The Photographer Project: Karyn Iserman

Portraits by Diana Deaver

What’s your birthdate? December 20, 1962

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? I got my first camera when I was 7 or 8 years old. It was a Mickey Mouse camera (I still have it!) and I took it everywhere with me. I’ve always loved taking photos, and I took some photography courses in college but it wasn’t until my children were born that I realized the profound importance of great photographs. That’s when I got serious about studying, practicing and learning . I think the ability to “see” light truly is a natural gift – knowing how to use it is the learned part.

Candids provided by Karyn Iserman

Karyn & Dad with her Mickey Mouse camera.

What do you love to photograph? Almost everything, but especially children. 

Who are some of your photographer icons and/or mentors? Ansel Adams, Steve McCurry, Dorothea Lange

You get to have dinner with 3 other people, alive or deceased.  With whom would you dine?  What would you ask them? Oh gosh. There are so many. Walt Disney, Steve Jobs, and my dad. Mr. Disney and Mr. Jobs because they were visionaries, passionate and undeterred. I love that. My dad because he was taken from us too young and I’d give anything for more time with him.

Do you know when you have a spectacular shot, or does that come about in the editing process? 95% of the time I know it when it happens, but sometimes I discover wonderful surprises while editing – especially when it comes to weddings, where things happen very fast.

What makes you feel connected to your subject?  Investing time in getting to know them a bit before we start, and then talking through what I’m doing and why. When they trust me you can see it in their faces and their body language.

What are your thoughts on editing?  Like it or abhor it?  Do it yourself?  I don’t enjoy it at all! I do it myself though, because it’s an important part of the process. I began my career in the pre-digital era shooting film, and I’m a purist at heart, so I try not to spend a lot of time changing or enhancing what comes out of the camera.

What’s on your photographic bucket list? An African safari, a birth, and a very special project I’m working on featuring me, my daughter and my baby granddaughter.

What inspires you? Nature. And love.

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

What advice would you give an up and coming photographer? Find a mentor. Watch and listen and learn. And practice. For a long time! I think photographing people, especially on their wedding day, is about 40% skill, 30% artistry and 30% psychology. Invest time into making your subjects feel beautiful and they will love the resulting portraits.

What makes you feel loved? My family.

What are your favorite conditions/lighting/circumstances to shoot? Very early mornings are my favorite, for the quiet calm and low light. And I adore backlight! I think backlit spanish moss is one of the most photogenic things you’ll ever see.

What are your social media handles?

Instagram: karynisermanphoto

FB: karyn iserman distinctive portraiture

Website: karyniserman.com

What makes you feel pretty? A little sun on my face, and a great haircut.

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