Artist Spotlight: Emma Estes

Phoebe Martin, Editor

Q: When did you start getting interested in photography?  

I got my first camera, a Nikon Coolpix, in 2015 and I brought it around with me and took any photos that I found interesting. I mainly shot my friends and family because that was what was around me at the time. It was very casual back then. Throughout the years after that, I would do photoshoots with my sister, but again, nothing serious. A few years later, I started researching and watching a lot of videos on editorial portraiture and that’s when I became more invested. I got a new camera for Christmas in 2017, that suited my interest better, and that is where my passion really began. I remember going to New Mexico that Christmas break, to visit my uncle and cousins. My uncle, was actually the person who recommended my current camera body because he is a casual photographer as well. I had my sister pose around the streets of Los Alamos, while I fired away with my new camera. I loved looking through these photos, throwing them onto the computer, and editing them to what I thought was perfection at the time. Looking back on those now, I cringe at my own style. 


Q:  What can you recommend to those who are thinking about getting into photography? Any advice?

For anyone getting into photography, I’m sure they’ve heard it before, but just go out and shoot. I think something that a lot of young photographers neglect is the power of the camera in their own pockets. If they see something interesting… just shoot it. It doesn’t matter if you don’t have a big fancy camera on hand, just take pictures. And if you are unhappy with the quality or how they turned out, keep those photos and use them for inspiration later on in your career. Another tip is to constantly look at photos. We are so lucky to be able to, again, use our phones, and find artists with the click of a button. I am always on instagram looking at different pictures, different styles of work, and taking inspiration from them. Artists work off of each other, so don’t be afraid of trying out someone’s style of shooting, but definitely no copying! And finally, find what interests you and roll with it. There are so many different types of photographs; narrow into one and begin there!


Q: What camera(s) do you currently use?

For digital work I use my Nikon D5600 body. If I am doing editorial portraiture I use a 18-55 mm lens. If I am doing street photography I use a 70-300 mm lens. 

For film, I am currently using a Pentax PZ-20, with a 28-200 mm lens, but I am trying to find a new purely film camera. 


Q: What’s your favorite thing to take photos of?

I take photos of people. I have always been interested in people and how everyone looks completely different: in style, in face structure, in hair colour, etc. I am mostly interested in editorial portraiture, which is what you see on the cover of a magazine. I like dressing, doing the makeup, and finalizing the photoshoot. I think I have a lot of creative freedom with this type of work and it allows me to do more than just take a photo. I can play with colour and different lighting scenarios if we’re in a studio. I am also able to do the makeup and styling of the shoot, which I have a lot of fun with. Currently, I’m working on a project where I am combining editorial portraiture with environmental awareness. For one of the photos, with my model, Claire Rich, I was able to paint her face and use SFX makeup to make it look like her face is peeling off. I will save the rest of the details of this photo, for when the project is finalized. 


Q: Tell us about your Instagram! What is the meaning behind your username @mademiinniie?  What is the significance of every caption being a date?

When I was younger I used to have a photography account called Zzscip… don’t ask me why because I have absolutely no idea where that username came from. I posted maybe one or two photos, before completely abandoning the idea. Recently, I got back on the bandwagon however, and created a new account called Mademiinniie. I really just wanted a place to store all of my photos and possibly reach out to other photographers. Instagram is a great platform to get your work out there! My username might not be recognizable to anyone but the people in my family. They all call me Minnie. I came up with the idea by using my family nickname to say Made by Minnie! 

I think it’s nice to create a time capsule for my work. By dating each piece I am able to recall when I took them. It is also nice to see my progress as a photographer from later dates to now. I can see how my style has changed and what techniques I have learned, by date.