Started photography in 2011 with a $400 camera from Amazon and only a few youtube videos to teach us the basics. Now in 2018, we have been published over 25 times, voted one of the top wedding photographers in Virginia Beach, and we shoot over 60 events a year. We also donate 10% of our profits and time to help local needy families and non-profits with their marketing, social media, website design, graphics and professional image.
Our readers would love to get to know you more Christal. Tell us about yourself, what is unique about you?
Mother of three, homeschooler, graphic designer, sushi fanatic.
Christal, what are your passion and aspiration in life? How did you start as a Photographer?
There was a job opening at a local non-profit Maryland to take pictures during their summer camp for inner-city children. I strapped my ten-month-old daughter to my back and shot 2 hours every day for three months, then I taught myself lightroom and photoshop and edited every night. This my photography boot camp. I learned how to shoot manual that summer and was able to get two weddings, several portrait sessions and engagement sessions that year alone. For me, photography was about connecting with people and telling stories with light.
Who is your inspiration in life Christal? How do you keep inspired?
My family and my children were the first things that I took photos of and every day when I am with them; I see the world differently. They have always been my guinea pigs for anything photography related that I want to try- using our living room as a "studio" for years- always trying new lighting techniques or flash set ups.
We all make mistakes Christal, we wish we could take back. Please tell us about time being a Photographer; you wish you’d handled a situation differently with a colleague.
Especially in my area, where there are 1,000s of photographers and creatives, sometimes we can all step on each others' toes. For example, I wanted to collaborate with another photographer to do a wedding shoot at a friend's barn. She didn't want to use it, so I used it for my shoot and brought my friends. She was hurt that I went and did something by myself without her approval. So she doesn't talk to me anymore.
Christal, when you’re working with a large number of clients, it’s tricky to deliver excellent service to them all. As a Photographer, how do you go about prioritizing your clients’ needs?
I only shoot once per day, and I edit that night for the client. That way, I only take on one project at a time and images are delivered quickly to each client personally.
Please tell us, Christal, about a time you had to be very strategic to meet all your top priorities as a Photographer?
I saw a need to have a second shooter and an assistant for weddings especially. I didn't want to pay outside help and therefore keeping my overhead low. So I trained my husband how to do weddings and our event photobooth with me. We make a great team.
christal, please give us an example of a time when you were able to successfully persuade someone to see things your way at work.
I have a passion for mentoring, coaching and holding workshops (since I have a Masters in Education). I love seeing students blossom and see their businesses blossom because of an idea that I had for them to use. One example, one of my students went to two of my wedding workshops and was able to get booked for two weddings within a month. That's so exciting for me to see that!
Christal, please tell us about your proudest professional accomplishment as a Photographer. There might be many, but there is always this proudest moment that you just want to share with everyone. What is it and why?
We got two awards this year as a business for our work alone, but I am the proudest of when I traveled to Colombia last year and was able to donate our services to an organization down there that works with children from the slums through sports and educational programs, and I was able to document their story through film and photos. Now, the organization is receiving help an aid to further their cause, because of their professional marketing.
Christal, please give us an example of a time you were able to be creative with your work. What was exciting or difficult about it?
I love doing creative lighting shoots in my studio- using odd objects like Christmas lights, piping, video lights, LED lights, mirrors, prisms and crystal balls to create amazing in-camera images.
What advice would you give to the people who want to be successful as a Photographer?
Hustle, work and think out-of-the-box. Every day I get up, trying to do something original and different. Also, stop wishing to be like someone else's work.
Are you looking for collaboration with fashion talents, brands and creatives? If yes, please state what type of collaboration you are looking for?
Definitely, want to work with other creatives- especially for video (which is my new passion)
Marshall Arts Studio (Christal Marshall) @chicamarsh