FemaleMade: Q+A with Karin Daily, Photographer and Artist

We recently interviewed Karin Dailey, our dear friend / go-to photographer / Pats fan extraordinaire on her photography + painting process.


What do you call work? 

I am a commercial photographer, with some editorial assignments, who does plenty of retouching and paints whenever her bengal cat allows. I work with both models and still life and even mix in a little video work as well. A jack of all trades – master of none.

How would you describe your creative style? 

I studied biology in undergrad and spent my 20’s working for a Biotech company, making DNA in a lab. Every step of every process was documented, carefully planned out and executed. I have that built into the way my creative process flows.. but have learned to let go a little. With a photoshoot, I’ll plan out lighting and angles and have a pretty good idea of what to set up. It then comes down to the product/model and finding the best way to present that to the viewer.

When it comes to painting... I might have a reference or two to get me started – but that process feels a lot freer and the mistakes feel OK. Music, a tv series or a podcast in the background keep me from thinking too hard. I think that’s where I battle internally – overthinking when I paint or shoot. It’s good to let go and fight through until it clicks.

What kinds of brands + individuals hire your services? 

A wide range of folks use me for their shoots. From startups looking to create stand out imagery for their websites and social channels to larger companies putting out campaigns for product launches. Everyone is eager to post and share their products and ideas through
beautiful photography.

What's your first step when you start on a new project?

I try to learn about the client’s product/service, who they are trying to reach, maybe check out similar projects that align with their goal and get an overall sense of a vibe.

Where do you find inspiration? 

Art books, web searches, magazines, museums and I’m reeeeeeaaallly trying to stay away from endless scrolling on Instagram - but….Instagram.

What advice do you give to brands with a lower budget?

Negotiate! There are ways to make it work, but don’t underestimate the power of great creative and branding for your business. It’s worth it in the long run. Try pairing down your idea or doing it in stages. You should be realistic if you have a lower budget - not in the sense of “you get what you pay for”, but understand that the creative’s experience does have a cost associated with it.

Do you have any passion projects? What are they?

I want to plan and execute a long personal project and eventually it into make a book. I want to hibernate in my art space for long span of time and emerge with some crazy body of work that I’m happy with.

What have you found to be the best platforms for showcasing your work? 

Instagram is still the hot spot right. However - I personally haven’t posted in over a year, but I have a love/hate relationship with social media - especially Instagram. I really just want to see the posts from everyone that I follow in chronological order. Also, everyone is a brand and the sponsored posts and advertisements outweigh good old regular-degular posts. It’s a lot to digest on a daily basis and I’m a sucker for those ads. Plus, the pressure to have the perfectly curated feed had me overthinking every caption and image I posted. Overthinking is a running theme here. It’s a wonderful platform. I should use it more. But I’m not a fan.

Any advice for people that want to pursue photography for a living? 

Do it! If you’ve got a “day job” you want to quit. Jump all the way in without looking back. Easier said than done. If that scares you (it scared me), shoot part-time until you’ve got enough clients to get a good start. If you make mistakes along the way - be sure to learn from them. I make a list of “things I could have done better” after each and every shoot. Questions I should have asked ahead of the shoot day, gear that would have helped, lighting hiccups to work on, things that would help the set run more efficiently, etc. Shot a lot and often. And remember that taking the photos is actually a small part of the gig - unless you outsource, you are your own marketing, accounting and human resources department - all of it.

How do you celebrate your successes (big and small)? 

I’m t-r-y-i-n-g to do more with less, meaning less consumption. I got re-energized by reading and then watching Marie Kondo’s Art of Tidying Up this month. So, I usually celebrate by buying something I’ve been eyeing for weeks (months...years). I’ve got to find a new way to celebrate - like letting my brain rest for a day or two (meaning an email or social media break) or giving myself dedicated time in my art space with no distractions.

Find Karin’s work on her website and her Instagram.

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