Artist Spotlight - Free Folk Natives

What are three words that would describe both your personality and your photographic style?

Authentic, adventurous + relaxed. 

 

Where are you based, what do you shoot and what's your creative philosophy?

I’m an intimate destination wedding + elopement photographer based in Maryland…  but in all truth, my heart is anywhere that makes me feel small in comparison to the grandeur of this incredible planet we live on. 

While I believe that intricate details, extravagant decorations, and grand surroundings make beautiful photos, I’m most passionate and interested in capturing a feeling. Without feeling – without the heart behind the moment – the infectious look in your eyes – a photo can be pretty, but my hope is to capture photos that make you feel something.

 

Can you tell us about your absolute dream session would be? 

The more that I photograph people, the more I realize that the people you’re photographing mean so much more than any location. I don’t live in an area that’s super picturesque, so you learn to make the most of very little. I feel the happiest when I am in nature though - completely surrounded by God’s beautiful creation. 

If I had to choose - something about the desert really resonates with me. So I’d probably be running around the desert with a free-spirited, madly-in-love bohemian couple. 

 

What do you find most challenging to shoot?

This is a great question. Definitely people who have their guard up, don’t want to be photographed, or have the “posed” photo mentality. Most often I feel that I can get along with and make most people feel comfortable. But sometimes things are completely out of your control. 

 

What are the most common things you find yourself saying to your subjects?

I always tell my clients that I will guide them along with prompts and things to talk about, but I want them to feel comfortable to be themselves and if anything I ask of them feels unnatural, to feel free to do what comes naturally instead. 

And I often tell my clients to pretend I’m not there. So the words, “don’t look at me!” or “look at each other!” probably come out of my mouth a lot, as well as just affirming how amazing they are. 

 

What’s one of the most emotional experiences you’ve ever had in a session?

I feel like every shoot is so unique, but most of my couples are just playful, fun, and so full of joy + laughter that it’s hard to choose. I love to sometimes tell my couples to tell one another something that makes them proud of the other and those moments shared are often very sweet. 

And though it wasn’t a “session”, I had a wedding once where the bride and groom were bawling happy tears through their entire ceremony like nothing I’ve seen before. The love in that room felt so tangible.  

 

What’s your favourite image you’ve ever taken? 

Ohh, this is hard! I have such a difficult time picking favorites. I become so connected to the people I photograph so any photos that I feel capture their personalities means so much to me. But one photo in particular that came to mind was from a wedding I had in 2016. 

It is of the bride + her parents. I personally loved the emotion of pure joy in it, but it took on an even deeper meaning when I later received a text from the bride saying how much it meant to her. She said that because her parents had divorced when she was younger, it was probably the only genuinely happy photo she would ever have in her adult life with both of her parents. And it was just one of those moments of affirmation - this is why we do what we do as photographers. To capture moments like this. 

 

What advice would you give to someone wanting to achieve more authentic moments, expressions and connections in their sessions? 

To be yourself and put people first. Take the time to get to know your clients and build friendships. Ask questions. Don’t just have a list of cookie cutter poses for every client or expect every client to react the same way. Get a good read on your clients and their unique love for one another. Some people may be suited for fun + playful poses while others have a more quiet, passionate kind of love. Don’t put yourself in a box though—have flexibility to roll with the punches. Talk to them throughout the shoot by giving affirmation… and I often make fun of myself. The more human you show yourself to be, the more people will feel comfortable to be themselves around you. Playing music also helps the atmosphere to feel more relaxed! 

If you weren’t a photographer, what would you be? 

Before I was a photographer, I was the store manager of a consignment shop and would do window displays as well as handle their social media (which confirmed for me that photography was my true passion) but I had honestly always dreamed of working for myself in some sort of creative capacity. I spent hours upon hours of crafting in my room as a child and selling the things I made to those who pitied me enough to buy them. 

I have a lot of dreams and I’m drawn to all things creative. So I’d probably be weaving tapestries, writing music, or working as a florist. 

 

 

View more of Becca's work here:

www.freefolknatives.com

www.instagram.com/freefolknatives

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