Q & A with Rena Durham

_L5K8152RENA DURHAM (SERIES LEAD) Confident, determined, authentic, warm-hearted with great comedic timing. A Wife and Mother; she married her Prince Charming and absolutely adores her son. She believes that you can still be a Christian and read Harry Potter (she secretly dreams what it would be like to be Gryffindor Quidditch Captain). Down to earth, Most days she can be found in a t-shirt, jeans and her sneakers with a Non-Fat Chai Tea Latte (luckily she owns stock in Starbucks, as often as she is there). She loves working as a photographer, specifically with kids and teens (and has built a solid reputation in the entertainment industry as one of the most prolific teen celebrity photographers.) She loves working with kids of all ages and is loaded with many talents, which span beyond the world of photography. A member of the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), Rena has lent her voice to a multitude of video games, commercials and more, played supporting roles in films and once had a recording contract as the lead singer in an all girl-singing group. She believes that within every child there is pure beauty and enormous potential and that the best sound in the world is a child’s laugh.renadurhamTamrac:  You are well known for shooting teen celebrities.  How did you get involved in this niche genre?
Rena: I started out in 1999, photographing concerts and red carpet events. I found that I really enjoyed working with the teen talent and it led to me working for various teen entertainment magazines (Tiger Beat, Bop. Popstar, etc.) doing behind the scenes photography on Disney and Nickelodeon TV shows like ‘Suite Life of Zack and Cody’, ‘That’s So Raven’, etc.

In 2002, I decided that I no longer wanted to cover events and started doing more exclusive one on one shoots with celebrity talent. The relationships that I had built with publicists, agents and talent  made the transition a fairly easy one. Since then, I have photographed some of the top names in the industry including Justin Bieber, Selena Gomez, Miley Cyrus and Zac Efron. It’s a ton of fun and has to be one of the best jobs in the world.

050610034Tamrac: What is the one piece of camera equipment you always take with you?
Rena: Well, there are quite a few pieces of equipment that I don’t leave the house without. My Canon 1Ds Mark II and my favorite go to lenses (the 70-200mm 2.8 ISL and the 24-70 2.8).

La Petite Fashion Shoot - Summer 2011TamracDo you have any secrets for getting babies to cooperate for your photo shoots?
RenaBabies are extremely unpredictable. You can’t negotiate with babies and you can’t expect them to follow direction (as you would an older child or adult). You just hope that they are in a great mood, happy and love to have their photo taken. Everyone has a bad day and babies are no different. You just have to be patient, get down on their level and be ready to PLAY and WORK hard for that shot! A little secret that gets their attention (and usually makes them laugh) 95% of the time is the ‘fake sneeze’. Ah…Ah…Ahhhh…CHOO! (as silly as possible).
_MG_0808TamracHow do you get your ideas for your creative kids’ photo shoots?  Do you talk to the kids to get a feel for what would work with their personalities? Or do you have the shoot in mind beforehand?
Rena For my concept shoots, I always have the idea in mind beforehand. I can get inspired by just about anything…music, books, poetry, art, a location, piece of clothing, a particular model… I love looking at fashion magazines for inspiration. I will get the concept for the photo shoot first, and then base everything else off of that, from the models that I cast to the clothing for the shoot, location, props, etc.

_L5K4234TamracYou do a lot of lectures and workshops.  What topics do you like to cover in these lectures?
RenaI have done workshops on creating concept driven editorial photo shoots with kids to workshops on the ins and outs of photographing celebrities to classes on lighting and running a photo business. 

Elemental Photo ShootPhotography by Rena DurhamTamracWhat was your favorite image you took in the last year?
RenaWow, that is a tough one. I would say my favorite shoot last year was my ‘Summer Crush’ shoot. I also filmed a short film for it (I LOVE shooting video). You can view the film here: http://vimeo.com/67691709

_L5K0355TamracWhat Tamrac gear do you use?
RenaI love and use the rolling cases the most. I have the Big Wheels Rolling Strongbox, which I take everywhere and have used for many years, and for my lighting gear, I have a couple different rolling studios (a medium and large).
Fore1Tamrac:  What do you love about your Tamrac bags?
RenaTamrac bags are very durable and extremely well made. I love that I can fit all my gear in them and feel confident that it’s well protected. They are really easy to manage and transport for both local sessions and when traveling nationwide.

Olivia Holt Portrait Session

tamrac bag

Rena’s Tamrac Rolling StrongBox

 

For more information on Rena and her work, please visit her links: www.renadurham.com
www.renadurhamblog.com
FB:  www.facebook.com/rendphoto
Twitter: www.twitter.com/renadurham
Instagram: www.instagram.com/renadurham