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Interview with the Amazing Angela Monson of Simplicity Photography

Free Photoshop Actions and Lightroom Presets by MCP™

Interview with the Amazing Angela Monson of Simplicity Photography

I had the privilege of interviewing Angie Monson of Simplicity Photography last week and am excited to share some of her story with you.  Angie’s work speaks for itself. And I often get asked from my readers how they can recreate her look.

Angie has offered to do a question and answer session as well. So post your questions for her (must be posted on my blog under comments – NOT on facebook please), and she will pick 10 to answer next week.

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Tell us a little about you, your family, etc…

My hubby and I have been married for 9 crazy years, we have 3year old boy/girl twins. We live in the suburbs of Salt Lake City and we are just trying to find our way in life… My husband is training to be a commercial helicopter pilot, which is exciting, scary, & of course expensive!!

What first inspired you to pick up a camera and start taking pictures?

My sister was a model growing up and I loved watching her get all dolled up and the amazing photos that she had taken of herself. My dad gave me a Pentax camera at age 13 and I would dress up with my sisters and friends and go pose by the railroad tracks. Obviously not much has changed. Photography is in my blood. I have always been so obsessed with it. I have always been so visual, school was not for me. I seriously cannot even read a whole paragraph most of the time because I cannot focus that long, right brained ALL the way.

When did you know you wanted to be a photographer? How long have you been doing photography professionally?

As soon as I picked up a camera it felt so natural to me, it has always stuck with me but I never thought I could be successful with photography because of my insecurities of letting people down or messing up. After I was married, Anthony really pushed me to do what I love and I eventually starting shooting weddings for friends and family. I started charging soon after that because film was so expensive and we were on a shoe string budget. The more I did sessions the more I realized that being a photographer was my path in life, I thank god everyday for this gift. I am always scared that it will be taken away!

Describe your photographic style? How did you develop your style?

Colorful, rich, and stylized. Workshops, magazines, visualizing ideas, and just life experiences. It has been really hard to stick to one style because as a person I am ALL over the place.

How many sessions do you do per month?  Do you feel you want more work or are you busier than you can handle?

12-20 sessions per month depending on what I have going on and how much work I can take on that month. In January I will be cutting down to 8 a month! So excited about that, I need some normalcy again. I forget what it is like to just have a whole day with no plans and nothing to do, it’s been too long and I need that again. I just hired someone to be strict on my bookings because I am softy and fit people in even if I really don’t have the time.

What type of photography do you most enjoy and why?

Kids hands down, weddings are fun but they are so much work. My favorite age is 3-5 years old, their natural poses and fun personalities just make me love my job.

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What is the most challenging part about being a photographer for you?

Running a business, again I am ALL right brained. Notice all the misspelling all over my blog. I really do not like the business end, but I have learned that it is so important so I do what I have to do and I try to create boundaries in my business to keep it running somewhat smoothly. I really have just learned the hard way how people will take advantage of you if you let them and I had to change my entire business to make it work for me and my family.

When you were a little girl (let’s say between 5-10 years old), what did you want to be when you “grew up?”

I have no idea! Probably a singer, I liked to be on stage when I was little.

What photographers inspire you the most?

This is a hard one, so many! I love

Untamed Heart Photography
Skye Hardwick
Bobbi & Mike
Brianna Graham
Hocus Focus Photo

What makes you stand out as a photographer?

I think my the style of my photos, highly stylized and heavily processed (colorful & soft).

Describe a typical day in the life of Angie Monson?

Oh man, I start out with my kids waking me up around 8am. We eat breakfast, most of it ends up on the floor. Depends on the day but sometimes my kids go to day care or preschool or they hang out with daddy for a few hours while I work.
Emails, Emails, Phone calls, editing.
Lunch, Naptime.
Work my tail off until they wake up.
Sometimes we go to the gym or go to the park in the afternoon.
A lot of late afternoons and evenings are spent with me shooting at my studio which is 30 minutes away. I don’t get to eat dinner with my family very often which stinks. I rarely work weekends so that is really nice to be home with them all weekend.
Really everyday is different. I try to only shoot 2-3 days a week.

