Being someone who is passionate about my career, I thought I’d take an opportunity to take a look at April Bodenburg’s work, a young and inspired artist who also fits that description. I have to say I’ve never met anyone that has as much fun and shows as much spunk and energy about her work as April does. You can truly tell she loves what she does and it clear as day in her photographs. I chose to highlight April for a few reasons. Mainly being that she is extremely talented for capturing the personality and emotion of particular moments. I feel as if her subjects don’t even know she’s there. It takes a certain person to capture candid moments that the couple usual only experiences without anyone watching, in front of a camera. But, April does just that, and does it with her own personal flare and light. I took the liberty of asking April a few questions about herself and her work. She’s been in high demand as of late, but she was nice enough to squeeze me in!
Where are you from? Tell us a little bit about your background.
I’m originally from the small town of Viroqua, WI where I grew up on a dairy farm. After graduating college with a Retail Merchandising degree, I worked in the retail industry for a few years. But with a downturn in the economy and an odd twist of fate, I found myself facing the challenge of taking what was once “something fun on the side” to a full-time business – and April Bodenburg Photography was born.
When did you start taking photos?
Well, I guess you could say I started when I got my first film camera as a little girl. It was pink and purple and I loved it! But that’s pretty cliche. Many photographer’s will tell you they started when they had their first child. But I can’t use that one yet either. So for me… I truly became passionate about photography when searching for my wedding photographer in early 2008. There are loads of photographers out there that take ‘traditional’, ‘posed’ wedding photos. But I’m not a ‘traditional’ person. While searching TheKnot.com, I came across a wedding that had the most beautiful photos I’d ever seen. I soon found they were taken by Jose Villa – a highly sought after fine art wedding photographer from Southern California. And I was in love. In love with the unique, photo journalistic, candid approach that was more about “capturing” a moment versus “creating” one. I became so obsessed I decided to purchase a digital SLR of my own and see what happened. I found a used, Canon 20D on eBay and did a LOT of researching how to use it. That was August 2008. Just over a year ago! Since then I’ve purchased a second camera body (Canon 5D) and some various lenses. I’ve discovered many more wedding photographer’s whose work I love, but Jose Villa is really the one that started it all for me.
What inspires you and ruffles your artistic feathers? (haha…. sounds corny?)
LOTS of things! Since I photograph people, my subjects really inspire me. I especially love photographing couples (engagements, weddings, any couple in love!!) I like to just listen and watch them interact and allow their personalities and emotion determine how the shoot unfolds. I also seek inspiration from pages/images in magazines and clothing catalogs ( Love Anthropologie!). And of course other photographers….I have a long list of blogs I “stalk” every day of photographers who I admire. Another big source of inspiration (believe it or not), is television. I find myself closely watching how the camera composes the scene and even the lighting and coloration. I basically have photography on the brain 24/7! ha! 😉
Where is your favorite place to shoot?
I really love shooting in grassy fields and near old buildings like barns and wood-boarded sheds. But I also LOVE when a couple (or family) suggests a spot to shoot that has meaning to them. A park they frequent, a cafe they visit each weekend, etc, because it brings a significance to their images.
What do you do when you’re in a creative rut?
Having been at this for just over a year, I’m not sure I’ve been OUT of a rut. I’m still trying to find my way and my style – but I guess I would say I just keep trying new things, shooting at new angles, trying new techniques for post-processing, renting new lenses to shoot with. I think it’s all about changing things up and staying fresh to avoid ‘a rut’.
What words of wisdom would you give an amateur photographer?
Shoot shoot shoot shoot. And shoot some more. Learn your camera, read your manual, ask your friends to let you photograph them so you can keep shooting and practicing. Join a photography forum and actively participate on it. Sure there are books to read with loads of great information – but in the end all the books in the world aren’t going to give you the real practice needed to fully understand how to shoot a session…how to quickly determine what settings you need and when …how to interact with your subjects …how to find the right light …how to position clients in that light…etc…etc… Just keep shooting! Why do you feel photography is an important element to use on a web page?
“Photography evokes emotion. Real, honest, pure. It can re-create a moment in time.”
How do you think it compares to using illustration?
Let’s just say I don’t think an illustration has ever moved me to tears.
What is your favorite part of a photography shoot and why?
When the subjects ‘loosen up’. 🙂 It sounds funny, but I think everyone is a little awkward and uneasy when you first start the session – including the photographer! I don’t like to overly direct my subjects – so I love when my subjects feel comfortable enough to just interact and allow me to capture them as they are…versus looking at me uncomfortably wondering where to look or what to do. 😊
It takes a few minutes of interacting (and sometimes just acting like a fool in my case), to get everyone to ‘shake off the awkwardness’ and just relax and have fun. 😊 You can just tell when things change from stiff and ‘posed’ to natural and ‘real’ – and that’s my favorite part.
How would you describe your work to someone who has never seen it?
As a new photographer, this is something I’m still trying to define. And I honestly don’t know yet. It takes time to really create a a style – to create a body of work that causes someone to look at it and know exactly who took it. It takes a lot of self-exploration to know who you are as a photographer and what kind of emotion you want to convey in your images….but I’m getting there. As of right now, some words that describe what I’m trying to achieve are: natural, clean, modern yet elegant and real.
If someone is interested in your work, what do they need to do to contact you?
Drop me a line or give me a call! I’d love to hear from you!
Web: http://www.aprilbodenburg.com Phone: 715.379.8900