Photographer finds picture perfect career
Written by JACK CARLE Sentinel Sports Editor
Saturday, 18 May 2013 07:20
A passion for photography has led an area woman to her career choice.
|Elizabeth Lee. (Photo: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
Elizabeth (Wagner) Lee, a 2008 Elmwood High School graduate, is a freelance photographer living in Bowling Green.
''I always liked taking photographs when I was younger,'' Lee said. ''I still remember my first florescent green camera.
''Then I took a photography class in high school that I really liked,'' she added.
After attending Bowling Green State University for one semester, Lee enrolled at the Hallmark Institute of Photography in Turner Falls, Mass. She graduated from the 10-month Hallmark program in June 2010.
It was Trevor Lee, who is now her brother-in-law, who sparked Elizabeth's interest in the Hallmark Institute. Trevor Lee took the course one year before Elizabeth.
Elizabeth married Mitchell Lee last May.
After her studies at the Hallmark Institute she started Elizabeth Wagner Photography, which remains the name of the business.
During her studies and at the beginning of her career, Lee received major help from her parents, Neil and Carol.
''I appreciate them a lot,'' she said. ''It's expensive to get started.''
Lee does not want to be stuck working 9-5 in a studio, so her photo shoots are done on location.
''Basically I do freelance. I like to do outdoor portraits, and I like doing landscapes,'' Lee said. ''I like working with natural light. I do use a flash, but it's nice to get outside.
''The good thing about photography is that you can always go outside and try to find something to take a photograph of and then share that,'' she added. "You don't have to have a person to take a photo of, you can take a photo of anything.''
Lighthouses are a particular interest to Lee.
"I have been thinking about doing a series on those ... and maybe do an exhibit of them,'' Lee said about lighthouses, which are prevalent in the family vacation spot in Michigan. ''They really interest me.
''We do go places and it's half vacation and half taking photos,'' Lee added. ''Sometimes vacations are planned for what will come out on camera.''
Getting her business started has been a struggle for Lee.
''It's doing better now. It takes a while for that word-of-mouth to spread around,'' Lee said.
Social media has helped as Lee has an online presence on Facebook, Instagram, and with a website.
''It's almost like word-of-mouth times 50,'' Lee said about social media. ''To be able to put your photos out there whenever you want ... it's right there, right away.''
Lee has also shown some of her work at the 2012 Art Walk in Bowling Green, the Pemberville Free Fair and the Wood County Fair.
At the 2012 Wood County Fair she won Best of Show in the professional division for a landscape photo taken near Jackson, Ohio.
Lee is still growing as a photographer.
''You never quit learning, there is always something new,'' she said. ''Things keep changing, so you have to be creative in new ways ... Especially now since everyone has a camera at their fingertips.
''You have to find something that sets you apart and knowing how to consistently get results.''
Hallmark helps its students put together a portfolio.
''Looking back now, I can't even believe I was satisfied with any of that stuff,'' Lee said. ''You see the mistakes that you have made.
''It's kind of good to make mistakes and move on and then you can see how you have progressed,'' she continued. ''You take tons of photos and then you edit them down to the good ones that you want to show.''
Lee's ultimate goal is to have a gallery of her own in the area, where she could sell prints.