Black Women Photographers: #BWPTalks with Nikon Ambassador Audrey Woulard

For our second #BWPTalks Twitter Chat, we had the opportunity to chat with Photographer, Educator, and Nikon Ambassador Audrey Woulard.

Check out the Q&A conversation here:

BWP: Tell us about your journey as a photographer. How did you get your start?

AW: I started my journey with photography about 18yrs ago! My hubby bought me a camera after I quit my Corp. job to be a SAHM. I learned taking pics of my own kids! Professionally I’ve been shooting 16yrs.

BWP: Over those 16 years, did you ever question your abilities as a photographer? If so, how did you overcome those feelings?

AW: OMG! Yes! I constantly compared myself to others. When I started to compare my current self to my old self….my mindset shifted.

BWP: Your studio is named Kids and the City | Chicago. What’s the inspiration behind it? What led you to specialize in children’s portraiture?

AW: Ha! I used to be Audrey Woulard Photography. I only had a personal IG page. Then a bunch of teens jumped on and I didn’t like that. One day I was watching Sex And The City and decided to rebrand and use Kids and the city! …then I made a new IG account and the rest was history!

BWP: You’re not only known as a photographer and studio owner but as an educator. What was the motivating factor behind launching AW Teaches?

AW: I love taking pictures. I’m also always trying new things and constantly trying to elevate my game. It changes all the time. AWTeaches allows me to take and teach other photographers along with me on that never-ending journey!

BWP: Your work is very distinct in style. In fact, you call it the KATC technique. How long did it take you to develop your own unique technique?

AW: Honestly my style is constantly growing. I’m always elevating it. One thing that helped me is not following trends and editing by hand. It probably took 5–6 pro years to have a style, but it’s always changing. The KATC style basically means…I’m not emulating anyone. I actively try NOT to do that.

BWP: You were recently named a #NikonAmbassador. Tell us about the moment you received the news. Do you remember what you were doing? How were you feeling?

AW: Oh wow yes! So I’ve worked with #Nikon for almost 2yrs. Earlier that day we wrapped up filming something I was working on with them. They said nothing to me! Later that evening I got the news. I legit cried! Although I’ve spoken on the Nikon stage about 5 times…I still didn’t expect it at ALL!

BWP: Would a younger Audrey have ever imagined that one day she could become a Nikon Ambassador? What would you say to younger Audrey now?

AW: Absolutely not! The #Nikon Ambassador team is made up of such an elite body of photographers that I didn’t think this would be an achievable goal with my younger self or older self!

BWP: Outside of yourself, do you personally know any other Black women camera ambassadors? If not, what do you think can be done to help improve the lack of diversity?

AW: I do! My very good friend @KeshaPhoto ( Kesha Lambert) is a Sony Artisan. Right now there are only two USA black woman camera ambassadors. I hope to see more of us in the coming years.

In terms of helping with diversity is continuing to let brands know we exist and we put out quality work. Continue to tag, tweet and share your work with these brands. What you’ve created here with the directory is HUGE! I didn’t have any of these resources as I was coming up and speaking at industry conventions. I was all alone.

BWP: Besides using social media, what else should photographers do to catch the attention of big brands?

AW: Show you actually care about the brand. Brands like to do business with people they know. Go to the trade shows, and the different events they sponsor. For #nikon users, get to know your NPS rep. Show the brands you care, so that they want to invest in you.

There are usually reps there. Get to know them. It’s all about networking. People do business with people they know and like.

With Nikon it is truly like a family! They took the time to get to know me. It wasn’t like they just liked my work and said…”hey..we want you to be an ambassador”. That took time.

BWP: Over the years, how have you seen this industry change? For the better? For the worse?

AW: I’ve seen it change for the better. Resources that exist now simply wasn’t around back then. Social media allows new photographers to get in front of clients and brands in ways that simply didn’t exist in 2005. It’s easier to get started now.

BWP: What are two of the most important lessons you have learned in your professional career?

AW: — Stay true to your personality. — Always charge what you’re TRULY worth and not what you assume someone with pay you.

BWP: Honestly…with everything we’ve discussed, how do you find time to do it all? Do you have any work / life balance tips?

AW: I learned EARLY on to do things for me always. I schedule days for work. I will even schedule time just to lay on my couch and play games on my phone. Just as one will schedule work, I also schedule life. We must always listen to our bodies.

Taking time for YOU is what most people neglect. The minute you change that mindset things will shift. If you are not fulfilled, it will be hard to fulfill others and your own dreams. It may work for the short term, but never the long term!

BWP: Thank you for joining us, Audrey!

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