Nikon or Canon? Primes or Zooms? Mac or PC? iPhone or Blackberry? Lightroom or Photoshop?

Nikon, Primes- 85mm 1.8 is my favorite, Mac all the way, IPhone, Lightroom & Photoshop.

What can you tell us about your workflow once you take the card out of your camera to process images?  Do you use actions, presets, prefer hand processing or a mix? Tell us what you want about your post processing.  And can you share a before and after with us?

I use a few actions for skin softening and color layers but I usually start out with just my RAW file do some adjustments in Camera Raw and then open in Photoshop. It really depends on the photo the recipe that I will use.  I do add a lot of color and soften skin, fix bags under eyes.

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Describe your dream location to do a photo shoot?

Probably the rolling hills and old villages in Italy. We are planning to go there for a good 4 weeks with our kids in the next few years. It’s my dream.

Who in this world would you most like to photograph?

My kids. If I didn’t have so much to do and so many people counting on me all the time I would just shoot them. They are so comfortable with me and I love just capturing the true them. That is one thing that is hard with clients, most kids don’t show you 100% their true personality.

Can you share your most treasured photograph with us and tell us why?

My favorite picture I have ever taken was of two little girls kissing in front of the Capitol Theater, it was one of those moments when I knew it was going to be amazing right after I shot it and it has been my favorite ever since then. Their clothing was to die for, one of my favorite sessions ever.


Can you tell us something about you that nobody knows?

Some people know this that are close to me but we did In Vitro to get a our miracle twins. We tried for 5 roller coaster years to get pregnant and it just didn’t happen, now we have our crazy cute children that keep us so busy!

Tell us when and how you started your design business? What inspired you to start this?

I saw all kinds of designs out there, but didn’t love any of them. I just started doing it for fun and for my clients and learned that I loved it!

If you could tell one thing to MCP readers that you have learned that you want them to remember, what would that be?

Stick to your style and be true to yourself as an artist, this is the one thing that will keep you taking pictures forever and loving it.

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  1. September 16, 2009 at 3:06 pm —

    Ditto everything above. You’re amazing and i am just thrilled to read anything I can about you and your art. You make it sound SO easy. I would love to learn how you saturate your color and keep it so pristine. Also, why is the 85mm your favorite? I have a love/hate relationship with mine right now! And ONLINE workshop would be so wonderful for us hermits with no way out! Hope you win Photog of the year! Thanks!!!!

  2. September 16, 2009 at 3:40 pm —

    Great interview. I’ve followed Angela’s work for quite a while. It’s so nice to get a glimpse into her world. I like all of Cindi’s questions… I have the same ones.

  3. Alexa
    September 16, 2009 at 5:05 pm —

    I have a question… When you say you developed your style through life, workshops, visualizing ideas, et cetera, exactly what does this mean? I guess what I’m asking is, is developing a style something that just happens overtime, or do you need to work at it? Would you say how you process your images is a big part of it as well? What tips would you give someone looking to “find”/develop a style?

    I love your work and thank you for sharing with us! Can’t tell you how much I love seeing before and afters!

  4. September 16, 2009 at 6:49 pm —

    I just have to say that you are TRULY an inspiration to me and sooooo many other photographers. I admire your art. You have such an amazing gift. Thank you for sharing it with us. Keep bloggin and I’ll keep stalkin!!

    Congrats on blu’s photog of the year! What an accomplishment.

  5. September 16, 2009 at 9:52 pm —

    LOVE angie’s stuff!!! so glad you did an interview with her…she ROCKS!!!

  6. September 16, 2009 at 10:05 pm —

    Angie – Love your style! Your’re very inspirational 🙂 Love your other designs too.Any chance of doing a Workshop in Australia – Coz’ I would be the first to sign up.. :-} Question -What you know now, what advice would you give to someone that has just started out in terms of attracting new clients (When you’ve done all of your family etc..) and your marketing strategy. You know taking the shoot, doing all the post production work etc.. is only one side of the business, but without getting new clients to make a living out of something you love is so challenging..
    BTW Thanks MCP!..Regards, Dennis.

