Last week I had to opportunity to sit down and chat with Sam Rae Harriss, a self-taught photographer, world traveller, and outdoor enthusiast. She talked with us about all the ins and outs of photography and how she learned and mastered the art.
Introduce yourself and what you do
“My name is Sam, I am 20 years old, and I am a photographer. I have been taking photos for probably seven years or something like that, All sorts of different subjects from portraits, families, graduates, that sort of thing, and then also landscape photos and I also sell cards with my photos on them.”
How did you get into photography?
“I just started taking photos on my iPod just walking home from school and then I ended up saving up some money and buying a camera. I slowly taught myself how a camera works and how photography works. I read lots of books about it as well as research on the internet. I just spent a lot of years teaching myself about it. I would also say that I kinda got into photography when Instagram was getting pretty popular and that was a big inspiration for me because I could really see what I could do and see what other photographers were doing.”
What are some tips you’d give to someone who wants to start taking photos?
“I would say just start taking photos even if you don’t have the equipment. That’s what I did and you just grow your skills and build up to it. There are also so many resources online and you can really learn a lot if you are motivated”
How did you navigate your first professional shoot, giving instruction to the models, etc?
“I would say I knew the people I first started doing a paid shoot with which was nice because I already had a personal connection with them. I wasn’t taking it too seriously and not being super uptight because I wanted it to be really natural and not forced. That’s how I usually navigate directing the models. I think if I didn’t know them I would try to establish that first connection with trying to get to know them and what they’re looking for from the photos.”
What is your favourite style of photos to shoot?
“That’s so difficult for me, because I really enjoy all types of photography and it is such a cool medium. For me personally though I would like to say either street photography or landscapes. I really like to travel and taking photos of daily life and how things are with limited editing, I think that a photo journalistic style is really appealing to me and really shooting things as they are. For landscape and nature, I like to spend a lot of time hiking and camping and I grew up doing those activities so that just comes really naturally for me. I have a huge appreciation for where I live so it makes sense that I would want to capture it and enjoy it.
When you go out to shoot, do you take any essential items other than a camera and lens?
“I know this sounds really bad but not really. I feel like I don’t really have anything that I bring with me other than the essentials because thats all I need. I think that it’s very dependant on where I am and what I’m shooting. Since I have a lot of variety in what I’m shooting it really depends on the location. For example if I’m hiking I’m not going to be bringing a lot else. I would say the camera is enough and I don’t think I need much else.”
What’s your favourite lens and which camera do you use?
“I feel like my favourite and the one that has been my favourite for a long time is my 40mm 2.8 macro lens. It’s my OG and my favourite. Sadly it doesn’t fit on my new camera so I’ll have to get a converter or a new one. Currently, I have the SONY Alpha a7 iii.”
Out of all your photos, which one is your favourite? Why?
“I think my favourite photo is of this water droplet, it’s not titled, but I took it on this hike in Vancouver at Joffre Lakes years ago with the macro lens I was talking about earlier. Its just the macro photo and you can see the reflection because it is a really cool photo. Because it has a reflection of the lake in the background to its this really bright blue colour. When you look at it you kinda don’t know what it is at the beginning and it looks kinda abstract. It’s also just a good memory of a hike I was on with my family and it’s just so eye catching.”
Do you have anything that you want to audience to know?
“If you want to start doing photography then I recommend just going for it! Also check me out on Instagram @samrhphotography and send me a DM if you have any questions or want to learn more.”