Amanda Barrick of Banjos and Bows Photography Unraveled: An Interview

Amanda Barrick is a hobbyist and stock photographer with Banjos and Bows Photography.  She lives in NW Pennsylvania with her husband (her high school sweetheart), their son, and corgi.  She loves to shoot her own family memories and everyday moments, as well as document their lives together and she does so beautifully. She also truly loves to capture anything that captures her eyes as beautiful which she says means that "anything is fair game, whether that be a dead leaf, a raindrop, the way the light shines in our house, etc." Her work is vibrant, full of life and light, and is always catching our eyes. 

Amanda was kind enough to share a video of her editing the following image in our academy. Join the Academy TODAY to learn more about her post processing. 

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What inspires your art? So much inspires me. I try to be open to inspiration and beauty and be ready when it comes to me.  Emotion is a big source of inspiration.  I really believe that in order for a photograph to be memorable and moving to the viewer, the photographer had to have some sort of emotion in taking the photograph.  I try to see the world in wonder as often as I can.  Light is also a big source of inspiration.  How it interacts with objects is just beautiful.  I am inspired by movement, lines, connection, color, and really anything that makes me pause and see.  Obviously, documenting my family and our life is a source of inspiration.  My parents passed away when I was a child and I treasure the photographs we have together.  This makes it even more important for me to gift our family moments to my own child.

What do you shoot with? Camera body and favorite lens? I shoot with my Canon 6d and mostly my Sigma Art 35mm.  This is my favorite because of the versatility of the focal length.  It's good to get in the tighter, everyday, situations.  It's also great with low light which can be especially helpful shooting indoors.  Sometimes I play around with a few Lensbabys and an old 135mm from the thrift store that I use to freelens with.

What other ways do you express your creativity? I really don't have other ways.  I guess I pour all my creative energy into photography.

How do you de-stress at the end of the day? I love relaxing in my bathtub.  Fortunately, my husband gives me this break away from my kiddo fairly often in the evenings to get some down time.  I'm very much an introvert, so I need that time to reset.

What kind of music do you listen to while editing? I would love to say that I have the coolest music going on in the background while I edit, but if I'm honest, it's mostly children's YouTube channels.  This might be one reason why I like to keep my editing short and sweet.  If I were to choose my own music it would be contemporary Christian.  It calms my soul and helps me to focus on what is important.  And if it's Christmas time, I will have N'Sync's "Home for Christmas" album in.

What is your favorite book? My favorite book is Ragamuffin Gospel by Brennan Manning.  It has nothing to do with photography, but it allows me to renew myself and find grace.  When I give myself grace, I allow myself to grow. 

Name one movie that inspires you. I'm so bad with movies!  I think my favorite movie is White Christmas because of the warm, cozy feeling I get in watching it.  I think I watch movies and pull the emotion from them rather than see the inspiration visually most of the time.  It's like listening to the words of a song instead of its musicality.  Lately there have been a lot of children's movies on in my house, so other movie inspiration just isn't coming to mind.

How do you handle self-doubt or creative slumps? I think this is tricky because every creative deals with this.  I think what is most important is to keep shooting through it.  If I let the doubt creep in enough to stop shooting, it's even harder for me to even pick up my camera.  I'm on my second year of doing 365's.  It's not an easy undertaking.  There are certainly some days I shoot to shoot, and look for what I can get to fill in the day instead of letting the inspiration come to me, but I try to shoot through and keep an open mind.  I try to find new ways to shoot the same thing.  Sometimes I try to head out by myself to clear my thoughts, walking around my own yard to see what beauty there is to find.  I try to remind myself to not be so hard on myself when I don't get award-level images day after day and reassure myself that that isn't a reality.  Again, there is so much beauty in giving yourself some grace.  

What has been the most difficult part of your creative journey? I was a high school physics teacher and have been out of the classroom for 3 years.  For a large part of my life, this was part of my identity.  I was all about the math and equations and my ability to make any type of "art" was laughable to me.  I didn't think I had a creative bone in my body and I sure wasn't even sad about it.  When I had my son, I was even more aware of the importance of documenting memories.  In doing so, I found that I wanted to do it better, to do it so these photographs would mean something to other people as well and to make art.  Allowing myself to be creative has been difficult.  Allowing myself to be called creative has been difficult even, and embracing this in order to be confident in my field is challenging.  Just because my formal education was in a totally unrelated field, does not make me any less of a creative.  I continue to learn, and I continue to grow, and I continue to create.  But accepting this dynamic change in my life has been difficult.

Who is one of your favorite photographers? Summer Murdock.  I admire her so incredibly much.  The way she uses light in simply magical as well as her compositions, but her outlook on photography is something to respect as well.  I was fortunate enough to take her "Magic of Light" class recently and it has been a game changer on so many levels of my photography.  She is always inspiring and always willing to help and see people grow.

Sarah Driscoll