  7. September 16, 2009 at 10:34 pm —

    Angie– I am a fellow blu client, which is how I discovered your work. Amazing, of course. Soooo not the first person to tell you that! But I would love if you’d answer all these questions about clothes. I try so hard to urge people to be creative with their wardrobe—encourage patterns, texture, and color—but I can’t get my clients to think outside the box! If I see one more child dressed in head-to-toe GAP, I will seriously barf all over my laptop.

  8. September 16, 2009 at 11:12 pm —

    wow! Angie is SUCH an inspiration! what an awesome post!!! THANK YOU!

  9. September 17, 2009 at 12:13 am —

    Where did you get the green couch in your studio? I’m in love!

  10. September 17, 2009 at 1:51 am —

    Angie is amazing! I have been trying to figure out designing for some time now…. could you emphasize on how you got started with that? Which programs do you use? Thanks for the inspiration!

  11. September 17, 2009 at 7:29 am —

    oooooh I have so many questions, but I would like to start with, I LOVE YOUR WORK, you are so creative and your photos are so bright and attractive.
    ~ Natural light or flash?
    ~ What lens’ do you use for what shoots?
    ~ What/whos actions do you use to bring out so much colour?
    and could you show us a before and after with your process… pretty please?
    ~ Most recomended photography/business books?
    ~ Favourite food? 🙂
    Please dont ever stop creating you art.
    YOU ROCK!!

  12. September 17, 2009 at 8:57 am —

    Angela… I just love your work, it is so original.
    1… Will you be my best friend?
    2… Do you have any tips for keeping yourself on track with your workflow? I find it hard to keep myself motivated while working at home with the demands of being a Mom, etc.

  13. JOdy
    September 17, 2009 at 9:10 am —

    I think the main thing that sets your work apart is the processing of your skin tone- How do you achieve that creamy white skin tone? and How do you determine your settings for outdoor shoots which also results in your fab skin tones?? THanks Jody

  14. September 17, 2009 at 9:54 am —

    Angie your work is fabulous! I have been your fan the minute I saw your piece of art which is a year ago. This is also when I decided to change my job and to start as a photographer. My only question is: When can we expect a workshop? I would love to attend one!Please, please, please!

  15. September 17, 2009 at 1:10 pm —

    Beautiful! I like to post-process a great deal, as well. My question is: Do you post-process every image for your clients before they see them? Does this take absolutely HOURS? Or do you narrow down to just a few favorites?

  16. September 17, 2009 at 2:42 pm —

    Wow wow wow!!

  17. September 17, 2009 at 9:35 pm —

    Beautifully inspirational-love your colors a….TWINS–do I ever know about that with my own (2 yrs old) and 11 month baby. I am a wannabee photographer and you truly are inspirational! THANKS FOR SHARING!!!!

  18. Janelle Belk
    September 19, 2012 at 8:40 am —

    Thanks for the interview! How fun! I lived in Utah for the last 12 years, but recently moved to Texas and find myself missing Utah all the time. I loved reading about this interview. 🙂 Here are my questions:
    1) How do you handle kids from ages 18 months to 3? I have a hard time getting them to sit, stay, look, smile, etc. They whine, cry, want mommy, etc.
    2) I have had a problem (only lately) with getting my family group shots to be well-focused and sharp. Individual portraits are great, and even sometimes small groups of 2 or 3, but family groups…I am baffled. The images are soft and just look unfocused and not at all sharp and clear, though they usually look good on my screen. When I open them on the computer, I see they aren’t as clear as I thought. Is it aperture? Is it lighting? Did I damage my lens somehow? Do I just need to learn my camera settings better and which ones to use? I am an amateur, but have been working at this for about 2 years or so. And the family ones used to turn out better, so I don’t know what I am doing differently. I use a prime lens (50mm) for almost everything. Should I use a zoom lens for the family group and save the prime for individual portraits? I also do the big no-no of shooting in jpg (have to learn about processing RAW images!), but I always have, so I don’t really think that would cause my problem of my family shots being unclear now. Hm. Anyway, I would love Angie’s answers, but I would welcome help from anyone else, too. 🙂 Thanks!

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Interview with the Amazing Angela Monson of Simplicity Photography