Photographers Who Inspire | Angie Monson

by Liz LaBianca
Continuing with one of our most popular features, Photographers Who Inspire, this week Liz interviews Salt Lake City portrait photographer Angie Monson.



Who was your original inspiration when you started your business? Who inspires you now?
Brianna Graham & Audrey Woulard

What was the hardest part of starting your own business? What do you wish you would have known?
Just getting my name out there… but really at the time I started there wasn’t an influx of children’s photographers so it wasn’t as hard as it is now. I wish I would have taken more control over my sessions the first few years. I really let the client be in control… which made the photos suffer.

Tell us about your favorite lens and why it is #1 in your camera bag over your other lenses.
85mm 1.4 hands down. I love the creamy bokeh, plain and simple. I like how compressed the images are so it really focuses on your subject instead of the background.

Photoshop or Lightroom – or both. How long does it take for you to get your proofs to your clients?
I use both. It takes me 2 weeks, 3 weeks in the busy season, I really stay true to my word and follow through with this. People will re-book on just that alone.

With the demand for digital images on the rise – Do you sell your Jpegs?
Yes. I have to in Utah, everyone does and for super cheap here. I priced mine quite a bit higher but I feel that it is worth it to me so I go with the times.

How many photos do you typically take in a full session? How many do you edit and do you ever show your un-edits to clients?
I am a major overshooter!! Especially on family sessions, I shoot around 800. I show 30 for a children’s session and 40 for a family session. I only show unedited if it’s a friend or family or sometimes photographers (I let them choose if they plan on purchasing the CD, only because I know they can visualize the end product).

How do you handle Family and close friends who want to hire you? Do you offer any discounts?
I shoot my immediate family for free or trade. Friends or extended family is 20% off.

How do you break the ice in the beginning of the session and get families to loosen up?
I just act like myself. I am a major goof ball. I really just act like a large child, it’s somewhat embarrassing but it gets people to let their guard down!!

Do you have any tricks or tips that you want to share with us?
I really just feel out the family the first 10-15 minutes and I can gather who they are and shoot for their personalities. Some people are more traditional so I shoot more “safe” shots of everyone looking at the camera. Others are more artsy and fun and I just have fun with these clients. I really have 2-3 poses that I start out with and then I try to change it up with every family, but it’s hard to be creative sometimes when kids are being nuts… so I just have to roll with it!! That is what having an assistant is for!! It has made the biggest difference in my sessions.

We have all had the hard clients – Can you share a story of a difficult shoot and how you handled it.
Oh gosh!! I have had a few. Once I had maternity client that brought about 8 different changes of clothing… we ended up shooting for 4 hours even though I told her my sessions last 1.5 hours. It was so insane and it got worse… I learned a lot of lessons from this particular session so I changed my business up and made sure I drew my boundaries loud and clear before people booked.

If you weren’t a photographer – What would be your dream profession?
Starting a kids clothing line. I am obsessed with kids clothes. Although, this dream profession is coming true and I will have a boys line out within the next month. I cannot wait to photograph it.

Who helps you out behind the scenes? Do you have an assistant or a special family member?
I have an assistant that books all my sessions, takes payments, and books mentoring. It’s awesome. I also have an assistant that comes on my family sessions with me. Love these ladies!!

You just won the jackpot ..what is in your dream camera bag?
Nikon D3, 85mm1.4, 70-200 2.8, 35mm 1.4, 50mm 1.4, Fisheye lens as well.

Have you ever taken a Workshop? Which one and was it worth it?
Yes, a few. Brianna Graham’s was really worth it to me because I was new to photoshop (switched from film). One light & Rock OCF were great to learn lighting.

Name one person who you would love to photograph.
Kristin Wiig. I seriously love her, mostly would like to hang out with her but I would love to photograph her.

What was your original gear and when did you start upgrading your equipment.
Pentax film camera (had it when I was 13). I cannot remember the model.

Seeing so many photographers burn out and quit their business – how do you avoid falling into that trap?
I really feel like I was born to do this. I think people burn out because they think it will be really fun and exciting. That excitement wears off when they don’t make any money at it and have 2 year olds crying and throwing things at their camera!! haha. Sorry, but it’s really true. I think if you are truly passionate about something it will always be a part of your life. Photography is a major fad right now and I can see why!! It’s such a fun, creative way to express yourself! The people that make it through the fad are serious about making the passion a reality.

Aside from this wonderful Inspire Me Baby Interview, What has been your proudest moment in your business?
ha! Really nothing more exciting than this!! Proudest moment in my business was when I realized I could make it happen. I realized I was good enough to just go for it and prove all the people wrong that said I couldn’t do it! I really do love my job and I think it all has been so worth the journey.

What would we be surprised to find out about you?
I dunno. Ummm… I used to play the guitar and sing and daydream about being a singer/songwriter. So I wasn’t that great, but at the time I thought I was!

What is on your Bucket list?
Travel a lot more. I would love to take my kids to Greece within the next few years and stay the whole summer. I want to experience great things. I don’t like routine, so I am always up for something new.

Name 2 Photographers that you would like Inspire Me Baby To Interview.
Meg Borders, Michelle Huesgen


Thank you Angie!

//  Angie Monson  //

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