Sherise Fleming is in love with photography, and this passion is evident in her stunning images – capturing the love between family, friends, partners and pets. But loving your subject is nothing without a love for the process of what you do – Sherise is in love with the no-day-is-ever-the-same reality of being your own boss, and the ultimate challenge of being creative for a living. This very humble and talented entrepreneur divides her time between Gippsland and Melbourne, photographing all the best bits of lives well lived.
Business: Sherise Fleming | Photographer
Location: Gippsland and Melbourne, Victoria
What you do?
I am a photographer. I started my photography career working in the commercial sector , but now focus my creative energy on capturing beautiful families and documenting weddings. I am based in Melbourne but travel all over for work, and especially love getting back to my home town in Gippsland, so I market myself in this area too.
What is the best thing about your job? And the worst?
There is so much I love about my job. I love how photography is constantly challenging me. There’s always something new to learn. I love how photography has evolved to be so much more than a private memory. The world is smaller but I don’t think thats such a bad thing. I love photographing people in love, whether it be with their partner or their family.
I love meeting new people. I love how my job takes me places I have never been before.
The worst part about my job is – justifying my prices. Yes, photography may seem an expensive up front cost, but the average wedding takes 40 plus hours to complete (once you add in the meetings, the travel, shooting the wedding, the editing, the uploading and the invoicing), not to mention the cost of my camera gear (including lenses, bags, flashes, cards, batteries), my computer, software, insurance etc. the fees aren’t actually that much. There are a lot of amateur photographers out there that will take on the responsibility of shooting a wedding for a fraction of the professional fee, but they also have a fraction of the overheads and experience.
I do get it, you have to start somewhere but I can’t compete with their prices nor do I want to.
Is this what you planned to do ‘when you grew up’?
I kind of fell into my industry by following some great advice from my high school careers advisor. She told me to focus on the subjects that I enjoyed and assured me that a job would eventually find me. I managed to maintain a good balance between my two very different passions, business and art.
I moved from my home town in Gippsland to study Arts/Commerce at Deakin University in Melbourne. I majored in photography, media and communication, and marketing.
I really loved my photography, but didn’t think I could pursue a career in something that was more of a hobby.
While at uni I did an internship at commercial photography firm, it was here that my job found me. At the completion of that internship the company offered me a casual position while I finished uni, and once I had finished uni I went full time. In just over two years I had fallen in love with weddings and family shoots and so decided to go out on my own.
What are you most proud of professionally?
Being published in a magazine or featured on blog is something Im always chuffed by. I have been lucky enough to have been featured in the magazine Complete Wedding Melbourne and published on the Style Me Pretty and Polka Dot Bride wedding blogs.
I don’t advertise for work. Almost all of my jobs come from referrals, which is a great feeling. I’m up for anything and have found myself working on jobs I never dreamed of doing. I have shot a bit for Coles and have worked with their ambassadors Curtis Stone and Cathy Freeman. I also do a bit of real estate/architectural photography on the side and was lucky enough to shoot Trixie and Johnnos apartment from the TV series The Block: Sky High.
Where do you find inspiration?
When I first started shooting weddings and families my inspiration came from other photographers I admired. Now days I try and come up with my own ideas. Personal projects are definitely a big help in keeping inspired.
I find I start off with one idea only to have it evolve into something completely different down the track.
My clients help too. Often they have a vision which I can expand on. Its fun when this happens and seems more personal to my clients.
Tea or coffee: Tea – especially loose leaf earl grey
Savvy, Sass or Study?: Sass definitely. Confidence is an amazing tool, it gives you the drive to live your dreams.
Want – learning or opportunity?; Opportunities – I learn from experience anyway so the more opportunities, the more I will learn!
Need – apprentice or expert?: Expert – there are a lot of apprentices in my industry however the few experts that exist are not always willing to share their knowledge. If I could have one on call it would definitely make my life a little easier 🙂
Superpower: The power of speed. If I could work faster I would be able to get more done in my day. There are just never enough hours!
Friends of Sherise Fleming | Photographer
Katie from Pollen and Patina is a good friend of mine who I’ve had the pleasure working with a few times. She is an amazing florist based in Sale who went into business at a similar time to me. As well as being a talented creative she is also a very good listener and has been a great support to someone like me who works on their own a lot. Katie has also recently been interviewed by Small Talk & Co. check it out here!
Kirsty from Flowers by Dolly is another florist who I have meet through the wedding circle. She is super sweet and very gifted in what she does.
Jessica Woods is a hair and makeup artist that I met just last month. After working with her first hand I have realised that makeup artists are a god send and we should all have one stored away in our bathrooms like the Kardashians! No seriously she knows her stuff and I hope I get to work with her again.
How can I contact you? (how can readers contact you?)
Website – www.sherisefleming.com
Email – firstname.lastname@example.org
***This is the third (and last – for now!) in a series of Small Talk & Co. interviews focused on creative Gippsland natives – if you’re reading this from any part of rural Victoria and have a friend/relative/coworker with a entrepreneurial spirit and a smashing small business – please get in touch in the comments below or via facebook!