Amy Tripple has been a full-time child, family, and commercial photographer located near Chicago, IL since 2007. She has taught her Sweet Shots basic photography classes to thousands of local parents for the past six years, and now guides other photographers as they teach the curriculum. She also co-runs a year-long photography project called Shoot Along, giving parents the tools they need to capture their beautiful, everyday moments through photography.
Amy’s work and images have been featured in a number of publications including Parents Magazine, Professional Photographer Magazine, People Magazine, and the Huffington Post. She’s been featured as one of Daily Candy’s “Top 50 Photographers from Coast to Coast” and has received numerous awards from the National Association of Professional Child Photographers.
Amy lives with her husband (who works alongside her in their business), three children (ages 11, 10, and 7), and darling Irish Setter in Downers Grove, IL. She’s an avid reader, a hoarder of loose-leaf tea, and a lover of animals great and small. When she’s not shooting, parenting, editing, or teaching, you’ll likely find her curled up in bed with a book, a candle, a cup of tea, and, quite possibly, a big bag of gummy bears.
How did you get your start in photography?
My story is similar to the majority of today’s photographers: I received my first DSLR after our son was born, one thing led to another, and bam: I was a budding photographer! Looking back, of course, it’s easy to see the many pieces missing: technical mastery, editing skills, a solid pricing structure, and experience working with paying customers… but those things slowly came as my session load began to increase. After two years and a better understanding of the business, my husband and I took our company full-time, working hard to build a successful, respected business. That was eight years ago, and we’re still going strong!
What type of photography are you shooting and what motivated you to focus on that genre?
I shoot quite a few genres of photography, the main exception being weddings. I often hear photographers say that they like to focus on just one genre: newborns, engagements, families, etc., but we’ve made it a point to be open to all kinds of photography opportunities.
This adds variety to my work and keeps me fresh, not to mention busy! A typical day can range from working in the studio on a commercial project to chasing toddlers through prairie fields to shooting lifestyle headshots in downtown corporate offices to swaddling brand new babies while connecting with their parents. I love experiencing such a wide breadth of what life entails!
Did you experience any challenges as a woman entering into the photography market?
Absolutely, although it was a hurdle we only began to realize existed after Jonathan, my husband, joined our team. As he took over most of our communications (emails, phone calls, etc…), we noticed a significant drop in the number of requests for lower prices or special exceptions. There was, without a doubt, a different level of respect and perceived authority given to him on account of being a man.
While it was eye-opening, it also presented me with a challenge that’s been both interesting and invigorating to overcome. When it comes to the business side of photography, I’m much firmer now than I was at the start, which fosters a higher level of respect from our clients. I love the new level of confidence I’ve gained as a result!
What has been your biggest achievement or obstacle along the way?
I would say that my biggest achievement has been the many ways I’ve been able to pass along my knowledge of photography, business, and marketing to others. We began teaching DSLR classes for parents six years ago, which were featured in Professional Photographer magazine. Later, we developed a full curriculum of these classes (Sweet Shots) that photographers teach across the country!
I’ve also had the opportunity to mentor hundreds of photographers, helping them improve their photography skills and strengthen their businesses. When I think about where I was when I started, I feel amazed at the place we’ve come to through the years of experience and hard work.
Who and/or what inspires you most?
I am a voracious reader! A good book can be one of the most inspiring things in the world to me. A few of my favorites I’ve read in the past year are: The Fire Starter Sessions by Danielle LaPorte, Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert, The Obstacle is the Way by Ryan Holiday, and Grit by Angela Duckworth. Each one of these books has changed my view of business and life for the better!
What is your approach? Is there anything in particular you try to achieve during a shoot (for example: triggering certain feelings, etc.) or are there any specific techniques you use?
My main goal can be summed up in one word: impact. No matter the occasion, I do everything I can to create images that evoke emotion. My favorite way to do this is to focus on the relationships and connections between people.
I walk into each shoot with the intention of making my clients comfortable and facilitating connection, either with each other or with myself. As I’m shooting, I’m in-tune with my own feelings, clicking the shutter as I feel emotion related to whatever I’m capturing.
Why is accurate color important within your workflow?
Accurate color is absolutely essential to a professional photographer’s workflow. At the start of my photography journey, delivering images to my clients was nerve-wracking. I would occasionally hear complaints that the color of a client’s images was too blue, too green, or just “off,” which, of course, was mortifying!
After about a year of photography, we invested in our first Spyder screen calibrator, and it was an enormous relief to know that the images I was producing were consistently accurate. It gave me confidence, knowing that if a client ever came back asking about the color of their digital images, I could assure them that often monitors don’t display colors correctly, but that the images would print beautifully (which they always have since implementing the calibrating process into our workflow!)
Any tips or advice for photographers just beginning in their career?
Yes! Photography isn’t a sprint; it’s a marathon. Creating and nurturing relationships with clients is the single most important thing you can do to grow your business. Give a client a fantastic experience and you can expect to see them again and again, although many times it may be years in-between visits!
The same goes for marketing: just because you don’t have an immediate response to an ad, offer, social media post, etc., this doesn’t mean it wasn’t effective! If you continue to let people know you’re there through a variety of marketing avenues, many will come to you when the time is right for them. If you’re committed to sticking with photography for the long haul, you’ll be rewarded with a business that grows steadily for years to come!