We had the good fortune of connecting with Tina Strickland and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tina, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
When I initially picked up a camera, it was a hobby. I photographed anything and everything. I didn’t have a niche. As I learned more about photography, I leaned towards photographing only women. My personal projects focused on women’s portraiture. There didn’t seem to be a large population of photographers who created themes for women’s portraiture that wasn’t focused on boudoir or fantasy. My images highlighted the beauty and resiliency of women. This became more prevalent in my 2020 work after my husband became ill. I was thrust into the roles of caregiver, advocate, researcher, and administrative assistant. I lost myself for over a year. I found myself again through self-portraits. There were no titles that were forced upon me by the actions of others. I was simply Tina. I began to think that there were other women who experienced or were experiencing the exact same thing. I changed my niche to celebrate the beauty of a woman through a process of focusing on how they wanted to be seen. I accomplish this via a thorough questionnaire that educates me about each woman before she steps in front of my camera.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My approach to a photo session is extremely relaxed. I find out my clients’ favorite musical tastes, and I create a playlist for the session. I also have my own playlist comprised of songs meant to empower women. When posing clients, it’s very fluid because of the music. I don’t care for too many standard poses. We don’t move that way, and it can make a person self-conscious. It’s intimidating! I show clients how to move. It’s like a dance. I encourage my clients to listen to the music and use it as inspiration. Invariably, I get natural smiles and natural movement. There are no “deer in the headlights” looks. My approach and personality are laid back, and I use that to make my clients feel comfortable.
Restarting my business in the Austin area has been difficult. I don’t know the area, and it’s been difficult getting to know other photographers. When I decided to launch my business in 2020, I was stopped because of my husband’s illness, I was also delayed because of the pandemic. I used that time to practice my skills, learn different lighting set-ups, and practice other genres of photography. That time allowed me to grow as a photographer. I also switched camera systems going to a mirrorless set-up. This was challenging, but exciting as well.
My brand isn’t boudoir, and it isn’t glam photography. It’s a celebration of a woman as she wishes to be captured. When my clients work with me, it is truly a collaborative effort. I want the experience to be memorable and encourage the client to hang the images on their walls.
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.
After living in the desert for 15 years, I love finding different little streams of water to visit. One of the first places that I would take them to the American Legion Park in Round Rock. The sound of the water is so soothing. We would then head north to Georgetown, Texas, and walk around downtown. There are amazing little shops and wineries near the town square. For lunch, we would to the Monument Cafe. The food is home cooked, and the service amazing.
I would take them to Waco, Texas for a visit to Magnolia Farms. It has a bakery, clothing store, and a fantastic restaurant.
We would spend another day walking visiting the South Congress area. The stores, restaurants, and people watching can make the afternoon fly by.
We would also visit the Inner Cavern that’s near Round Rock, and then go to one of the many food truck areas located in the Austin area.
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?
My friend, Julie Belton, has been one of my biggest cheerleaders. We’ve known one another for 12 years, and photography brought us together. She’s encouraging and very supportive. Julie helped me to recognize that my focus on photography has always been centered around women.
Gold dress – @cetiera Blue jean Jacket – @clearivers Green House – @leahjanemodeling; Location @sekrittheater Black Skirt – Jjuliennephotography