Katie Forbis, from St Louis, despite initially swearing blind never to work as a wedding photographer now admits she’s in love with it. Working in the midwest (Missouri), Katie pushes the limit of her locations by exploring the city and outlying areas for unique places to shoot. Her biggest muse is her 2 year old son.
Editor’s Update: Katie will be speaking at Choo Choo Camp this October, 10 - 13th 2016, in NYC! If you want to hear her speak, sign up here.
1. What is life to you? What it should be?
For me personally, life really centers around my family. My husband is an awesome designer and he inspires me all time. He’s constantly learning and trying new things, from homebrewing to app ideas to gardening to woodworking. My 2-year-old son has taught me to be a more patient, loving person and his existence has only increased my love of photography - he is by far my favorite subject to photograph. I take pleasure in the little things: a good cup of coffee, a great beer, a pretty bunch of flowers from the farmer’s market, long conversations with good friends.
2. Where did you grow up and how did that play a part in your photography?
I grew up and reside in St. Louis, Missouri. I’m not sure that growing up here necessarily played a big role in my decision to pursue a creative job. I attribute that more to having parents that always supported and encouraged me. My mom especially has always been creative - when I was young she was always painting, crafting, playing the piano, and singing, so I think I get it from her. Living in St. Louis has definitely had an impact on the way I shoot. In the midwest we have no sweeping landscapes with mountains or deserts or oceans. I’ve found that getting creative with locations is important. I do a lot of exploring around the city and outlying areas to find new and unique places to shoot.
3. There are a lot of professions out there - why be a photographer?
Such a loaded question for me! After a few years of uncertainty in college, I decided to major in photography with no real plan for what I would do with that degree, but I distinctly remember stating once or twice that I would “NEVER photograph weddings.” I had visions of showing my work in galleries and creating a lot more conceptual-type images, so it’s funny that eventually I really fell in love with portraits and weddings. My photography is something that has evolved over a span of many years, with a lot of ups and downs and trial and errors - and more to come, I’m sure. It’s a constant learning process. When I first started out what I really loved about being a photographer was capturing intensely special moments. I still love that. But after becoming a mother it’s become equally as important, if not more so, to capture everyday life. Time is so fleeting, and sometimes I can’t help but think about all the things I’m going to forget as my son grows older. Since I’m not a great writer and can’t keep up with a journal, the images I take of him kind of serve as a visual journal for me.
4. What is your favourite non-photography pass time?
I do a little bit of crafting here and there. As lame as it sounds, wrapping presents is one of my all-time favorite things and a big reason why I look forward to holidays. In the warmer months I love being outdoors. My parents have a little house out in rural Missouri that’s been in the family for years and we go there on the weekends whenever our schedule will allow. Campfires, fireworks, s’mores - the works. We love it.
5. What TV are you watching?
Only about 13 years behind the times on this one, but we are currently binge-watching The Wire for the first time.
6. Is/Are there any project(s) you wish you could do - or might do?
I don’t know that this qualifies as a “project” but traveling more is definitely on the agenda. For work, for pleasure, for both - just more traveling is definitely needed. I’ve also always wanted to recreate a project I did in school where I constructed miniature landscapes and photographed them. I would love to do that again, only better this time.
7. Do you make more personal images or are they mainly for other people?
Lately it seems like I’ve been making more personal images, but really because we are just starting spring and winter tends to be my slower time. When work is slow, my child gets a LOT of camera time. This year is setting up to be my busiest yet, as far as wedding bookings go, so I’m super excited about that.
8. Do you shoot with your left or right eye?
I had to hold my camera up and see. Right, all the way. When I looked through it with my left, I got that weird feeling you get when you put the wrong pant leg on first.
9. Are there any unseen experimental images in your attic you’d like to show us now?
Nothing super crazy. Last summer I dismantled an old manual-focus 35mm lens I had laying around and since then I’ve been trying my hand at freelensing every once in a while. It’s hard! I think I need more practice :)
10. If you were to start all over again, is there anything you would do differently? Why?
There are a number of little things I can say I would change if I had the chance, probably too many to list. However, I feel like all of my failures have helped me learn and grow, so I would maybe just leave it as-is. I’m really very happy with my career and life in general these days. The one thing I will mention is that I wish I would have upgraded to a full frame sensor SO much sooner than I did! It has really made a huge difference.