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 —

    What a treat to read your interview!! I started my business this past May so i’m fairly new with it. I will certainly be following your blog, I love your work!! And when i got to the part about your twins I got a little teary, since I have 3 1/2 year old twin boys that we got the same way you did….followed by an 18 month-old girl that just “showed up” 🙂
    Thank you so much for sharing a little bit of your everyday life!

  2. September 16, 2009 at 2:20 pm —

    I like Ashley’s question. How do you get your clients to dress like that? Your blog is oozing syle and uniqueness. Love it!

  3. September 16, 2009 at 2:05 pm —

    Beautiful work! I’ve been a fan for a long time! I’d love to know how you use the burn tool, or if you use it, on your images.

  4. September 16, 2009 at 2:02 pm —

    Wow! You are amazing! I too love to shoot in rich vibrancy! Colors make the world go round! Thank you so much for sharing! You totally rock!

  5. Lindsie
    September 16, 2009 at 1:51 pm —

    I agree… please consider teaching a workshop. I would be all over that!

  6. Lindsie
    September 16, 2009 at 1:48 pm —

    Wow! Your work is amazing and inspiring. I actually have two questions. First is, do you use actions for your black and white processing? And my second question is about how long would you say you spend editing a typical photo shoot? Thanks!!!

  7. September 16, 2009 at 1:13 pm —

    Thank you so much for sharing the interview with us! So inspiring! So, now I’m curious Jodi, what do you tell people when they ask how to get this look? Got any good pointers or actions, or online workshops for this specific look?

    And Angie, You are the best!!! I’ve been a fan for awhile, and I absolutely LOVE your style and processing!!! My question is will you ever do workshops? I know you are sooo busy, but please, pretty please, consider it…I’d love a chance to learn from you!

  8. Leah
    September 16, 2009 at 1:06 pm —

    Oh my! I love your work! wow! Could you PLEASE do a tutorial on your photoshop processing for your barn picture with the little girl.. that is just amazing!

  9. Cindi
    September 16, 2009 at 11:43 am —

    I also am interested in how you use light on location, especially with kids who tend to run all over the place. How do you choose your locations, what do you look for, how do you light your subject? Any tips for interacting with children?

  10. September 16, 2009 at 11:42 am —

    Wow… this is a bit freaky! Up to this point I have not seen a photographer with a shooting and processing style so much like mine. Love the images and colors 🙂 Rich colors and sharp images are my signature… I think I just met my shooting soul-mate 🙂

  11. September 16, 2009 at 11:41 am —

    Thanks for sharing Angie, I always find your work a great source of inspiration. My questions is what type of studio lighting do you use and what is your studio lighting set up?

  12. September 16, 2009 at 11:29 am —

    please teach a workshop. please. i drool over your pix.

  13. September 16, 2009 at 11:14 am —

    Thanks for sharing this great interview with us! It was really nice to read and very inspirational :).

  14. September 16, 2009 at 11:09 am —

    Angie has been a favorite photographer of mine since I discovered her work a few years ago. I was searching for something to inspire me and some clues to my own style. There were many photographers who’s work was beautiful, but nothing that really hit home. Then I saw Angie’s photos and I knew what I wanted to do. It has been a lot of work to get my post processing the way I feel it should be, but I think I’m just about there. Not quite so stylized as Angie’s – she’s the queen there – just more intense colors and textures! Thank you Angie! Now, if I can just figure out the studio lighting… 🙂

    My question is about the clothes the kids wear. Do they usually bring their own or do you provide things for them? If you provide, where do you get them? I don’t do a lot of younger kids, but I sure would love to get some of my seniors to wear such fab outfits!

  15. September 16, 2009 at 11:07 am —

    Can’t say enough about Angela. I heart her and her work and she never ceases to inspire me. Great post on getting to know her.

  16. September 16, 2009 at 11:02 am —

    Thanks for posting your before and after! My question is: do you guide your clients’ clothing choices? Your clients always seem to be dressed in a manor that works with your settings – I live in the south and it’s hard to get clients to dress this way, so how do you “convince” them to do bright colors, layers, etc? I’m sure they see your work now and understand it, but how did you do it in the beginning? I love my clients clothing choices mostly, but sometimes I just want to do something a bit different – I often get tired of the smocking and when the clients show up in white shirt and jeans, I get so frustrated! Thank you!

  17. September 16, 2009 at 9:57 am —

    Thank you, Angie. Your photography is absolutely stunning and inspiring. I relate to so many things
    that you talked about in your interview with Jodi (except the singing part…I wanted to be a dancer!)…
    the natural feeling when you pick up a camera, the right brain thing, struggling with the “business” of being a photographer, giving too much of yourself to clients, my hubbie giving me the courage to actually think I am good enough, dreaming of Italy, and even the in-vitro experience…that said, I would love to know how you achieve the rich colors in your images. My photography was mainly B&W film and hand-coloring photos and I am now getting up to speed with photoshop and developing a website.
    I am curious as to how you get your colors to be so vibrant…it is almost like “kodachrome” film with a filter and even retouched a little. Just gorgeous! Anyway, that is my question. I know it seems somewhat elementary, but I am only in grade school with the digital world 🙂 Thanks for sharing the love…xo

  18. September 16, 2009 at 9:51 am —

    I LOVE your work! Thank you for sharing with us!

  19. September 16, 2009 at 9:49 am —

    Your colors are amazing and so rich. When you say you add you bump the saturation, or literally add color layers? Thank you for showing a picture SOOC.

  20. September 16, 2009 at 9:31 am —

    I love your style and can see how well you interact with your clients, they look so comfortable and at ease. When shooting on location do you use natural light or off-camera flash? If you use OCF what do you use?

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Interview with the Amazing Angela Monson of Simplicity Photography