Grand Rapids, Michigan
Too many to count. Anything film!
Steak, broccoli, and mashed potatoes.
United States (mainly because I haven’t traveled anywhere else, but I’d love to visit Ireland, Spain, and Greece one day!)
Airbnb, anywhere in the world.
The Fuck-Up by Arthur Nersesian.
Paige Gabert is a self-taught film photographer, antique enthusiast, and mother to a sweet and sour five-year-old girl. With an eye for detail, Paige grew up using her grandfather’s film cameras that were gifted to her, photographing anything and everything that caught her attention.
Based out of Grand Rapids, Michigan, Paige Gabert works from home while making the occasional trip out of city or state to photograph clients and personal work. She spends her time exploring new destinations (and familiar) with camera(s) in hand, making both her daughter and boyfriend crazy with random stops make during road trips.
I hold a special place in my heart for photography; “Sharpness is never my priority, emotion is.” – Sue Bryce. To me, photographs are not only made great by the technical composition and techniques used but the way we feel when we look at them.
Photography became my strength and something I’ve truly loved. It has not only given me the opportunity to travel but to meet so many incredible people. I am also blessed with hundreds of photographs of my daughter, Meredith, who – surprisingly, has not shied away from the camera just yet.
Fun fact: When I first started learning how to use film, I was afraid to load the camera so my mom would do it for me.
How did you first become interested in photography?
My grandfather gifted me a few of his film cameras when I was a teenager. I photographed friends and family, and from there just started learning about photography on my own.
What words best describe your style of photography?
I believe my style of photography to be, well, whatever I want it to be at that moment. Which doesn’t really narrow it down, but each photograph, session, and wedding is different for me. While a big part of the way that I photograph is uncontrived, I still love shots that are more thought out and posed (especially when photographing editorial work).
Is there a theme or concept that runs throughout all of your work?
Colour is probably a big one. Meaning I love contrast, bright colours, patterns, textures, etc. I love photographing with black and white film too, which also means a lot of contrast and maybe some grain. But pushing the limits with colour film stocks is a favourite of mine!
What is your post-production workflow like?
To be honest, I don’t have to do a lot of post-production work! Thankfully I have a fantastic lab that takes good care of my film (shout out to The Find Lab in Orem, Utah!) and once I get scans back, the most I will do is tweak the contract and exposure in Adobe Lightroom.
What is your dream project?
Definitely working in fashion photography. I’d love to have a creative contract during a shoot and to work in some unique/weird shots with posing or colour/pattern combinations.
How do you build trust between you and your clients?
Keeping in contact with them! It’s huge for me to get to know my clients as best as I can. It not only makes them more comfortable in front of the camera, but builds a relationship and hopefully keeps them coming back to me! A lot of my clients now-a-days are families I’ve photographed several years in a row, which I love.
Does your ‘way of shooting’ differ depending on what you are working on?
It can. I feel I am pretty consistent when it comes to photographing weddings and families, but when I am photographing my own personal work, I try to mix things up a bit when I can by trying different film stocks, working with double exposures, etc.
What is your approach posing or directing your subject?
Typically when a client books a family session or wedding with me, I send them a sort of ‘prep guide’ that goes over what to expect when we get together. The easiest way I’ve found for people to feel comfortable is to communicate with them beforehand what is needed; which in most cases is for them to just not worry about every little thing that is going on, especially when kids are involved. I work in things for them to do or games to play that make them feel more relaxed and free to enjoy their time together.
Do you have a go-to lighting setup?
I mainly use natural light in all of my work!
What was the best career advice you were ever given?
The best advice I’ve been given is to take a step back from my work when I’m feeling overwhelmed. There have been times when I’ve just exhausted myself mentally and physically and needed to walk away for a day or two. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does it can really bring you down.