Photographer Interview – Buffy Goodman
Where do you make your home?
I live and work in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.
Did you take a secondary education to study photography? Where? And did you feel it helped with your career?
I have a Journalism diploma from MacEwan College. I took a few photo courses in college, but most classes focused on writing. Those few photo classes sparked my love of the camera, and taught me the basics of film photography.
My first jobs were with newspapers, and Journalism helped me through that door. I transitioned from writer to photographer, and I wore both hats for awhile. I’m no longer shooting news, but journalism does inform my style of shooting.
I went back to school in my late 20s and took fine arts classes, things like drawing and composition, art history, printmaking. I loved it. It helped me see things differently and understand myself better as an artist.
Do you consider yourself a “pro” photographer? Why?
I’m lucky enough to have made my living 100% with a camera in my hand for the past 4 years, so yes!
What is your “area” in photography? (wedding? travel? wildlife?)
Weddings make up 60 per cent of what I do. 20 per cent portraiture, and 20 per cent commercial and editorial work.
If you could go any place in the world to shoot, right now, where would it be? Why?
Iceland! I’m currently enamored with everything Icelandic. The landscape is so wild and interesting, and my grandparents are from there, but I’ve never visited.
What type of camera(s) do you use? Why?
I use Nikon. Not for any particular reason other than that’s what I started shooting with, and it’s what I’m used to. Nikon has a superior autofocus system, Canon has better lenses. It’s apples and oranges – both are good. I don’t know any pros who shoot Pentax, but this doesn’t mean you can’t!
What is your favorite lens and why?
My Nikkor 35 f2.0. I like that focal length. It’s a cheaper lens but totally my go-to. I shoot prime – I have a 70-200/2.8 but it leaves my bag maybe one every 2 months.
I would be so excited if Nikon would come out with a faster 35mm lens, like a 1.4.
Are you a Mac or PC lover?
Mac. Again, because I’m coming from a news background, and that’s what they have in newsrooms, not because they’re “better” per se. PCs are fine too, if that’s what you’re used to. I am, however, 100 per cent in love with my iPhone.
What do you think the worst affect is that someone can add to a photo? Why?
There’s no worst effect you can add to a photo. What makes a photo unique is how you interpret the scene as an artist. I like to keep it simple and natural, slightly warm toned. Some people love textures and selective color and overlays, and cooler tones. It’s subjective.
Do you usually have an assistant shooter?
Yes, at weddings I have an assistant.
What do you find the most challenging in photography? Why?
Getting into photography, there’s the money hurtle. Good pro equipment is so expensive. Now that I have the equipment, it’s time. I never have enough time to work on all the crazy projects I dream up because I’m editing photos, or shooting paid jobs.
What do you enjoy the most as a photographer? Why?
I really enjoy people. I like discovering the things that make them unique and fun, and photographing them with that in mind. It’s like a language.
What would you like to be doing in the next five years in relation to your photography career?
The same thing, just more of it!
What advice would you give someone just starting out? Why?
Don’t undervalue yourself. What you do is a unique commodity, and if people really like you, people will pay you. Even if you’re not a professional yet, you can compete with professionals. Don’t let people bully you into not charging what you’re worth in your particular market.
Shoot EVERYTHING and ANYTHING. Find your niche. Build a portfolio. Explore.
Would you recommend this career to students starting out? Why?
Sure, it’s fun! With weddings, it takes awhile for your business to start building up momentum and bringing in referrals, but stick with it! You are paying your rent and bills with a camera, and that right there is a dream!