AMBER WALDER UNRAVELED: AN INTERVIEW

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Amber Walder is one of those artists whose work moves you deep within your soul. She finds a way to make everyday life look magical. She is based out of Watertown, SD and is a natural light photographer, specializing in newborns, children, families and documentary-style films. As a mother of four, she knows what her client's cherish and what they want to remember and documents it all so honestly and beautifully.

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What inspires your art? Light!!! I am so inspired by and drawn to beautiful light. Also, my children...they have been my inspiration from day one. A small moment or detail. Connection.

What do you shoot with? Camera body and favorite lens? I am a Canon girl all around. I shoot with a 5D Markiii and almost exclusively just two lenses - the 135 2.0L & 35 1.4L. I would have told you a year ago that the 135 was my favorite, hands-down, but I seem to be reaching for my 35 more and more lately. I love being able to get up close, and it's invaluable for indoors.

What other ways do you express your creativity? Hahah. I'm not sure I do! Photography is my one and only creative outlet. In general, I'm not a very creative person (I don't think). Lol!

How do you de-stress at the end of the day? Wine. Wine. Wine. Also, wine! Hah. But seriously, de-stressing is usually editing an image or two just for me, or spending time hanging out with my husband and binging on a Netflix series.

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What kind of music do you listen to while editing? Country! I should branch out a little more... What is your favorite book? Ohh goodness... that's tough... I'm one of those people that can't put a book down once I've started reading, but I honestly can't remember the last book I read. So sad. It's been years. I've always said that once our babies are grown I'll have time to read again. So, any suggestions!? I'll start making a list for when that day comes. :)

Name one movie that inspires you. Pretty Woman. Just because she doesn't give a hoot what others think of her (and it's my all time favorite movie).

 

How do you handle self-doubt or creative slumps? Ohh, this is a tough one... I struggle with self-doubt (a lot), in both the personal and business side of things. I think it's just part of my personality and will always be a struggle for me. But then I try to remind myself why I am doing this. Why was I drawn to photography in the first place? My children. Capturing moments. Freezing time... To remember. To feel. And at the end of the day, no matter how much I struggle with self doubt, all those reasons why I'm doing what I do day after day are still there. And that's what matters. So I push forward. I keep learning. I keep shooting. I keep freezing moments and memories in time.

Some days are amazing, and others it feels like a chore to pick up my camera. No matter what the reason behind it, I think every creative goes though creative slumps at some point. I go through periods of this every year for various lengths of times. Sometimes I try to push through - trying something different, learning something different, taking on a new project, taking a class, etc. And other times I just allow it to happen and give myself a little grace. I have never been one that was able to do a 365. I tried a couple times and had "failed" by Feb/March both times. I am not one that can shoot just to shoot. I need to feel inspired. I need to have a reason.

I have no desire to take a photo only to say I took a photo if it's not meaningful to me. So I will allow myself to put my camera down for awhile if needed. Also, when I go through these periods, taking a step back from social media is helpful. Social media can be very powerful. It is absolutely amazing to see beautiful work and feel inspired. And often times it's a great creative push to continue to learn and try new things. But other times it can be tough and lead you back to that self-doubt - Am I good enough? Is my business successful enough? Am I doing this the wrong way? Should I be doing that? We are all on our own creative journey. How we get there or how long it takes to get there really matters very little as long as we are doing something we love.

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What has been the most difficult part of your creative journey? Time! Four small children... time is hard to come by at this stage in life. I still do have many ambitions... if only there were more hours in the day, hahah! Otherwise, for me the most difficult part of the journey (even from day one) has been the internal struggle - confidence & self-doubt. That fear of failure, or fear of putting myself out there. This is something I continue to push though work on every day.

Who is your favorite photographer? Do I Have to pick just one?! Impossible. There are way too many to name... :)

Coleen Hodges