and yet truthfully) said that the best advice I ever heard about photography came from inside my own head while I was up at some horribly late hour struggling to edit my work because I was so behind trying to do it all – be a full-time mom, shoot, edit, run my business, oh – and be a wife, and actually exercise and eat well, etc.  The voice inside my head said “Get your crap together” – and I listened to it.  I stopped the madness train I was on and really re-examined everything I was doing in my business, and I learned to outsource, streamline and re-structure the way I worked so that I could work less at the things I didn’t like, enjoy the part I did love even more, and profit in the way my work was worth.

Interview with Tamara Lackey - Guest Photographer Judge via

Who are three photographers who inspire you?

I’m going to select three photographers whose work are not at all like mine, in that they tend to photograph different subjects in different styles.  That being said, there’s something I see in their work that I not only admire but also find myself drawn to when I am photographing my clients.
The first is Laurie Rubin, a wildlife photographer who manages to photograph gorgeous moments between animals.  She really looks for the emotion and heart in these beautiful animals and portrays them beautifully.
Interview with Tamara Lackey - Guest Photographer Judge via
I also love Art Streiber’s work.  I interviewed him for my reDefine Show, and I love the expansiveness of his shoots.  He photographs a great deal of editorial work, mostly celebrities, and does quite a bit of compositing – and he does so in a way that really captures a lot of life and personality in his subjects.
Another photographer who inspires me is Matt Kloskowski.  Interestingly, he seems to be more known for his Lightroom guru skills, but his landscape work is truly remarkable – he shows a lot of heart in capturing scenes, which isn’t such an intuitive thing for photographers, and his editing work is so superb that his final images really are quite striking.
Interview with Tamara Lackey - Guest Photographer Judge via

What do you love to do in your free time?

I love spending time with my husband and children exploring things and places.  I mentioned travel – we leave North Carolina for two months out of every year and go to some pretty amazing places – Ecuador, Australia, New Zealand, Bali, Singapore, and so many places in the U.S.  Next summer we’ll be spending two months in Europe and Africa.  When we’re at home, we do a lot of hiking, swimming, biking, baking, yoga – we get to spend a lot of time together as a family.  I love that even though these activities require an effort, they bring us so much closer together.  Outside of time with my family, I am a rather obsessive reader, and I love to run and cook. Not necessarily in that order. Running is a big stress-relieving outlet for me, and I believe cooking is just another way to practice art.  I love creating new plant-based dishes (our family is vegan) and can find myself spending hours in the kitchen discovering new ways to put foods together.

Interview with Tamara Lackey - Guest Photographer Judge via

Connect with Tamara

Thank you for sharing your time with us here this week Tamara!   You can follow Tamara on her photography and lifestyle blogs.  And we’d especially love it if our community could stop by her Facebook Fan Page to leave a kind comment.

Interview with Tamara Lackey - Guest Photographer Judge via

There’s still time to enter this month’s photo challenge. Submit your ”Shadows”entry by Saturday evening!  Do you have more than one “Shadows” photo? Share it on Instagram or Twitter and use our hashtag #iHeartFaces so we can see it!


{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Len September 26, 2013

You’re an inspiration and have got me excited again about photography


Kevin September 11, 2013

Tamara mentioned her favorite tool beside her camera is a reflector. Any chance you can do a tutorial on how to use reflectors? I’ve never used them and have no idea where to start with that.


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