The Photographer Project: Elizabeth Fay Gouldon

Portraits by Diana Deaver

What’s your birthdate?

March 3rd, 1986

When did you first pick up a camera? Tell me about that. My earliest memory of picking up a camera is when I was probably around 6 or 7, and I had this pink Mickey Mouse 110mm film camera. That camera still remains in my collection today. My love began then. I always had a camera whether my Mickey Mouse camera, my mom’s Fujica 35mm or multiple disposable cameras.

When did you know you had a talent for photography? I started studying photography regularly beginning in middle school, and I suppose that’s when I realized I had some sort of knack for it. I had a great teacher throughout middle school and high school who was so encouraging. My parents were (and are) always so supportive.

Natural talent or learned process? My passion for photography definitely bloomed early on, and flourished due to my studies. I took my first class at the local art museum in elementary school and continued to study it regularly at school from middle school through undergrad at College of Charleston. 

What do you love to photograph?

People. Specifically environmental portraits.

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

Diane Arbus – The first book of photographs I had, thanks to my dad, that really blew my mind.

Guy Bourdin 

Camilla Akrans 

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

Usually I know when I got something really cool while shooting, but there are times as well that I discover something really cool during the editing process. 

What makes you feel connected to your subject? 

Laughter. When you can reach that level of comfort to laugh with one another, everyone gets loosened up, and it is much easier to connect. Also, whenever possible, we try to have a sit down with our clients before we actually shoot. Just hanging out as friends beforehand really helps once the camera is thrown in their face. 

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

I appreciate the editing process because of how it can allow you to transform an image. I have been doing all the editing myself because I am a control freak, but it can be very draining sitting at the computer for hours on end. I am starting to work with a lab to help take some of the load off, but I am still very hands on when I do send a job to them. They will edit images for me based on the process I use when I do it myself. 

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

Not so much still photography, but motion picture. I would love to dive into the world of filmmaking. My obsession with movies from childhood to the present drives that desire. We have a dear filmmaker friend, Life in Rewind, who is so inspiring as well. 

What’s on your photographic bucket list?

I’m always dreaming of exotic locations to do a cool fashion shoot or band shoot. I’d love to do something out in Joshua Tree, CA. The Greek islands. Cartegena, Columbia. Iceland. I mean the list goes on and on and on.

What inspires you?

Music and movies.

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

Luckily this doesn’t happen often as we generally attract a type of client who is trusting and leaves us to do our thing. We try to avoid this by making it clear up front how we do things. If an issue does arise after the fact, we politely reiterate the subjective nature of what we do, and with weddings in particular, we cannot control the weather, people running late, general mishaps. As professionals, we do the best we can in whatever the given circumstances are. 

What advice would you give an up and coming photographer?

The best thing you can do for your craft is to always keep doing! You can never practice too much or learn too much. Also, as a business owner, I wish I had been encouraged to take a business class or two in college. I have picked up a lot along the way and figured out some stuff the hard way, so it would have been nice to have a little jump start on the business side of things. 

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

No

What makes you feel loved?

Family. Both blood and adopted. 

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

I love shooting outside with as much natural light as possible. That soft, beautiful light about an hour before sunset, “The Golden Hour,” used to be my favorite. I still do love that light, but I have been pushing myself lately to embrace situations with brighter, harsher, darker light and not be afraid. It has encouraged me to look harder for interesting shadows and angles. 

What are your social media handles?

Instagram: @seanmoney_elizabethfay

FB: facebook.com/seanmoney.elizabethfay

Website: seanmoney-elizabethfay.com

What makes you feel pretty?

A great hair day 🙂 I love having curly hair, but it often has a mind of its own, and I don’t generally have the patience to do any sort of styling. But sometimes I just have those hair days where I am like, Yes! 

Candids provided by Elizabeth

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