This month, I chat with the supremely talented creative photographer and stylist Amy Shamblen.
Her wonderfully bright, uplifting imagery with a touch of the surreal is totally fabulous. If I ever feel stuck in a rut or just need a dose of inspiration, I’ll look at Amy’s colourful Instagram account.
I’ll instantly feel better.
What You Can Learn from Amy
Amy’s sense of colour is spot on. Bright tones with pastel hues that instantly lift the spirit and catch the eye.
Amy isn’t afraid to go left-field and do something different. I love that about her! By using a touch of the surreal, our eyes can’t help but be drawn into her images.
Amy’s typography skills are on-point. Using clever typography in her composition further strengthens the messages she is trying to convey. The typography never looks like an afterthought or ‘cheesy’. She makes it part of the composition in a creative and fun way.
And now, on with the interview…
Amy Shamblen in 9 Questions
1. What’s your name and where are you right now?
My name is Amy Shamblen! Career-wise, I’m about 1.5 years happily into my freelance life. Physical-wise I’m snuggled under a heated blanket in my home studio in Akron, Ohio.
2. Describe your creative style?
My style is bright, colorful, and uplifting with a touch of surreal.
3. How do you tackle a creative brief?
I usually hold a conference with my clients where we chat about their brand and objectives—I like to keep them very involved throughout the whole process. With everything, whether it’s client work or my personal work, I always start with a sketch so I can visualize my composition before I start shooting. The brainstorming process usually takes at least an hour, sometimes more for multiple shots.
4. How do you tackle creative block?
Taking breaks is definitely the best thing that works for me! Sometimes I’ll take a walk in between brainstorming sessions, or take an extra long lunch. Coming back and working later in the night helps, too—I’m usually most creative in the morning or late at night, not usually during the middle of the day when it’s most convenient, haha!
5. What tools do you use?
Photoshop & Illustrator (for any typographic images) are definitely my most used tools. Some prop tools I’ve found useful for styling are transparency sheets or glass for messy objects, bamboo skewers for hot gluing to objects to make them appear like they’re floating, and modeling clay for supporting objects or holding things in place.
6. Art school or school of life?
School of life! There’s so much to learn about life that can even aid us in in our creative endeavors.
7. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?
Don’t worry about the future because it’s unknown. I feel we often make these worst-case scenario situations in our minds that cause lots of anxiety for us—if we can’t predict the future, then why try? Just enjoy the journey. The unknown is exciting; you are capable of adapting a lot more than you think.
8. What’s the best advice you’d like to give to budding artists/designers/content creators, etc?
Don’t worry about what others are doing or what people may think of you. I was so guilty of worrying about what other’s thought about my work, or compared myself to other’s success. It burns you out. Everyone moves at their own pace, and being afraid to put your work out there is crippling. Create the work that makes YOU happy. Creating work should be cathartic… we tend to make it more difficult on ourselves than it should be. Have fun!
9. Imagine this scenario:
You’ve been given the opportunity of a lifetime. You have half an hour to pack and you’re only allowed to take 1 piece of hand luggage. What’s the opportunity and what do you pack? (NB: In your suitcase you have a toothbrush, toothpaste, basic toiletries, phone & phone charger and the capsule wardrobe necessary for your trip.)
I’d probably put a pack of Nag Champa incense in my bag. Smells are closely linked to our memories, more so than our other senses. It’s my favorite incense and has such a warm, comforting smell—it’d be like bringing a little bit of home with me.