The Photographer Project: Charlotte Zacharkiw

Portraits by Diana Deaver

What’s your birthdate?   

August 25, 1979

When did you first pick up a camera?  Tell me about that.  When did you know you had a talent for photography?  Natural talent or learned process?

Goodness, I can’t remember when! Maybe on my first trip to Charleston, SC from Baltimore, MD…my parents bought me a multi-colored Kodak camera and I carried it with me everywhere. I loved taking pictures from a young age. As a young adult, I used to take pictures for friends…at weddings, baby showers, special events…then I would make an album and/or gallery for them and it’s something I did for fun. Hmmmm…talent, that is a tough one! I still don’t know if I have talent, I just had the guts to quit my job as a Financial Advisor and the determination to learn how to take pictures well! My talent is totally learned and I am really proud of the hard work I put in to teaching myself. 

What do you love to photograph?

People! I LOVE connecting with people! I fills me up and gives me life! 

Who are some of your photographer icons and/or mentors?

One of my mentors is Liz Banfield, I love working with her and assisting her. She is incredibly driven and always laser focused on a job site, it’s always a learning experience when I get to work with her. I have so many mentors in Charleston too, whom I consider friends, especially Gayle Brooker and Marni Durlach, both of whom I assisted for early on and have been so open with me about their business. I am indebted to them. I have always admired them and think they are incredibly talented.  I am not sure about icons, but I think my most treasured photos are the ones my father took of me and my brother when we were little. He might be my favorite icon of all. 

You get to have dinner with 3 other people, alive or deceased.  With whom would you dine?  What would you ask them? 

I am very much about living in the present right now so I think I would say my husband and my children. They are my main focus right now and I am not taking a second with them for granted. (I thought long and hard about this question)!

Do you know when you have a spectacular shot, or does that come about in the editing process?

Yes, absolutely. I really try my best to get the shot perfect IN the camera, not in post production. I can feel when I’ve gotten the shot and I typically respond verbally like “YES” or “perfect” out of joy that I know I got it! It’s usually due to the combination of the perfect lighting and that moment when the client is relaxed and having fun!

What makes you feel connected to your subject? 

Laughter is always the best connection and applies to all ages! 🙂

What are your thoughts on editing?  Like it or abhor it?  Do it yourself?  

It’s not my favorite thing to do…I mostly dread it and would love someone to do this full time for me! I have outsourced when I needed extra help but I try to keep it in house to save money. I go back and forth on this all the time. The positive thing is that you can re-live the shoot and put your own spin on it, which I enjoy doing. When I make slideshows, it really does make me feel like I accomplished a lot of work and it is very rewarding. It can be relaxing to get cozy, put on some tunes and drown out the world in front of my computer. Now that I have written this out, I guess it’s not so bad after all. 

Is there any genre of photography that you’d like to explore further?

Right now I am really interested in photographing families in their homes just the way they are (no makeup, house is a mess, chaos). I would love to show the light and joy in these messy chaotic moments of life. I think it comes from a very personal place too because I personally feel overwhelmed and exhausted and that I can’t keep up and yet I am so full of joy and gratitude for my sweet little family and these wonderful little moments I am experiencing each day with my children. I am also really drawn to people who put service above their selves. I think it would really set a great example for the world to shine a light on the people who are working hard for something bigger than themselves. 

What’s on your photographic bucket list?

A travel blog! I have major wanderlust most all the time. 

What inspires you?

Getting outside and having an adventure. And people who are living their best life without insecurity, I find this so refreshing and incredible!

How would you handle a difference of opinion with a client? 

I was a Financial Advisor for 10 years so I have a lot of experience with unhappy clients (#tbt to the crash of 2008) which has served me immensely in my own business. If I had a difference of opinion, I would put the needs of the client above my own opinion and try to make it right. I would offer something to make the situation better and apologize for any misunderstanding. I do believe that providing the best service is the best answer. The client will be more than likely to remember that you went above and beyond, instead of dwell on the thing that went wrong. 

What advice would you give an up and coming photographer?

Pay your dues! I get a lot of questions from younger people about how I became so successful and busy, I think they feel that this happened overnight!  I remind them that I carried bags and got water for photographers for a full year! I shot 40 weddings as an assistant before I ever shot my own. I took so many classes and read books and studied online. I would say work for free, shoot as much as you can and study hard!!! It all adds up to a lot of confidence and a successful career. 

Are you involved in any kind of continuing education or professional groups?

I usually try to do a photography workshop once a year but since I had children those are fewer and far between. I am sure I will get back to attending them when I have more time! 

What makes you feel loved?

Acknowledgement

What are your favorite conditions/lighting/circumstances to shoot?

Pretty natural light reflected through trees

What are your social media handles?

Instagram: @charlotteephoto

FB: Charlotte Elizabeth Photographer

Website: www.charlotteelizabethphoto.com

What makes you feel pretty?   Joy

Candids provided by Charlotte 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *