An Interview with Photographer & Watercolour Artist Gina Collins
Gina Collins has experience with various photography genres. Her beautiful work ranges from stunningly colourful landscape images, elegant flower photography, majestic big cats and other wildlife, beautifully composed Still Life photography and much more. She also creates exquisite watercolour artwork too.
Hailing from the western United States, Gina has been a working artist for over 10 years, having started to sell paintings and drawings while still in primary school. After graduating high school she attended NWCA and also has a Bachelors of Science degree in Business Administration from MSUB.
Her beautiful work can be purchased as amazing prints, funky iphone cases, trendy clothing and many other household gifts at: https://www.redbubble.com/people/GinaCollins … and also at https://society6.com/ginacollins
What was it that got you into photography and when did you realise you would pursue it as a career?
I was late to the photography game, I’ve always been artistic and have been painting and drawing since I was about 3 years old but I never had the money for a camera. I was given a simple point and shoot camera when I graduated high school and became obsessed with documenting shortly thereafter. The temporary nature of time and light I find fascinating, I can recreate paintings, everyone can recreate paintings but capturing a similar moment in time is different, almost impossible if you aren’t there. Another moment might be close but it’s not the exact same moment. I love the originality of it, sharing the experience and having a moment in time preserved appeals to my love of history and storytelling. I think I realised I wanted to pursue a career in photography when I reasoned other people out there might share those values. With the digital age there is a lot of photo documentation out there but not always with the intent of artist value and knowing about both gave me a direction to go, a way to help people.
What photographers and or artists inspire your work and why?
I really enjoy the work of Natalia Le Fay, she does some interesting photographic work with people and editing. Elspeth Mclean has some amazing dotalism paintings I’m very fond of, her use of color is always inspirational. I used to model for Cinful Productions and I really enjoy seeing Nic’s work, I’ve actually collaborated since then on some shoots with him and we always have a good time sharing photography tips and tricks. Joe Towey has some interesting design and animation work I enjoy. I draw inspiration for my work from many artistic genres, there is a long list of photographers I really enjoy and then there is an even longer list of artists I love to follow whether their work comes even close to mine or not. I think I need that, it rounds me out as a creator and keeps my mind open.
What equipment do you use, (flash, camera, lens, etc) do you have a favourite lens for each genre?
Right now I’m shooting with a Nikon D3300. Since I shoot such a wide range of photography subjects my favourite lens etc really depends on what I’m shooting at the time. I have a 300mm that I love for shooting events and wildlife, but for my design projects and indoor shoots, I tend to stick with a 55mm. I almost never shoot with flash, I don’t like how it flattens out images. There are get times to use flash but I don’t seem to find them too often. As for other equipment, I have a bag of random stuff that’s fun to play with but gets left at home often as I like to pack light. Carrying too much feels suffocating and I avoid it.
What is your planning process for your shoots?
I don’t always have time to plan! It really depends on the shoot. If I am shooting a cake smash or portrait session I usually plan at least a week in advance but with wildlife, landscapes and sometimes even still lifes; it’s a much more random and organic process for me. I don’t plan I just bring my camera everywhere on my adventures and when I see something interesting I shoot. I enjoy hiking and have great access to the wild so I don’t necessarily plan to get shots like that, I’m already in the atmosphere already. Family portraits and event photography usually has much more planning, anything where I’m already contracted and working directly with clients on a deadline I put a lot of prep time in. I recently shot a wedding in Portland and because I don’t live anywhere near there I was planning for months. Just depends on the client’s goals.
What is your post processing workflow? Do you have an idea of what you want your final image to look like before editing?
Most of the time I do have an idea what I want out of an image and my post process goes quickly. Sometimes it’s nice to get play and see where the image wants to go on its own. If I have the luxury of time I like to be able to sleep in between shooting and processing. I get really excited when I have images to work with and edit but I think it’s also important to pause and understand them without rushing in, I find sleeping lets my brain process them quickly and more fully and I wake up with fresh eyes and better judgement.
What is your creative process for your Watercolours paintings?
Watercolors are completely different for me. I do a fair amount of still life and landscape paintings because it brings me peace and I think the world needs more of that. I also occasionally do fan art in watercolors, which is fun to do as a fan and also fun to post and connect to people with similar interests. I’ve had to set back from that recently, though, some of the fans out there have gone out of their way to be cyber bullies and I don’t want that in my life. I still make the paintings but I don’t post, I’ve just learned there are some celebrities that have some crazy negative fans and I should avoid becoming a lightning rod for that kind of energy.
What are your future career goals for your photography and artwork?
In the future I’d like to work more with people, I really enjoy portraiture. I would also like to continue to create using plants and nature. I think I’ve got some strong ideas but there is always room for improvement so I’ll continue learning and posting as I go. I’m a very passionate, driven individual so not progressing isn’t an option for me, I’ll always be trying to improve.