Translating joy and beauty into pictures is truly one of Ginger Sumerlin’s gifts. On and off set she is always brimming with joy, excitement, and passion for what she is doing. Being able to watch her in action during photo shoots for Addiah, I have witnessed how her emotions are conveyed in each of her photographs. Her photos are not simply a style, but they are her heart.
I recently had the privilege to ask Ginger about herself and her chosen artform…photography.
First, how would you describe yourself?
Describe myself – hmmmm…I am the wife to my amazing husband, David, mom to the three sweetest boys in the world, and most of all a daughter of God. A bit of a perfectionist with most things in life, and most of the time have pretty high energy. I’m tough on myself, yet strive to be patient and generous to others. I love my photography clients, as I find a neat tidbit of goofy in almost every session. I love hearing people’s stories. I love making memories. And I really love clean floors and dark chocolate.
How did you begin your career in photography? Why photography?
I began my “career” in photography about 10 years ago, quite by accident. I worked for the newspaper before I had children, and enjoyed taking pictures for them. I did a few friends’ shoots for free, and word got around that I could take good pics, and more people were asking. I ended up not officially starting my business until about five years ago, after I had some time to really learn the proper technical and business sides of the art. I launched by website www.gingersumerlinphotography.com four years ago, which has caused business to really bloom.
Having my own photography business has allowed me to stay connected with my community in east Tennessee (one of the most beautiful areas in the U.S.!) Setting my own days and hours has also been a huge blessing.
Do you have a photographer that you are inspired by or that you admire?
I am inspired most by my aunt Janice. Although she has lived in California my whole life, she and I are two peas in a pod! Every time we are together, we almost forget about the world and have a blast with each other, as if no one else is around. Janice started her photography business after her children were grown and out of the house, and just before I started mine. She and I have stayed in constant contact since around then, and we travel throughout the year to be together and inspire and learn from each other. We’ve enjoyed shooting weddings and families together for about four years now. I love her passion and her joy. Her enthusiasm lifts me, and her beautiful Christ-like wisdom blesses me.
Do you have a creative process?
During a shoot, I really like to get to know my client, learn their story, and let the creativity flow from our conversation and the dynamic of their family relationships. I like to think that my style of photography captures people’s special moments and glances that naturally take place. Joyful expressions come from conversations and history among my clients, not from a “1-2-3-cheese” from me. I have been known, however, to tell a horribly bad joke from time to time to break a little one’s fake smirks!
How do you feel about editing in relation to photos?
Editing…ahhhh, editing…Photography has become a fairly popular career choice the past little bit, to say the least. The equipment is advanced and more affordable, and the editing software is freely and quickly available from online companies everywhere. A good picture can now be taken with a decent “smart” phone and uploaded to nearly everywhere; and with one click of a button, edited to look like a “professional” shot. Anyone can get a free website and free business cards. To all this, I say, “blah!” I will practice self-control here, and simply say that I enjoy the true art and knowledge of photography. I enjoy capturing the true colors of nature and the sweet and natural tones of beautiful skin.
Apart from photography, what does your life hold?
Apart from photography, my life is pretty entertaining. Being the homeschooling mother of three little energetic boys is exciting (learning something new about them every day), shocking (oh, the questions they ask!), and most of the time pretty loud (I jokingly call my middle son a pterodactyl).
I am driven by the call to be the wife and mother my Lord wants me to be. I am constant prayer that the Lord molds me, and that he will comfort me during the tough stages of pruning. And most of all, I strive to be intentional with everything I do in life. I hope, alongside my husband, to leave a legacy of God’s love and kindness to anyone I come in contact with.