Her Story: Katie Finnerty

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I’m so happy to welcome Katie to the blog today to share her passion for photography. I was lucky to share a few art classes at Geneseo with her and witness her beautiful work. Her initiative to make her dream a reality is incredibly inspiring, so I hope you enjoy this little peek into Katie’s creative spirit!

katieAge: 23
Hometown: Latham, NY
Current City: Rochester, NY
Occupation: Photographer
Website: katiefinnertyphotography.com // Facebook: facebook.com/katiefinnertyphotography

What has the process been like for starting your own business?
It’s been a whirlwind!  I got into this business by assisting at weddings for a photographer in Albany.  As soon as I started, the whole trajectory of my life shifted.  I’d been wondering for years how to incorporate my art into a realistic career path.  Whenever I was asked what I wanted to be, I’d say, “Well being a photographer is my dream job, but it’s not realistic.”  I’m so happy to be proving myself wrong on that statement.  I can’t talk about this process without giving props to the photographer I started assisting, Tom Wall (tomwallphotography.com), for helping me so much along the way.  As soon as I told him that I wanted to be a photographer, he did whatever he could to teach and encourage me.

It’s been a huge learning experience trying to take photography from a hobby to a profession.  I’m confident in my artistic abilities, but I’ve been doing tons of research on the business side of things.  In every aspect, there’s always more to learn and room to improve, so I try to educate myself as much as possible through photography books and magazines, the pros of the industry, and practice!

It actually feels so bizarre trying to promote my business–I feel like I’m waving my arms and saying “Look at me!” but it’s important for me to spread the word and put my work out there, so it’s a part of this career that I’m trying to get used to.

What is your favorite photo you’ve taken and why?
I have a new favorite photo every time I shoot a wedding, so it’s hard to say.  Aside from weddings, I really enjoyed taking photos in Coba, Mexico during a volunteer trip there.  I think visual communication, particularly photography, is one of the most effective ways to reach people.  It’s a powerful way to open people’s eyes to an issue or situation, and really have an impact.

The people of Coba live in extreme poverty, and we were there to try to help them figure out how to break out of it.  At first when we drove through the village, my first instinct was to lock the doors and not get out of the car–it was so unfamiliar to me, so different from anywhere I’d ever been, and I didn’t feel safe.  By the time we left Coba, my opinion couldn’t have been more different.  The people there were kind, funny, and they worked hard every day trying to create a good life for themselves and their families.  Before the trip, I had never even heard of Coba, and I doubt most people have.  I saw photography as a window for the people back home to get a glimpse of what life is like for the people of Coba.  I hoped that I could mimic the impact that the trip had on me with photos so people I showed them to would want to help everyone in Coba as much as I do.

When I got back, using photographs from the trip as the main marketing material, I organized a clothing drive and then a fundraiser for the people of Coba.

I absolutely love shooting weddings and hope to never stop, but I also hope to embark on other projects where I can use my photography skills to make a difference; to show people an issue in the most visually powerful way that I can, and hope that my photographs trigger a response in them to take action.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
I honestly have no idea–and I love that.  All I really think of as a sure thing is that I’ll still be a photographer.  At this point in my life, I feel like anything could happen, but I feel very optimistic about the future–the best is yet to come!

What’s your favorite part of the day?
I don’t really have a favorite part of the day, because I don’t really have a daily routine.  That’s another reason why I love being in this business.  I’ve always had a hard time following the same schedule day after day, dictated by someone else.  As a photographer, I can be my own boss, and work my own hours.  Of course I have to buckle down and get things done, but I can do this when it works for me or when inspiration strikes.  I love what I do, so time spent working usually flies by.  But more generally speaking, I am NOT a morning person.  My energy and creativity tend to peak in the afternoon/evening so that is definitely a better part of the day for me.

What quote means the most to you?
“Life, we learn too late, is in the living, the tissue of every day and hour.”

I came across this line in a book once and it’s never really left my head.  It seems like we’re always planning for our lives, for what will come next, and sometimes we forget that right now is part of our lives and we should take advantage of it.  I try to stop thinking or worrying about what’s going to happen too much in the future and focus on what lies at hand.  This helps me in really any situation.  If I’m feeling overwhelmed by my list of tasks, I just realize that all I can do is use right now to do what I can.  Or sometimes I just think of this quote and it makes me really appreciate wherever I am and whoever I’m with and try to live to the fullest in that moment.

What inspires you?
Ahh let’s see… Lots of things do… Some that come to mind right away are acts of kindness, stories of people overcoming obstacles, my friends and family, light, love, emotion, color, nature, creativity, art, innovation, etc.

What do you love most about yourself?
I love the people I surround myself with most.  I think my friends and family are all just unbelievably amazing people and being surrounded by them makes me a better person.

Check out more of her beautiful photos on Instagram!

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Author: Rachael

Book lover + editor, feminist, California soul + New York state of mind.

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