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Spotlight for Inspiration - Sarah Clements

Spotlight for Inspiration - Sarah Clements

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spotlight selfieThis week's Spotlight for Inspiration belongs to the beautiful Sarah Clements! Sarah is a woman of many talents and is full of and surrounded by creativity. My interview with her has been one of the most fun yet! I loved talking to her and getting her input on different topics.
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Rocio Martinez

I'm very excited to interview you! Tell me about your background. Where are you from? Where do you live now? How old are you? Are you married?

Sarah Clements

Thanks, I'm honored to be interviewed! I'm from Joplin, MO, born and raised. I'm 28, married to my best friend, Dennis, who is a tattoo artist, and we have 2 children.

Rocio Martinez

Oh wow, that's only about 5-6 hours away from where I live! And, how cool is that to be married to a tattoo artist!!

Sarah Clements

It's definitely fun :)

Rocio Martinez

I bet you both bounce inspiration and ideas from each other, huh?!

Sarah Clements

Yeah, we do for sure.

Rocio Martinez

That sounds like fun. It must be amazing to be married to another creative!

So, tell me... what is your background? Have you ever done any other art besides photography?

Sarah Clements

Not really. Many moons ago I used to model and then I turned to makeup. I would be the MUA for photographers, brides, prom, that sort of thing. I used to write but nothing really stuck like photography did. I was never truly excelled at anything. I've always been pretty boring, I guess. HAHA!

Rocio Martinez

What?!!!!! How can you say you've been boring!?? You should re-read what you wrote!!!! HAHA! You were a model and a makeup artist and now... a photographer! You are the opposite of boring, I would say!

Sarah Clements

LOL. Thank you!

Rocio Martinez

And I can tell you excelled at being an MUA because the makeup on your photos is amazing...and at modeling because your poses are incredible...and photography...because your work is amazing and that's why we are featuring you!!!

Sarah Clements

HAHAHA ,well thank you!!

Rocio Martinez

When did you first pick up a camera?

Sarah Clements

Almost two years. In April of 2012, I went to Denver to visit a friend. I couldn't take a decent picture to save my life, so I thought if I had a good camera maybe that would help. I picked up a used Fujifilm fine pix, fixed lens for $100. That helped. I got some neat pictures of the mountains and cool random shots of people. When I got home and went through my pictures, I thought I might have an eye for it. So that's when I started teaching myself to shoot in manual.

Rocio Martinez

And what camera do you have now?

Sarah Clements

I am the very proud owner of a Canon Rebel!

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Rocio Martinez

Very awesome! When did you decide that it was time to upgrade to a better camera?

Sarah Clements

Well, I used to be kind of flighty in my interests... I never stuck with my hobbies for long, I get bored easily. Once I was pretty sure I was going to stick with photography, I 'upgraded' to my rebel. It was probably 3 months after I started learning. I didn't want to drop several grand on a really nice camera, just in case. So I decided on the rebel. After a few months, I was regretting my decision. I got camera envy. But now I love my little rebel. I think it's proof that you don't need expensive equipment to take quality photos. It does everything I need it to do.

Rocio Martinez

Exactly. I agree 100% You've got to work with what you've got! I know very well that, at least for you, it gets the job done! Your images are stunning.

Sarah Clements

Thank you!

Rocio Martinez

Have you ever done portrait photography?

Sarah Clements

When I first started, I did family pictures and seniors and a few babies for a little while. But I HATED it. I was so nervous; it was completely out of my comfort zone. I'll, occasionally, still do those types of shoots and I'm not AS nervous (I'm more experienced), but I don't advertise for them.

Rocio Martinez

I see! How was your transition, then, from portrait photography to fine art? How did you discover fine art?

Sarah Clements

Well, one day I started searching Model Mayhem for models. I really wanted to try a fashion shoot. I found a FANTASTIC model who took a chance with me. For the longest time I thought fashion photography was what I wanted to do. I loved it. But, I would look at these insane images and think, I just don't have that in my brain, I don't have that creativity. I started moving towards boudoir. I loved doing that, seeing women come alive and seeing themselves in a new light. But then last year, I attended After Dark. I got to assist Jen Rozenbaum (who is a great boudoir photographer). I was really jazzed, but at the same time, really uninspired. During my time at AD, I met another model, who inspired me so much (and continues to still). I also got to see Brooke Shaden teach. That was it for me. My friend and I borrowed a gas mask from someone there and had our own shoot in the shower of the hotel, haha. It was dark and creepy and I loved every minute of it. Everyone there talked about their personal projects and how important it was. My thought was, I need to make my personal projects my niche. This is what I need to do. And the rest is history!

Rocio Martinez

WOW!!!

So...you were inspired by Brooke Shaden?

Sarah Clements

Yes, and still am. Though, I do still love the fashion aspect as well. Miss Aneila is another big influence for me.

Rocio Martinez

Incredible!!! Brooke has done it again. Inspired yet another artist!!! I love Miss Aniela's work as well. It's incredibly beautiful and colorful. They both create incredible magical worlds...yet their worlds are so different!

Now that we are on this topic...are there any other artists you are inspired or influenced by? They don't necessarily need to be photographers!

Sarah Clements

Salvador Dali! Renaissance paintings. I'm also really influenced by music and lately, religious imagery.

Rocio Martinez

WOW, I can definitely see all of that in your work!!!!

That's amazing!!!

Sarah Clements

Thank you :)

Rocio Martinez

Was it hard transitioning from portrait retouching to all this Photoshopping that you now have to do in order to create magical worlds? Or did you learn quickly?

