Member Spotlight : Lori Gail Tolsma

5 Apr

Lori Gail Tolsma
Weddings, Newborn Portraiture

Are you a morning or evening person? I’m a NIGHT person to the extent that you might even call me an EARLY morning person! Thankfully, my family is able to enjoy a later schedule with me. Midnight hot-chocolate read-alouds are more fun to us than groggy mornings.

Coffee or tea? I adore both, and all hot drinks have a place of honor in my home – but a proper mocha is my first love.

Something that’s overrated: Any “art” that’s ugly or putrid. It’s just moody and self-important. I want art to elevate me, not disgust me.

Something that’s underrated: Old school rules of composition — there are reasons why these rules have visually compelling results. Also underrated: Tailors. Parsnips. Mondays.

What’s your favorite comfort food? Hmm…a few favorites. My twin-sister’s chicken pot pie — oh, it’s gourmet. In-N-Out Burger. And I like pear-flavored jelly-beans for road trips.

Website/blog(s) you visit daily: Five of my close friends and I started a private Facebook group. (I really recommend this.) I’m there daily for a meeting of minds…and some belly laughs. I regularly check Style Me PrettyNikon RumorsBurns Auto PartsLa Petite Fleur, friends’ personal blogs, and a few political and theological blogs. I visit Kiss the GroomJose Villa and Liz Banfield for my film fix!

Who is the photographer that inspires you most? Am I really limited to one? There are so many angles (so to speak) to admire and so many photographers. Technically, Susan Stripling and Cliff Mautner are masters of light, especially under the pressures and constraints of a wedding day. On business and art, Karen Carey conveys such feeling in her work and combines that with shrewd business sense. I’m fascinated by good, interesting portraiture, like Annie Leibovitz’s older work and Ben Baker’s. One of my favorite photographers is Toddlertoes’ (aka Heleen, a Flickr member). She sees what is exquisite in the ordinary every time. That’s inspirational to me.

Tell us about your very first shoot: My first shoot was too easy! I photographed a high school senior who happened to be gorgeous, photogenic, and happy. Couldn’t ask for more.

What is the one thing in your bag you would throw yourself in front of a speeding train for? As much as I love my Nikon D3s (it’s an incredible tool), my Dad’s old Nikon FM has the most sentimental value to me. He worked hard for that camera and shot many rolls of film with it — with no meter!

I am passionate about: Handfuls of dandelions, little teeth under pillows, fresh linens, rim light, jagged newborn hair, dessert, all four parts of a hymn.

To tweet or not to tweet: To tweet! I love Twitter. In the right hands it’s brilliant. But I haven’t jumped in yet myself. I’m considering it… @lorigail

What are the top 5 things on your “photographer’s wish list”?

Fun! I wish to:

– purchase the new Zeiss Distagon T* 2/25 Lens. Yes, I would.

– hire an office manager.

– have a wedding published in Real Simple Weddings. It’s such a lovely publication. There are so many good publications but I love their clean look.

– shoot a wedding with FILM only. (Digital is so wonderful, don’t get me wrong.)

– As long as I’m dreaming, I’d also like one of those high-end espresso makers. Can I include that? Because I’m sure it would help my work. : )

What do you find most difficult about being a photographer?
For me, being a photographer also means being a business owner. Since I have a very robust home life with many welcome demands on my attention and time, I chase balance and good priorities every day. That is work and and it’s an ever-moving target.

What do you find most rewarding?
What I find most rewarding is when someone responds emotionally to my photography. I’m moved by good photography and good art, so when my work resonates with people, I feel a sense of accomplishment.


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