An Interview with Tammy Lorch
Tammy Lorch sat down with us on a sunny afternoon to discuss her love of shooting Lancaster County, her preference for candid over posed and described a bit of her editing process. Read on to learn more about Tammy and how she became interested in photography.
Tell me about how you started getting into the Lancaster photography scene, what brought you to it?
That was probably about a year and 9 months ago when I found the Lancaster County Instagrammers on Facebook. I actually didn't find it, my brother suggested it to me!
How did he find out about it?
I'm not sure because he isn't a member, but he knew about it.
Prior to joining the group, what were you doing with photography?
I was just doing my own thing. I had no clue there were so many photographers that did it as a hobby in this area. I was just out there on my own...going to parks and getting up at sunrise to catch a good photo. I would drive around and get good picture of farms and everything that Lancaster County is about - just doing my own thing.
What were you doing with the photos?
Not much of anything!
Did joining Visit Lancaster on facebook change your photography?
Totally! I got really excited because I found all these new people that had the same interest.
The first photowalk I went to was the Strasburg one and I am an introvert so it was very anxiety-inducing going in and showing up in a place with a bunch of strangers. I almost backed out that morning because I was scared! But I really wanted to be with other photographers. I was so excited to meet all these people who were just as excited about photography as I was.
It was just amazing to me!
And that was your first walk? And a successful walk I would say!
I loved it! And I won three prizes on my first walk!
Did that spur more photography out of you?
I would say so, just being around other people to watch them. What are they taking pictures of? There are things that I would never think to take pictures of, like just buildings. I was out there taking pictures of farms and fields with silhouettes and flowers. And they were taking pictures of almost anything really and making it look good!
The last six months or so I feel like I have done little photography. Over the winter there is not much to take pictures of and you aren't outside as much and there aren't really any photo walks scheduled. I feel like I am in a really bad lull right now.
I think the last picture I took was when we went on the balloon ride 3 weeks ago. The change in the weather might help though; just being comfortable.
With the spring, we do come out of our shells more. Do you think without social media you would shoot as much? Or do you need someone to share your work with?
I probably would not shoot as much as I do now. I think I would still be shooting though. I was already into photography even before I joined Facebook. Back then I had a point & shoot and I didn't have a nicer camera but I would still go out and want to take pictures.
How did this all start for you? What inspired you to go out and take pictures?
I don't even remember a turning point but I had a point & shoot and the cards were never good. They would only hold like 30 pictures and I would take a random picture of my kids here and there.
And even uploading them to a computer was a struggle.
Right! I wasn't really into it back then. I don't think there was a single moment.
When did you upgrade your camera?
I think it was 2012 when I got my Nikon DSLR. I was taking what I thought were nice pictures but I wanted to take better pictures! I watched for sales for months that would be suitable for me budget-wise.
Did anyone help guide you when you were using a camera?
Not really. My brother is into photography but not in the same way I am.
He does comic con events. He has invited me to these events many times but I just have no interest in taking pictures of people. My sister-in-law makes jewelry so she usually has a stand at some of these events and she does the whole costuming thing too. They are very into steampunk. He enjoys shooting subjects like that at those events, whereas I like shooting landscapes and nature.
You are more into the Lancaster countryside?
Yes, because that's where I live. I went on vacation last summer to Maine and there were lots of water and boat shots. It’s nice to get somewhere else and do something different!
Are you looking for somewhere else to shoot?
It does get boring after awhile with all the trees and farms, it can get stale.
Do you have any photowalks coming up that you are looking forward to?
I'm going to try to go to the one in Colombia.
Are you thinking about going to the one at the Penitentiary?
I’m not sure about that one
When you are taking your pictures, do you like to look at more beautiful stuff or stuff that is more thought provoking? Or is there any photography you don’t like?
Let's put it this way, I haven’t done a lot of darker things like going into the Penitentiary. I'm not sure it would be something I would enjoy. That is also true with shooting people. The lack of experience might be part of it but it is mostly just interacting with strangers. It's tough for me!
What about more candid street art?
Yeah, I would enjoy that. It's not about the person in the picture, it's the interaction which is the problem for me.
Which do you like better? Taking the photo or editing? And tell us about your editing process.
I like both parts of it, when I had my point & shoot camera (which didn't take great pictures) I would spend a lot of time editing them. I was using Gimp for editing to do adjustments to make it look better.
Sometimes I feel frustrated just because I will have a lot of photos to go through and there is never a single picture where I don't do some sort of edit on. Even if it is something as small as sharpening the image a little bit. 99.9% of the time nothing gets shared without going through my editor.
It is frustrating not being able to take that perfect picture out of the camera. Sometimes I want to just be able to upload that picture immediately! But other times, when I get ready to edit, it's like Christmas morning! I can’t wait to sit down and go through all the images I just took.
I spend a lot of time going through them all and choose which ones are the best and which ones are basically scrap.
Are you editing in Lightroom or Photoshop?
Photoshop right now.
Are you working with your raw files?
Yes. My photography went to a whole other level when I started shooting in raw.
Why do you think that is? Just knowing you can go back and edit?
Yeah, you just have more to work with with the adjustments.
When you get back from a shoot, do you usually think I took too many photos or I didn't take enough?
In the moment it feels like I am not taking enough photos but then when I get home and I have over 300 pictures to sort through it's like, oh my gosh! I will literally spend hours sorting through 300 pictures. Most of the time I think I take too many and I think that is just me being uncertain. I will take a lot of pictures of the same scene.
Are you adjusting settings a lot of the time?
Yeah, if I am out and I am taking picture of something I will take it multiple times with different settings because I am still learning a lot! That's one of my biggest problems is not slowing down.
When a big group of us get together and we are doing a photo walk, I am just so excited and I feel like I’m just snapping and snapping and not stopping and really paying attention to what I am doing. I might get better composed pictures that way too.
You don't think your pictures are composed well?
Some of them are. It's hard because I'm the only one who is seeing all my photos I am taking and I see all the rejects. And how can I top a Hot Air Balloon ride!
Your next best picture is out there!
I hope so!
Do you have any ambitions for your photography in the future?
I'm going to Longwood Gardens tomorrow! That is a great photo opportunity there.
That's for shooting?
I am going with some family members; we try to go every spring and fall. I am going with my mom and my sister, and they have seen me lying on the ground or crawling on the ground trying to get pictures, so they know what to expect!
Is there anything you are excited about seeing when you get there?
I love the tulips, the tulip beds are awesome this time of year. I love the whole thing, I prefer the outside part though compared to the green houses. Everything is just growing in fresh because it is spring!
A picture of my daughter of all things! I told her this spring and summer I want to take her out and use her as a model. She is so beautiful and a natural at it.
And someone you are used to interacting with!
You are right, I'm not uncomfortable around her!