Speaker Interview: Danielle Fuller

Danielle Fuller / Beyond The Lens Photographywww.BeyondTheLensPhotography.com

Where do you find inspiration? I find inspiration everywhere.  Color schemes, graphic design, and crazy energy from my fellow photographers, but mostly it is the human connection.  There is inspiration around all the time.  In a child’s belly giggles, in a reassuring smile from a friend, and in that “Oh my gosh, I am so excited you are our photographer!” that I get from clients.  I am genuinely excited about weddings, and potential clients get that right from the beginning with me. When a person goes from client to friend.  That’s inspiring!  It doesn’t happen with everyone, which is why I find it so inspiring.  I hold on to it and know that that friend is now counting on me to deliver.  I’m invested, I’m challenged, and I’m all in!!!!! I’m inspired…

If you could have any superpower, what would it be? I know how lame-o this is going to sound and what a Pandora’s box it is, but I would want to be able to read people’s thoughts.  Think about it.  No longer having to rely on what sense God gave you (or didn’t) about character judgment.   I’d know right from the get whether a person is genuine, trustworthy, and what they honestly think of me.  What a handy piece of information…

What are your pet peeves or interesting things about you that you dislike? I talk A LOT….I ramble on and on and on.  Even when that little voice inside my head is saying “stop talking”, it’s like I can’t help my self! I have almost no filter.  Slowly my husband has taught me to try to think before I speak.  Seems basic enough, but not always.  Sometimes it get’s me in trouble ;) I am a super bad speller and I can’t do math….AT ALL!!!

When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up? Early on I wanted to be a singer.  Not like Madonna or Lady Gaga, but more like Jewel.  Just me and a guitar (which I have no idea how to play) and all of my poetry spilled out in song.  I think music is memorizing.  It can be soothing, energizing, funny, or nostalgic. It can change your mood instantaneously or bring you right back to a moment in time or era in your life.  That is powerful.  From DMX and Eminem to Tracy Chapman and Kenny Chesney.  I love it all and I had all intentions of going to HOLL-AY-WOOD (I said that in the voice of Randy Jackson, cause he’s my dog)

Then I became a mom at a young age, and it completely changed  “me” into “us”.  As soon as I saw my son’s face I knew that the only thing I had to do in this life was be a mom.  And from that point on, I did it “like it was my job”….cause it was…. So then I wanted to become a child Psychologist.  The concept of nature v/s nurture, and birth order are topics that BOGGLE my mind, and I find them so completely fascinating!

What do you think of the current state of the wedding industry? I think the current state of our industry has many faces.  We are in a time when you tell someone you’re a wedding photographer; and people no longer automatically picture uncle Bob from 1982.  It’s almost cool to be a wedding photographer.  There is so much more involved in the “process” than what used to be.  Our clients are educated, they need to actually like us now; and they are talking about it.  All of this has given a new modern, and sophisticated face to the “wedding photographer”.  We don’t just show up for the ceremony and formals anymore.  There is bonding and personality involved.  I think this has a lot to do with social media, the Internet, and a lot of other industry trends.  The expectations of our consumers are much greater than they used to be.  I think it keeps us all on our toes, and demands us to wake up every morning bringing our “A” game.  People who come into this industry thinking it’s easy money and they are going to be unimaginably successful over night will quickly learn there is much more of an investment in this industry.  On the other hand, anyone who is unwilling to change with the industry will quickly date them selves.  No matter what your industry, you need to be in touch with YOUR consumer and their expectations.  Yes we are all after brides, but everyone’s bride is different.  One may just need the bride with money; someone else may want a bride who also has personality; and still another way want the bride with the amazing venue and sparkly shoes.  Know YOUR bride, and only book her!  Be aware of YOUR competition.  We are not all on the same ability level and we are not all seeking the same brides.  Be aware of who your main competition is and don’t tear that person apart, but communicate with whomever it is.  Work together.  I know not everyone wants to embrace the idea of sharing, but if you look at industries across the board; the brands that have longevity are the ones that united and conquered, instead of tearing each other down.  Our industry is based on variety and individual identity, but we often ignore that all of us together make up the “Photography Industry”.   We need to stop pointing the finger, be responsible for the future of our industry and work together!  I feel if you maintain this balance, and continue to grow in your technical abilities, you will prevail.  Slow and steady wins the race

If you had to describe yourself using three words, they would be… Trustworthy, Loyal, Genuine

If they made a movie of your life, what would it be about and which actor would you want to play you? SUPER BAD Girl Interrupted

It would have a tragic beginning, LOTS of super scandalous middle parts, an epic love story, and end with me living the dream (like the “I’m the king of the world” scene in The Titanic). The soundtrack would include: “32 Flavors” by Alana Davis “I Am” by Train “At This Point In My Life” by Tracy Chapman “It’s Tricky” by Run DMC “Redneck Woman” by Gretchen Wilson “Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough” by Michael Jackson

The events in my life are not what give me my identity.  It’s what I choose to do with all the craziness that defines me and gives me strength.  I live my life knowing that every person on this planet has felt or will experience tragedy, loss, heartbreak, excitement, love, adventure, happiness and a million other emotions!  That is the human factor, it’s what separates us from animals, and it should be what binds us together. Let’s face it; any one of us would be justified in walking through life with a chip on our shoulder about all of the hardship and sadness.  Choosing not to is the road less traveled.  And if my life had been easy, I wouldn’t be me…and it would suck if I weren’t me…RIGHT???!!!!! As complicated as it has been at times, my life has also been amazing, and I feel privileged to of lived it thus far.  It could have been lived by anyone else, but it was given to me.  I have learned from and taken something positive from everything I have experience, and I honestly wouldn’t change anything.  Without heartbreak is there love?

Obviously Amy Smart would play me.  Not like “Butterfly Effect” Amy Smart, but like “Rat Race” Amy Smart ;)