Chanel French: #ShootProofPro

Chanel French sustains her thriving portrait business in Atlanta, Georgia, by crafting stunning styled shoots with impeccably-planned details.


ShootProof Talks with Chanel French

Chanel French: #ShootProofPro
A ShootProof Gallery by Chanel French

“Describe your journey to becoming a photographer.” 

I’ve enjoyed taking photos for as long as I can remember.

I remember every camera I’ve ever owned from the time I was gifted my first Fisher-Price film camera. I was always the friend who made sure to have a camera around to capture the memories, and I have drawers full of photos from the past as proof.

– Chanel French

My dream was always to own a professional camera, but in the meantime I worked with what I had, asking friends to pose for me while I shot sessions for fun with my point-and-shoot. After graduating from college and securing my first salaried job, I was finally able to afford my first DSLR. Shortly after that, I became serious about learning photography and how to create better images. Now my focus is on continuing to build my skills, fostering my creativity, and providing quality photography services to others.

Chanel French: #ShootProofPro
Photo by Chanel French

“What’s one challenge you faced while building your business, and how did you overcome it?”

One challenge I faced was having all the different aspects of my business spread out. I would send clients their contract through Google Documents, then have to check back to see if it was completed. I would send their invoice via Paypal, then wait for the notification that it had been paid. And then I was using Pixieset to send my clients their finished images. That’s a lot of moving parts to track for one session.

ShootProof has helped me bring everything to one place that’s super-convenient and easy to keep organized. Streamlining and simplifying the process has saved me so much time.

– Chanel French

Chanel French: #ShootProofPro
Photos by Chanel French

“What’s one trait that helps you succeed and makes you stand out to clients? How have you developed that trait?”

I would probably have to say my attention to detail. When planning a session, I tend to leave no stone unturned. I love being involved in every aspect of the shoot and helping my client make decisions such as what to wear or what location they want to use.

Every decision made affects the outcome of the image, and I really try to emphasize that point to my clients.

I’ve worked to develop and strengthen this trait by setting up styled shoots that involve me planning out every aspect of the session.

– Chanel French

When you do something repeatedly it becomes second nature, and I definitely want that to be true when it comes to my eye for catching the little things that can make a huge difference during a session or in the resulting images.

Chanel French: #ShootProofPro
Photo by Chanel French

“Name ONE ShootProof feature that helps you give your clients an incredible experience and/or saves you tons of time.”

The contracts and invoicing features, for sure.

Chanel French: #ShootProofPro
Photo by Chanel French

“If you weren’t a photographer, what would you do instead?”

Something in the creative realm that involves design in one aspect or another.

I’ve worn many different creative hats throughout my life. I have been a dance choreographer, scrapbooker, jewelry maker, and fashion blogger.

– Chanel French

I’ve come to realize that what these all have in common, as well as one of my favorite parts of being a photographer, is the designing aspect of it. I love bringing all of the pieces of the puzzle together and seeing the finished results of my efforts. So if I weren’t a photographer I’d definitely have to be doing something that still allows for that type of creativity.

Chanel French: #ShootProofPro
Photo by Chanel French

“Outside of photography / other photographers, what inspires and motivates you creatively?”

I’m a big believer that you can find inspiration anywhere, you just have to be open to it and ready to capitalize on the moment when inspiration does hit.

A big source of inspiration for me is poetry. I follow a few poets on Instagram, but two of my current favorites are definitely Nayyirah Waheed and Eniafe Isis. I particularly find their words inspiring in my self portraiture, and you’ll often see me quoting them in my Instagram captions.

I’m also inspired by flowers and I know that sounds super random, but it’s just proof that you can pull inspiration from anywhere to fuel your creativity. Sometimes I’ll see a certain flower and start thinking of different ways I could incorporate it into a session in some way, then I’ll start working to bring my vision to life. Flowers are so versatile in that you can use them in flatlays, portraits, still-life, macro, etc. You’ll also see me use flowers a lot in my self portrait work in a variety of ways.

Chanel French: #ShootProofPro
Photos by Chanel French

“If you could only photograph in one location for the rest of your life, where would that be?”

Sope Creek Nature Trail, for sure.

I love all of the versatility within the one location. There are so many different backdrops along the trail and tons of hidden gems to be discovered. Every time I shoot a session there I end up finding a new way to use the same location.

Chanel French: #ShootProofPro
Photo by Chanel French

“Which photographer would you like to see recognized, and why?”

I’m nominating Samia Minnicks because she’s a photographer who captures people of color beautifully – especially women of color. She displays our queendom, joy, and all-around magic in the most perfect way.

Chanel French: #ShootProofPro
Photos by Chanel French

“What does it mean to you to Focus On What Matters Most™?”

For me, it’s encouragement to focus on MY journey and growth, and to keep my eyes on my own lane. It’s easy to get caught up in comparing your work to other people’s, especially since the introduction of apps like Instagram has literally allowed us to be flooded with the things people halfway around the world are creating on a daily basis. You can begin to feel inadequate, or like you’re not doing enough.

Focus On What Matters Most™ means realizing we all move through life and grow at our own pace, and that it’s most important to water our own garden and celebrate what blooms there.

– Chanel French

Chanel French: #ShootProofPro
Photo by Chanel French

Words and photographs by #ShootProofPro CHANEL FRENCH | INSTAGRAM | FACEBOOK


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