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Meet Courtney Prater

Today we’d like to introduce you to Courtney Prater.  

Hi Courtney, so excited to have you on the platform. So, before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
I’ve always had in interest in photography. I was about 7 when I found my dad’s Nikon film camera in the closet, my parents never bought me film for it but that didn’t stop me from having everyone pose for me and pretending I was snapping photos. After high school I started photography on my iPhone, I would find locations and make friends model for me and edit the photos in LR Mobile. I finally bought my first DSLR in 2017 and continued to play around with friends and landscape photography. I always thought it would just be a hobby. January 2021, I had my daughter, I knew I wanted to be home and not find a 9-5 job, so in July 2021 I decided to make a Facebook page and see if friends/family were interested in having me take their photos. I am self-taught, being a business owner is hard work! I have made so many friends in the creative community that has been my lifesavers! 

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
It has definitely not been a smooth road, haha! Being a business owner is a lot of work. More work than I ever had in mind when I dreamed of being a photographer. There is so much behind-the-scenes work, building and keeping up with a website so that clients can easily contact me, being present on social media, and engaging with potential clients. Constantly learning, I still learn something new every session whether it be different camera settings, the flow of a session, paying attention, and learning each client so they are as comfortable as possible. I think my biggest challenge though is feeling I don’t belong. There are so many photographers, and talented artists and unfortunately, not everyone in the community is open to newcomers. But I have met so many friends in the creative community and they’re really the reason I haven’t given up yet. 

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I like to tell people I’m just here to capture little moments. I try to have a flow to my sessions rather than just having you stand alongside your family members and smile. I want to catch the moment where your daughter runs and jumps in your arms and the smile on your face shows that genuine love. In the past two years, I have become a wife and a mother, and during COVID you learn what can be taken away in a moment. I want to capture all of those little moments that you want to just cling to. I love all types of photography but I think my favorites are couples and families. There is just something about the pure genuine love that you share with your partner and children. I am most proud of connecting and growing with some clients, I have had 2 maternity sessions turned to newborn sessions because they loved me and my work; that is such a special feeling. I think what sets me apart from others is I want to be your friend, you’re not just a client. I want to learn how you met your partner, I want to hear the stories from your first date, and I want your kids to tell me all of their knock-knock jokes. My goal every session is to make you and whomever is present to feel completely comfortable and leave thinking “that was easy and fun!!” 

What quality or characteristic do you feel is most important to your success?
I think just being me, I have always been a social butterfly and that plays a huge role in being a photographer! I open up immediately, as soon as you inquire to work with me, I get ecstatic and will reach out with my whole heart. I will do my best to learn what your vision is for your session and I will do everything in my power to make your experience flawless. 

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Sarah Vaughan
Courtney Prater

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