Through the Looking Glass . . . An Interview with Loreta Washington

I am so excited to introduce you to a wonderful friend of mine. She is the owner of Earthtone Photography. Her name is Loreta Washington and she is a fine art photographer who specializes in natural light. Loreta is a wife and mother of 3 beautiful girls and I wanted to introduce her to you because she is a wonderful example of a woman who is passionate, full of life and committed to creating the life she wants to live every day.

Tell us a little about yourself. Where are you from? I was born in Upstate NY. I grew up in Diamond Bar, California.

Do you have a fashion background? No.

How did you become interested in photography? I was introduced to photography in middle school. I took a class and was intrigued by the whole concept of processing and developing film. In 2005, when digital SLRs became more affordable, I traded in my 35mm for a digital SLR. I have always been a technical person, so the marriage of traditional with digital was a pivotal point.

Was there a defining moment when you knew you wanted to take pictures professionally or was it a gradual transition? I got my first SLR when Olivia, my oldest daughter, was born. Through photographing her, I developed a knack for it. After the birth of my other kids, I realized that was what I loved doing. I found that I was able to communicate and understand a child and their language, whether spoken or unspoken. Friends began asking me to photograph their children and their weddings. Then I got referrals from there.

What inspires you? People inspire me. The human connection. All things creative! Cooking, interior design, fashion, the creative process inspires me. I love seeing the process take place. The layers of it all, the ingredients, whether painting on canvas and watching it develop, or creating a garment. I am really inspired by design and the design process.

As women, fashion plays such an important role in our daily lives. What role does fashion play in your photo shoots? Do you try to incorporate any current trends in your shoots? Fashion is important. Wardrobe for the clients is important. I don’t tell my clients what specifically to wear, but I definitely guide them through what to wear and not to wear. I use fashion to compliment the shoots but not take away from it. For instance, I’ll suggest a client try to stick to more neutrals, or stay away from busy patterns. Oftentimes, I will look at a child and suggest colors. I had a recent shoot with a child that was very fair and his father wanted him to wear a black Batman shirt, but his mom thought it was too dark of a color for him. I saw the little boy’s skin against the shirt as a beautiful contrast, so we chose to include the Batman shirt in the shoot.  Fashion is definitely an element that I am aware of, and for me, it can make or break an image. I am aware of it and I love what it can bring to an image. I wish I had more time to fully focus on it!

Describe your personal style in general: My personal style is very clean, very comfortable. I don’t typically like busy patterns. I would say clean and earthy. I also like things that are a little more fitted, and I love vintage!

Do you have a favorite article of clothing or a signature piece? If so, what? I love accessories. Along with my wedding ring, I need a ring on my right hand to balance it out. It can be a bracelet (or several bracelets) but really it needs to be a ring. I love rings!

What are some of your accomplishments as a photographer? Honestly, my biggest accomplishment thus far is being able to make a living off of my photographs. To earn money doing it! That right now is the first thing that comes to mind.

Who are some of your favorite photographers? Annie Leibowitz, Joe Buissink, He is a celebrity wedding photographer. I really love his style.

What is your current favorite image that you have taken? A recent shot from a maternity shoot. What do you love about it? It is beautiful and natural. I love the light, I love the subtly of it. Even though she is looking directly at the camera, I love that the mosquito net breaks up the directness of her there. You see that she is looking at the camera but it kind of breaks it up. It makes you focus on the image as a whole, as opposed to just looking directly into her eyes.

Did you have a hand in what she wore for this image? Yes! I styled this shoot.

What is one lasting impression you want to leave with your photos? I want my clients and people who look at my work to see that I am able to clearly capture who they really are. Whether they are a child or an adult. I really work on that. I talk to them, I try to capture their essence, and get a feel for who they really are.

If you weren’t a photographer, what would you want to be? I would want to be a singer, songwriter, recording artist, in a heartbeat!

Thank you Loreta,  for sharing your time  & photos with us!

Be sure to check out more of Loreta’s beautiful work here:

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3 thoughts on “Through the Looking Glass . . . An Interview with Loreta Washington

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