Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Photographer Interview - Marissa Gifford Photography

I don't believe it!  I have found another great photographer right here in my town!!!  I love the talent that this gal has. Meet Marissa Gifford of Marissa Gifford Photography. Every single new image she posts just blows my mind away! She has done an amazing job of creating a style and niche of her own and does a fantastic job. My favorite photographers are those that get a crisp, clean image with creamy tones and Marissa does just that. She has become another one of my favorites this year, for sure!

Take a look at some of her latest work.

Seriously - can you get any more snuggly than this?
This image just AMAZES perfect! 
I love that you can sense the love in this picture 
I love how crisp this image is - every detail is just perfect!
Okay - how pickin' cute is he?
My interview with Marissa:

1.) Tell us a little bit about yourself:
I'm married to my best friend and a mom to 3 rambunctious boys. My passions in life are faith, family, photography, football (my husband is a lucky guy that way), and learning foreign languages. I've lived in the NW for 10 years and love it up here. I wish it was a little warmer and sunnier though. :)

2.) Where did you grow up? Go to school?
I grew up in Palo Alto, CA (and grew up a big Stanford fan) and went to school at the University of Arizona and graduated in 2002. I got my degree in Political Science and Spanish, and minored in Humanities.

3.) Are you a self-taught photographer or have you had any mentors along the way? 
I'm a self-taught photographer in that I didn't study it in school. However, I'm a part of a great photography community called Clickin Moms that has great classes and tutorials that I've been able to take advantage of. Between that, and a lot of trial and error, my photography has grown by leaps and bounds.

4.) Whose work has influenced you the most? 
I love Stephanie of Bellini Portraits' work. I love how light and airy and clean it feels. I also love Sarah Cornish's (My Four Hens Photography) soft and whimsical style. I'm really drawn to that type of photography.

5.) What made you decide to do photography? How did you get started? 
Like many photographers, I fell in love with it after the birth of my first son. I became so intent on capturing our daily lives and all his milestones. I just had a regular point and shoot camera until 2008 when I got too dissatisfied with the shutter lag on my camera and finally upgraded to my first DSLR. Getting that camera (a Nikon D60) was like an a-ha moment for me. When I started realizing all the things I could do with my DSLR I started getting serious about learning how to best use it and learn about the world of post-processing. After doing free sessions for a while for family and close friends I decided to go into business at the end of last summer. It's been a whirlwind ride since then, but I'm loving every bit of it!

6.) What camera do you use and why? 
I use a Nikon D700 because I love its clarity and high ISO capabilities. I do a lot of newborn sessions and indoors on a dark and dreary winter's day there isn't always much available light. I'm able to capture images that I would never have been able to get with my old D60. I even did an outdoor family session not too long ago where I had to crank up the ISO to 2000 (outdoors!) to get the shot b/c a dark storm cloud literally took all our light. Fortunately we finished up before we got drenched. But those are things I would never have been able to do if it weren't for my D700.

7.) What is your favorite lens? 
My current favorite is my Nikkor 50mm 1.8 lens. I also shoot with a Nikkor 85mm 1.8 lens, but it's a bit quirkier, so I mainly use it for personal shots and outings. My 50mm is razor sharp and shooting with it is like putting on a comfortable pair of jeans. I also love my Nikkor 60mm 2.8 micro lens that I use for newborn super-close-ups.

8.) Before you put your work online, do you ever have someone critique it first? 
Sometimes. It just depends on the shot and the session.

9.) Do you ever use artificial light or is it all natural light? 
I try to use all natural light. I've only ever had one newborn session where there genuinely wasn't enough light to get away without using my studio lights. So, I have the studio lights, but I won't use them unless absolutely necessary.

10.) What is your favorite thing to shoot? 
Maternity sessions and newborn sessions are my favorites. The love and joy of expecting a baby and having a new little life come into the world are so amazing. I have been known to get misty-eyed at newborn sessions and while editing both maternity and newborn sessions. It's just incredible. I also love doing Seniors/teens.

11.) Are you a Mac or PC lover? Mac.

12.) What editing program do you use and why? 
I use CS5 because I love the flexibility and the possibilities I have when I use it. I know so many photographers love Lightroom, but I haven't been able to get into it myself. I own it, but it's languishing away from disuse, sadly. I do have a Lightroom class on my wish list though, so maybe I'll learn to love it and it'll speed up my workflow, which would always be a welcome change. :)

13.) What is the farthest location you have ever had a photo shoot? 
The farthest location I've ever had a photo shoot is Idaho. We were visiting family there over New Year's and I did a family session for my sister-in-law and her family (of 7 kids!). It was great though, the light was yummy and warm. You'd never know by looking at the pictures that it was only about 25 degrees out.

14.) Any other funny or interesting shoots that you would like to share? 
Nothing too bad has happened to me on a shoot yet, thank goodness. Although at my last newborn session I called the dad by the wrong name on accident. I caught it and corrected myself, but it was still a bit embarrassing.

15.) Where would your "dream shoot" be? 
Oooh, do I only get to list one? I have a few! My dream shoot would be in a field of tall, dry grass with a gorgeous sunset and maybe some oak trees. There were lots of oak trees where I grew up and I miss seeing them so often up here. Add in a gorgeous Senior or maternity couple and I'm in heaven! :)

16.) What is one "tip" you would give newbie photographers? 
My tip would be to learn as much as you can. Take classes, scour the internet for tutorials, browse Flickr, join a photography forum (like Clickin Moms, which I love), and follow your favorite photographers to find out exactly what it is about their work that's appealing. I've found that the more I learn the more I feel like there's so much MORE to learn. I love that photography is a journey and that there's always room for growth so boredom won't set it. So I guess that's the long way of saying don't be complacent and think you're done. Dive in and keep learning as much as you can! :)


  1. Excellent interview, I am so glad I got to meet Marissa before I moved!! Beautiful work!

  2. Marissa! I'm so proud of you! Its been exciting to see you grow in your photography talent.

  3. Marissa's work stems from a sincere passion and it shows. Love her work!


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