Thoughts from Vanguard Professional Kiara Rose
Kiara’s emotion-eliciting photography shares powerful people stories.
The photographer, who splits time between Portland and Australia, went fulltime with her photography business just 18 months ago but she’s already earning success. Kiara was drawn to art as a young girl in Australia. She picked up a camera at age 11 and her love for photography was “prominent” from that point on in her life.
Life outside of the comfort zone
It wasn’t until she decided to jump outside of her comfort zone that she tapped her true talent for photography.
“For me, traveling was a huge risk,” she said. “But that shift out of comfortable familiarity changed my perspective and strengthened my passion. I became a far better photographer. For me, it was never really about seeing new places, rather meeting new people. I wanted to meet people who inspired me. I wanted to capture people’s stories through photography.”
A five-year friendship with American photographer David Talley, whose work was inspirational to her, prompted Kiara’s trip to the U.S. in early 2015. She has since traveled throughout the U.S., Australia, Vietnam and Canada, meeting inspiring people along the way. David and Kiara are now engaged to be married.
Kiara recommends that aspiring photographers define what is most important to them about their art.
“You’ll discover that the only way to meet your goals and grow is to get out of your comfort zone,” she said. “Only then will you discover the depth of your passion and how to turn that passion into a paycheck. It takes strong vision and drive. Get out and about and make things happen. You can’t rely on people finding you. Travel, even if it’s only within your city. We are living in a generation in which people expect work to happen for them, but you literally need to work selflessly, tirelessly and, sometimes, aimlessly toward where you want to be. If you truly believe you can make your business flourish in more than one place, do it.”
In addition to travel, Kiara recommends that aspiring photographers be strategic about their equipment purchases.
“Some people think you have to spend a huge amount of money on equipment,” Kiara said. “I started photography when I was 11, so you can bet I had nothing. I slowly upgraded to the bare essential basics, and to this day, I stick to my basics.”
Kiara’s three photography gear must haves
- The right lens for your photography style.
“Buy only the lenses you really need to fit perfectly with the style and subjects you shoot,” she said. “Don’t let someone talk you into investing in a 24mm lens if you want to be a portrait photographer or a 100+mm lens if you’re most interested in landscape photography.”
- A good camera body.
- A reliable tripod.
“If you want to experiment with self-portraits, long exposures, creative portraiture, etcetera, a solid tripod is a must,” Kiara said.
She also advises taking a PhotoShop or Lightroom course.
“Admit where you need to learn,” she said. “The worst thing you can do is think you know more than you do. I've been doing this for eight years and I am still learning every day!”
Prior to making equipment purchases, Kiara recommends that aspiring photographers study the camera accessory market and read product reviews to identify brands aligned with their vision and that have products with quality that stands out.
“Sometimes the products from well-known, big-advertising-budget brands really fall flat,” she said. “There are $1,000-priced tripods that I wouldn’t trust to hold my camera and lenses. Don't worry about what's trendy. Go for quality, practicality and versatility. Make sure your vision always aligns with the company you are supporting. You’ll represent those brands whenever you use their products.”
Kiara discovered Vanguard products several years ago and made them a staple part of her gear.
“Anyone who has ever tried taking a self-portrait by putting their camera on a tree or a stump knows that tripods are critical,” she said. “I also shoot a lot of video. For that, I rely heavily on sturdy tripods with smooth heads.”
The Vanguard VEO collection, which is designed specifically for travel photography, is Kiara’s current favorite.
“I use the VEO tripod and bag for everything,” she said. “I'm talking weddings, carry-on luggage on planes, you name it. The bag’s padding in the back is great for long days shooting weddings and when I have a lot of heavy gear. It’s comfortable. I also use the bag to carry my laptop to cafés where I edit for hours. The laptop sleeve is subtle so I’m not worried about traveling with my laptop in public. I also take my VEO bag hiking because the clips allow for more sturdiness. The VEO tripod is incredibly valuable and it’s really reasonably priced, too. It's multipurpose, lightweight and strong. I rarely ever experience movement in my camera when I'm videoing on the VEO, even if I'm on unsteady ground. It moves as I need it to. It’s everything I’d want in quality – and it’s fun sized for travel.”
Kiara says her photography goal is to connect to viewers in a highly emotional way. We say she’s accomplished that quite well already. Follow Kiara’s adventures on her blog and via Facebook and Instagram.