Sarah Clements

I guess, technically I have learned quickly, but it's been difficult. I watch YouTube stuff, soak up everything I can on Creative Live, and mostly just PRACTICE.  But it's all I do. I used to read a lot, now I'm terrified of starting a book, I'm terrified if I take a break from photography, I'll lose it. It's kind of a ridiculous fear, but I love it so much.

spotlight 5Rocio Martinez

I don't think you'll ever lose it. Your work is too amazing and I'm sure that has to be a motivator to keep going!

I saw on your profile, earlier, that you are running a fine art special for your clients! You've made this your business! When did you decide to make it a business?

Sarah Clements

I decided that when I realized I want to quit my desk job and do this full time! I'm not a very good business person yet. I've spent the last year honing my skills and finding myself as a photographer. This is the year to get my name out there. Overcome my fears and really put myself out there.

Rocio Martinez

Do you find it easy or hard to get clients for this genre?

Sarah Clements

That's a hard question. I think people love the idea, but don't want to pay the prices. I haven't found my target market yet. That's on my to-do list this year.

Rocio Martinez

I think we are all on the same boat on this one!!! I cannot wait to get the group's plans going so that we can help with this. It's one of our goals! To help people understand why the prices are the way they are!

Sarah Clements

That will be nice!

Rocio Martinez

It sure will!

Let's change gears a little bit. Tell me about your process!

Where do you get your ideas from? What inspires you?

Sarah Clements

Everything inspires me! Sometimes it will be a prop I find or a song that evokes an emotion. My biggest inspiration comes in those few moments when I'm in between reality and sleep. Since starting my 52 week self -portrait project, I've drawn inspiration from dream worlds. I've always been a big dreamer, I want to travel, I love history and literature, so this has been a wonderful way for me to go places I would otherwise be unable to.

Rocio Martinez

WOW, this is wonderful to read. So inspiring! It makes me want to do just that…create places where otherwise I would not be able to go...

How is your 52 week project going so far? What week are you on?

Sarah Clements

I just finished week 8. I am LOVING it! It's a challenge to come up with a new idea every week. It's really pushed my creativity. I've learned so much since I started. And I think my work has gotten better as well.

Rocio Martinez

I agree. Your work has definitely evolved and you've got your own style!

How do you plan for your images once you've been inspired and know what you are going to do? Do you sketch? Draw?

Sarah Clements

I draw stick figures, haha! I'm really good at remembering a lot things without writing them down or sketching, but I will make a sketch to force myself to see details I may fail to think about. I figure out exactly how to execute the image and get it all ready ahead of time.

Rocio Martinez

I've never thought about that before...drawing to force myself to see details that I may fail to think about ! So, far I've done the same... just remember...but it's definitely a good plan to draw in order to remember details!

Sarah Clements

Too often I feel happy with what I've got then, I bring the image(s) into Photoshop and feel like something is missing. That's another goal this year; take my ideas to the next level. It doesn't have to be over the top, but small things to really add to the story.

Rocio Martinez

That's great. I agree that details can make an image a whole lot different!

It's unbelievable but it's true!

Sarah Clements

Very true!

spotlight 2Rocio Martinez

Here's my next question. Do you make your own props?

Sarah Clements

A lot of times yes! I'm always on a budget, so I have to get creative. Most of my shoots are well under $20. Most of them don't cost me anything, actually. Except maybe a can of spray paint, haha.

Rocio Martinez

WOW! That's incredible! How do you get inspired to create props? Do they come off the top of your head?

Sarah Clements

If I am in need of a specific prop, I figure out what I have at home to make it. For instance, I'm doing a shoot tonight and it's a darker themed shoot. I need an interesting background for it. So, today I'm going to take some old grey backdrop I kept, tear it up into large pieces, staple it to some cardboard (leftover from Christmas), and spray paint it black and gold. I might also make a crown out of dead sticks.

Rocio Martinez

That's unbelievable. I wish I was that crafty and had those ideas! I need to start doing things like that! Just like Sue Bryce and her beautiful dresses! Do you make your own dresses?

Sarah Clements

Yes, I do!! Usually out of curtains and chiffon. And safety pins! I have a stockpile of fabric for this purpose (I also use them for backdrops).

Rocio Martinez

You are definitely a crafty one. It's perfect though...why spend money when you can create the world yourself!

Sarah Clements

Exactly!

Rocio Martinez

As a conceptual or fine art photographer, do you believe PS is a necessary tool to be successful in this genre?

Sarah Clements

That's hard to say. I'm sure there are people who can get away without using PS, but for me personally, it's my magic wand.

Rocio Martinez

For sure. It's like the blank canvas!

What is your favorite PS tool?

Sarah Clements

Curves and liquefy!

Rocio Martinez

HAHA, those are my favorite too! LOL

Sarah Clements

Warp is another really great one.

Rocio Martinez

Time is almost up...but I have two more questions!

I have never asked this before in an interview...and I don't think Caroline ever had either! If you could say anything to your clients or potential clients about your work and why it's worth what it is...what would you say?

Sarah Clements

Oooh! Good question! It's your dream world. Anything you can imagine can come to life. Your dreams can become your reality, they will live on long after you. Can you put a price on your dreams?

Rocio Martinez

Oh my, I love this!!! And it's true!

Time for the last question!

What advice do you want to give to all those amazing photographers from our group and not from our group that will be reading this!?

Sarah Clements

Don't worry about everyone else. Don't worry about everyone's styles and equipment. Shoot what you love, shoot what inspires you, and shoot with what you've got. Make it work. The rest will come naturally. And most importantly, don't give up and don't make excuses! You are the only thing holding yourself back.

Rocio Martinez

Perfect! A perfect ending to a perfect interview. Thank you so much, Sarah, for taking to time to chat with me and expose who you are to us!

Sarah Clements

Thank you so much, Rocio! It was truly an honor!

spotlight 1Sarah's 411:

Sarah's Gift of Inspiration:
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