Wednesday, April 8, 2015

A Chat with Curating Cuteness on Lifestyle Photography, Muses, and Indie Business

I've been watching Katie curate collections for her indie shop and take lifestyle photographs for her blog since I first started blogging years ago. Her warm film and digital photographs inspired me to up my game and invest in my SLR. With an eye for light, design, and composition and an organized way with business, I just had to chat with for tips!

1. Please tell us a little about yourself
My name is Katie and I'm from Taipei, Taiwan. I run a supplies and handmade business called The Heyday Shop and a film photography blog, Curating Cuteness. I'm turning 30 this year but in a lot of ways I still feel the same I did when I was 20. 

2. What is your favorite camera equipment to use?
I own various 35mm film cameras, some metal and some plastic, some automatic and some manual. Generally I will always have an SLR with me (usually my Canon FTb or Pentax K1000) and an Olympus Mju II, a convenient but quality point-and-shoot. Also, my smartphone, currently an Asus Zenfone 2, because in spite of all my love for film I love Instagram!

3. What are your favorite things to shoot?
Pretty food, pretty flowers, pretty blue skies - mostly I go for pretty. :)

4. Your lifestyle photography really inspires me, it was one of my first blog photo muses! What are some favorite places to shoot?
Thank you, I'm incredibly honored! It's easy to go trigger-happy when you're traveling but I think it's more important to be able to see your own city with fresh eyes all the time. When I'm home in Taipei I like to check out new cafes, an outing that is the perfect combination of my love for coffee, interior design, quiet time spent reading and photography. I also try to take walks in the city as much as I can, venturing into the alleyways and record scenes of other peoples' lives. 

5. Where do you get your film developed?
I'm very fortunate to have a photo lab that is less than 5 minutes away on foot, they develop and scan all kinds of film for very reasonable prices.

6. What inspires you as you "curate cuteness" in your photos, online shop and crafts?
This is a difficult question to answer because I think inspiration comes in such a diverse and unlimited form, one can be inspired even when one least expects it. If you could allow me to be completely random: beautiful weather, a gorgeous vintage dress, drawings of plants, sunlight, the beach - these are all examples of things that inspire me to take photographs and make the things I do.

7. Did you have any formal training as an artist?
Oh, I would never call myself an artist, I associate the word with professional work! I believe that everyone needs an outlet to be creative and make things, real things, with their own two hands to feel that you're alive. I grew up never learning how to "make things" so I did not have the good sense to pick a path of formal training for everything that I do now. However, I try to learn as much as I can from whichever sources I can afford and have access to (the Internet is truly a beautiful thing). I would definitely encourage anyone who thinks it's "too late" or "too difficult" to give themselves a chance to be proven wrong.

Post Cards Katie has available for purchase on her website.

8. How do you organize your photos and collections?
Cameras in a dry box or my bag, developed film in folders. Scanned images on CDs, my computer and phone, uploaded as frequently as I can. Always a work-in-progress, this organizing thing! :)

9. What's your favorite creative outlet?
Books, definitely books. Fiction. :)

The fabric Katie curates for her full-time Etsy shop job.

10. What would be your top photography tips for anyone starting out?
If you're curious about something, give it a try. It's the only way you can make up your own mind if you prefer taking photographs of people or flowers, film or digital, or even if you actually like photography at all! 

Katie: Thanks for inviting me to do this, Van, I had so much fun answering these questions. :)

Van: If you guys have any further questions or tips to share, do leave them in the comments. Speaking of biz owners and organizing, I, too, am always working at this and looking for the best solutions. We'd love it if anyone would share their tips in the comments below!

Go through the archives of Katie's blog Curating Cuteness for uplifting, colorful peeks into her world. I love the selection she chose for her postcards too, beautiful.

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  1. Past interview with Katie on running an indie biz right here, forgot to add it:

  2. Beautiful photos. I'd love to know what the food items were in the one photo. Such a beautiful presentation.

    1. One looks like matcha ice cream but I don't know the rest. She has a lot of amazing food photos on her blog, I wanted to share them all.

  3. Love this interview! The perspective is awesome: the quirky and the beautiful!

    As for organization tips...I drag around a to-do list with me everywhere. It not only feels good to tick things off the darn thing, but also actually gets things done!

    1. I make random ones but need to do that, get in the habit of taking it -everywhere- and ticking things off :D


I love reading your comments. Thank you for adding to the discussion! I always reply to any and all questions.

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