For this week's interview we're heading out to Tulsa, Oklahoma, the home of tornadoes and Ree Barnes Photography!
SeniorInspire There was a time when I thought Cheree Barnes and Ree Barnes were two different people. LOL. Do your friends call you Cheree or Ree?
Cheree Barnes Most of my close friends call me Ree! Cheree is hard to properly pronounce for a lot of my fellow Okies!
SI Ok Ree, when did you start your photography business?
CB I started photography in 2011, after my daughter was born. Like a lot of other photographers, I started shooting my kids but soon realized I liked seniors most of all. It doesn't feel like work!
SI If you could go back in time to when you were starting your photo business, what's one major purchase you would tell yourself NOT to make?
CB I am very choosy with what I purchase, so I always do a lot of homework before I buy. I would suggest to always buy new equipment once you have really learned the ins & outs of photography. If you're just starting out, buy used and practice, practice, practice!
SI What's something you hesitated to buy when you were starting your business that you wish you purchased earlier?
CB I hesitated to buy the fastest, most expensive Mac desktop. I opted for something less than what I needed. When it comes to a computer, get the absolute best!
SI I was snooping around your FB page a bit. What is Amber and Marie Co?
CB Amber Marie & Co is a locally owned boutique that I work for two days a week. I go in and shoot models/product/etc and then run her social media/marketing. It's been great, easy money and has brought in new clients for me. Partnering up with a boutique is amazing if you can!
SI I live 700 miles from Tulsa and even I can think of at least a few great photographers in your area (including you). How competitive is the photography market in Tulsa?
CB Just like a lot of other places, there are a lot of "shoot&burn" photographers charging $100. I'm not one of those. I did my time years and years ago. There are for sure some big names here and I like to think I'm one of those. I don't get a TON of seniors and I like it that way. I'd rather be more "exclusive" than the next photographer. I give my clients an experience, not just a photo shoot. My clients are my target clients and that's how I like it. I make more and work less than I ever have.
SI You can ban one of these songs from the airwaves forever - Baby Shark or Who Let the Dogs Out. Which one gets the axe?
CB Baby Shark for sure!!
SI If reincarnation were real and you came back as an animal, what animal would you want to come back as?
CB An eagle that lives in the mountains!
SI Are there any artists you follow on Instagram for inspiration?
CB My favorite artists I love to follow on Instagram are Hope Toliver (she is local to Tulsa and creates incredible images) Season Dixon, Pretty Witty, Jon Snip, and LKW just to name a few! I enjoy scrolling through IG at night before I go to sleep looking for my next favorite photographer to follow! That's one thing I love about IG! All the endless talent!
SI That's all I've got! Thanks for sitting down with us today! It was great to get to know you a little better!