technically it still is Friday and Artis Studio complete the week....

Firstly apologies for this being so late in the day, secondly apologies if there are typos, for a Friday evening I am surprisingly tired and am struggling to focus on either the screen or the keyboard right now! Personally I blame the two I am interviewing here anyway - they forced me to come to Kat's wonderful birthday party and now I am left in this state with their interview to post....sorry ladies!

Anyway, here they are - double trouble for a Friday- Kat and Hannah from Artis Studio's in Ascot......

Name: Hannah Gamble and Kat Toft
Business: Artis Studio
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How long has Artis Stuido’s been going and can you tell us a little bit about how it was formed?

Artis studios has been going since April 2006 but officially and completely owned by us since September 2006. The concept of Artis happened about 4 years ago when Kat was asked by a photographer for help at his studio. She implemented some drastic systems to help get the studio back on it’s feet which included getting myself in to help with photoshop workflows and rebranding. After about 6 months the studio owners decided they wanted to retire (ill health sped this process along) so Kat and I took over the studio.

What do each of you (as individuals) bring to the business that you think makes it the success that it is?

HANNAH: We have finally got to the stage where we have clearly defined our strengths within the business and feeling comfortable in those roles. Initially we both tried to do everything and it did not end well :) Kat is fantastic as the organiser and office manager. She (crazily) loves databases and order so will take care of the day to day running of the business and the majority of customer enquiries. She is also a fantastic sales woman and does all the viewing sessions for our portraits as she can work out what customers are looking for, how to fit products to their budget and knows the products off by heart. I take care of the majority of the post production (photoshop) at the studio and a lot of the marketing. I do all of the portrait shoots, image editing and enhancing, and all the design work. I also get lumped with the technical problems when they go wrong! We complement each other very well and are both happy with how we spread the workload and responsibilities of the company.

KAT: I think we compliment each other really well. We both have the same vision of where we want the company to go, so making decisions is usually pretty easy. I have a business head, so I run the office, know whats happening with every client and sort out things like pricing. Hannah is the creative that designs the material and has developed our style of images. We trust each other completely which was hard at first, as we both wanted to be able to do everything, but now that we have found our skills we are comfortable giving up certains areas completely to the other person

You specialize in portraits and weddings. Do you have a favorite and why?

KAT: We have realised that we do have favourites, so going forward I am going to specialise in weddings and Hannah is going to be shooting all the portraits. Its nice to have your own area of the business that you can focus on and really become the best you can be. I love the spontaneity and unpredictable natural of weddings and find I am most creative when I have natural lighting and things happening around me. I felt uninspired by a white room studio, but Hannah really enjoys the control that you can have in a studio and sees more than just a white room!

HANNAH: An exclusive to Carli-Art!! For 2010 we have decided to split the company so that Kat shoots all the weddings and I shoot all the portraits. The decision has come down to the fact that Kat enjoys weddings more than I do and I enjoy portraits more than she does. We also feel business wise there will be someone watching each area of the business all year round.

The images that you have chosen to add to this chat, why those?

HANNAH: The dog came in as part of a pet promotion and the woman wanted 'different' images. She wanted to dye her dogs hair but luckily ran out of time so I reassured her I would do it in post. I really like the fact that we caught the shot while he was licking his lips and the canon 5d mark2 really brings out the detail in his fur.

The couple on the skate ramp I loved doing and were completely natural in front of the camera and with each other. Both have a performing arts background so were really good at understanding body positions and following instructions. Both had a sort of ‘rock’ look to them so I wanted to use a local skate park with lots of graffiti to match the look. However when I got there the council had painted over the graffiti with a horrible green paint. All that was left were a few tags on the half pipe and although the couple couldn’t sit on it as it was so slippery, it made a cool shot the second they could.

KAT: The Bride - Its funny, I didn't even notice this image that much the first time I saw it. I had done my raw conversion to the photos, then handed the wedding to Hannah to do some fancy effects. When it came back she had cropped this image panoramic and put a beautiful soft desaturated effect on, and I was like 'wow - I took that?'!

The Church - This one was the opposite as I new it would be a good one as I was taking it. The lighting was perfect, the natural framing of the arch and I was in the perfect spot. Its this type of photo I love to look for on a wedding day, and the extra vignetting afterwards, just makes it perfect.

If you weren't a photographer what would you be doing do you think?

KAT: I have absolutely no idea! I have always been really headstrong so when I decided to be a photographer, I just went out and got a job as a photographer.
HANNAH: My background was in Video editing and graphic design, so I imagined I would have kept down that route and continued to be frustrated by how slow video workflows are in comparison to photography!

Tell me the 3 scariest things about setting up your own business?

1) Doing your own tax return.
2) When the phone doesn't ring for a while.
3) I can't think of a third - being self-employed was pretty much second natural to me. I think its much scary to have a boss to please!
1) “What if it doesn’t work!”
2) The learning curve.
3) Money.

Quick fire round.....are you ready? - If each of you can answer these that would be great – thanks.

1. Favorite word
Supercalifrag - when used as an adjective e.g. “that idea is supercaifrag” followed by “yeah, it’s expialidocious”
2. Pet hate about the world of photos
The massive amount of arrogance in the industry.
3. Another person that inspires you At the moment
E J Camp
4. Any personal projects coming up?
We have plans to do more model type shoots and although their not personal projects they are what I love shooting the most and get the most creative imagery.
5. Your being shipped to the moon and can grab only 3 things, what are they?
My dog, my Mac (Kat already took the iPhone) and a McDonalds Banana milkshake - not sure why just fancy one.
6. Favourite book
Hmmm...too many. Life of Pi, Dice Man, Sophie’s World, Marley and me
7. 2010 see’s what for Artis?
Hopefully more big plans, we always want to push ourselves and the business further. Another full time member of staff, solid plans towards moving/changing premises,
1. Favorite word
2. Pet hate about the world of photos
Spot colouring - why do you want to make people look dead.....WHY!?
3. Another person that inspires you
Jeff Ascough
4. Any personal projects coming up?
I would love to have a fine art section to the website to sell some travel prints and give me an excuse to go round the world and have it all put on the business! Can't say its coming up anytime soon though.
5. Your being shipped to the moon and can grab only 3 things, what are they?
My iphone, my dog and a really good book. Wait, do they have electric sockets on the moon? Does the charger count as a separate item? I need more information!!
6. Favourite book
I have loads - 'Dice Man' maybe. I am loving 'Jane Eyre' at the moment.
7. 2010 see’s what for Artis?
A full time retoucher I hope. We are growning too fast for us and need to have time to actually run the business, not just work in it. If anyone reading this wants to come work for us, send us your CV!

And there any bit of advise you can offer those trying to get into wedding or portrait photography?

I am always impressed with people who have used their time to get as much experience as possible. Free work experience, shadowing a professional, even just taking lots of their own photos and trying new things.
Find a style and stand out from the crowd. There is a million people that can all take photos, so they need a really good reason to pick you over their friend with a camera. Keep up the quality as well, as once you start cutting corners its a vicious downward spiral and the customers WILL notice - referrals are everything!

Yay!! Thank you girls....xx