Details: A Q&A with Jennifer Carr

May 7, 2018 0 Comments

Jennifer Carr is one of those photographer’s whose work helps me slow down a little, and really admire the details in life!  We had a little Q&A session where I asked her to share a little bit about her thought process in her work!

Q: What do you look for first when shooting details?

A: I always look for details first.  Whenever I arrive at a scene, I walk around first without my camera and observe the surrounding.  This helps me determine what I want to include, what I want to leave out, and what someone else might have overlooked.

Q: What tips can you share about capturing emotion in your detailed images?

A: I like to use my senses as I’m evaluating the scene to help me really hone into the location.  In doing this, I’m able to better translate how a location makes me feel into an image.

Q: What do you look for in terms of lighting when making detailed images?

A: When I arrive at a scene as I look for details, I also I evaluate the light.  I determine where it is coming from, whether it is hard or soft, and how high the sun is in the sky.  I also look for areas of contrast, in particular pockets of light on the edges of shadows.  A detail really pops against a dark background.

Q: Do you set your shots up in any way, shoot on the fly, or get in a specific place and wait for the perfect moment to press your shutter?

A: I’m definitely an on the fly photographer.  My photography is very organic and staged shots just feel too unnatural for me.  I used to really want to be a still life photographer, but I’ve learned over the years that my staged shots lack the emotion and connection that my other photographs tend to have.  With that being said, I’ve also learned that patience is the biggest virtue in creating photographs, so I try to make certain not to rush things.

Q: How do you capture the perspective that you do?  (Standing, kneeling, down to the ground, all of them, etc.)

A: In our local photography group, I have a reputation for laying on the ground to get the shot that I want.  I rarely take a photograph at eye level and instead I’m contorting myself into all sorts of angles to create the image that I’m seeking.  Thank goodness for yoga!  I love that my camera has a tilting LCD screen so that I can use it to help me see my composition when I’m at an odd angle.  I also rarely use a tripod, as I find that it limits my creativity by keeping me in one place.

Q: What do you do when you get bored of shooting the same things?

A:  I’m a big believer in not forcing photographs when I’m not feeling it.  If I’m feeling bored or uninspired, taking a walk in nature usually helps.  There is so much beauty all around us, but it’s easy to miss when we’re caught up in the grind.  If that doesn’t help, I turn to another hobby such as gardening, cooking, yoga.  Afterwards, I usually feel rejuvenated and re-centered.

Q: If you could go back in time and tell yourself some tricks for mastering this faster, what would you say?

A: Stop overthinking it and just give it a shot.  Results don’t come from studying other’s work, reading books, or sitting around thinking about shooting.  Results come from putting the camera to your eye, creating an image, and evaluating how you can improve your next time.

Q: What gear and equipment do you use for accomplishing this?

A: My go to camera is the Sony a9.  I have a collection of lenses, but when it comes to capturing close up details, my favorite lenses are my Sony 35 mm f1.4, Lensbaby Velvet 56, and Sony 90 mm macro.

Q: What are your typical settings?

A: My settings vary greatly based on what I am photographing and other factors such as background, lighting, and my intended story.  But at the end of each shoot, I always reset my camera to base settings of 1/250, f4, ISO 400, and WB 6000K.  That way if something amazing happens in a split second, I can grab the camera and quickly dial in the settings that I want.  Last summer we had a bear visit our suburban backyard and had I not been ready, I would have missed getting a photo of him!

Q: How important is editing in your final image?

A: I believe that editing puts the finishing touches on your vision and therefore your photograph is incomplete without it.  With that being said, I am a simple and clean editor.  I’d much rather be outside creating photographs that sitting at my desk working Lightroom and Photoshop.


Virginia Beach photographer Jennifer Carr is passionate about landscape and nature photography.  Jennifer loves to seek out the simple beauty in her days from the honey bees in her garden to capturing her husband climbing high in the Alps. In addition to fine art and portrait work, Jennifer offers photography mentoring and hosts The Saltwater Retreat, an inspiring and creative photography retreat for women.  Join Jennifer at her newest workshop Discovered Beauty, an online photography workshop designed to teach you to seek out and use details to add depth, emotion, and creativity to your images.  You can find Jennifer’s work on her website, Instagram and Facebook.  She is also starting a new workshop soon called Discovered Beauty, check out the details here!


Emily Hamson

I'm a mom of 4 wild boys, who photographs mostly nature (partly because they don't run away or pull faces at me like my boys do). Being behind my camera is my therapy! In 2017 I decided to embark upon a personal photography project to find more creative ways to use my camera, and the CIC was born. I love to learn anything that goes along with photography, but I really love helping others learn new techniques even more!