We had the good fortune of connecting with April Barnes and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi April, what’s the most important think you’ve done for your children?
I am a parent and a stepparent. I used to work in the corporate world doing expatriate management. I was working with people all over the world and was always at work or on a call and didn’t have the energy I would’ve liked to have give my family. They are one of the major reasons I decided to make the jump from my old career to my lifelong dream of being a professional photographer. They are much more involved (and interested) in my work. I can take them with me on jobs as they are the best assistants! Also, they have shown interest in being involved with videography, editing and they are the best models when I want to try out new ideas! I get to show them the life of being an entrepreneur and hopefully build a business that they can take over.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
The art of photography is lighting. You start with a negative and light creates the positive image. What sets my photography apart is what I focus on, my perception and co-creating a vision with my clients. I like my own style. I like being different. I’m not the right photographer for everybody, but I am very right for my ideal clients. I love other photographers’ work, too. I believe there is enough business for us all. We can’t be everywhere all the time (even though some of us wish we could). I love to photograph. I love seeing people/kids/business owners/artists in their element and doing what they love to do. I love seeing people start to feel safe and open up to capture their best selves. I love co-creating with people and it gets me excited when a client says, “I have an idea”! I know I’m starting a little later in the game, than most, but better late than never. My dad was a professional photographer when I was growing up. I loved being and working at the studio and being his assistant at weddings (mainly for the groom’s cake and dancing). When I was in high school, I told him that I wanted to be a photographer. He strongly advised that I go to college and get a job with benefits (he was a cancer survivor), so I did that. I’m grateful for what my old career taught me, but I knew it was time. A few months after I told him I was going to be a professional photographer, we found out he was sick again with cancer and Parkinson’s. His reluctancy quickly switched and we went into overdrive mode on educating each other. He knew film photography and lighting and hadn’t kept up with digital, but he did have a solid understanding of the business and investing which definitely transferred over. We got to get reacquainted with some of his old colleagues who helped educate us both on the miracles of digital. I’m not sure I would’ve had the patience for film. This was not an easy time for either of us, but it gave us both something positive to focus on through all of his treatments and fight to prolong his life. I know any time I pick up my camera, my dad is with me. I’ve learned that doing what you love makes hard work and creation feel easy. It’s an energy booster rather than a drain. I want to pass this on to my kids so they can thrive and flourish.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
We love where we live. Lake Highlands is the best (in my opinion) location to live in Dallas. We are close to White Rock Lake which has infinite possibilities for exercising, getting fresh air and photography. Our favorite lunch spot is El Vecino. Our favorite margarita is the Jalapeño-Agave Margarita and Taco Diner. My favorite dinner place is Lounge Here and I crave their Chicken Fried Ribeye with shaved brussel sprouts and duck fat gravy. Holy cow! East Dallas makes me happy! Downtown Dallas is another one of my favorite spots. I love the contrast of the buildings and with ever-changing lighting during the day and then fun, vibrant lights at night. A place you can’t miss in downtown Dallas is Cafe Momentum, where you can eat, drink and change lives! Dallas has been constantly growing and changing with limitless places to discover!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I have lots of shoutouts! My partner, David Ernst, has taught me so much about being and artist running a business as he has managed his own as a hair stylist business for over 25 years. He has also helped with the kids and house when I’m super busy. Shout out to my kids for believing in me and being excited for their mom. Also, to Tony Sandone who has given me some fun subjects to photograph every Christmas with his wonderful Christmas Tree business and helping me create my studio. A huge shoutout to Bruce and Jodi McShan (McShan Florist) for believing in me and giving me my first opportunity in marketing and commercial photography. Their generosity has continuously broadened my scope of services. Not only do I have an awesome studio, I also get to photograph flowers, be around awesome people, play with sweet dogs and learn about an established business that has thrived for over 70 years, because of the McShans. Last but not least, a shoutout to my late dad. He’s the one who sparked my interest in professional photography as he was a professional photographer in Plano, Texas for over 20 years. He picked me up when I was down and would magically give me one-liners (he was a man of few words) that would shift my perception and show me the importance of my light. I’m grateful that I will always have him with me through photography.
My first image of me with my camera (in the green jacket) was photographed by my friend and fellow photographer, Mark Lobel.