Interview with Summerana Resident Instructor Geniann Elliott

Interview with Summerana Resident Instructor Geniann Elliott

Summerana   |    January 10, 2021
Introducing Geniann Elliott inside the Summerana Membership! We are lucky to have her as a resident instructor at Summerana, and we also got to sit her down for an interview.

“My name is Geniann Elliott, I was raised in the PNW, but have lived in Central North Carolina for close to 15 years now! I’m a wife, Mom to 2 kids that are way cooler than I am (and they’re only 7 & 3), I love roller coasters, mint chocolate chip ice cream, dancing, and I am the biggest closet nerd around: Star Wars, GOT, LOTR, Harry Potter, Marvel, I love them all! Photography grounds me, and gives me an outlet to be creative and at least while I am creating photographs, remember what it’s like to see the world as a magical and beautiful place. If I am not with my own children, I am happiest when I am snuggling and photographing newborns, and shooting fine art child & maternity portraits.

When I first began my photography career 8 years ago, it became extremely obvious that this was not a field where you could “chat at the water cooler”, have friends who understood your work-life struggles, or who cared if you swam or sank, until I stumbled across a few gems and they changed my outlook on what this industry could be. I am one of the most optimistic individuals you may ever meet, and I believe that a little kindness could change the world…I am so grateful to have become a part of the Summerana team! It only takes a few moments to see just how genuinely caring this community is and that they truly want to see you shine!

I am so excited to share my experience and knowledge with you all, along with the other amazing Resident instructors, and watch you all accomplish amazing things!!”

If we asked your family, who are YOU, what would they say?
Geniann is a full on Aries- protective, passionate, and optimistic and believes that kindness could change the world. More than anything she loves being a wife and Mom of 2, soon-to-be 3 kiddos and dreams of adopting!

She also loves, tacos, milkshakes, laughing, roller coasters, and traveling adventures!


What was your first year as a professional photographer like?

My first year as a professional photographer was a beautiful cluster… mess! When I decided that I wanted to pursue photography professionally I was also managing a steak house full time, mothering my infant son, and then clocking out of my 9-5 job to photograph families for an unbelievably low wage and then staying up all night long to edit. I was like so many novice photographers…I had little knowledge of Photoshop and burned myself out over and over again because I thought no one would pay me my worth. By the end of that year I had grown immensely in my craft, although the photography community wasn’t as willing to help one another at that time, I am happy to say 8.5 years later I am still striving to always better myself and communities like Summerana have helped me to gain the skill and confidence I have today!

How would you describe your photography style?
I would describe my photography style as vibrant, lush, clean and fine art.

What are some techniques that members should look forward to learning from your resident instructor tutorials?
We are always told it’s not the equipment, but the artist that is responsible for an image. Admittedly I would LOVE to have a 200mm f2 lens because I love that creamy bokeh and compression, but it hasn’t been in the cards for me yet, so some of my favorite techniques include adding that lush depth of field to images that are unable to get that look SOOC, using minimal props and sets to composite dreamy images, newborn tips/tricks, and adding fun elements to images without breaking the bank.

If you had unlimited funds and you could go anywhere in the world, what would your dream photoshoot look like?
I can only pick one place?! Hmmm, I would have to say Wai-O-Tapu Thermal Wonderland. I could imagine a model in a flowing gown or a couple together in the mist of the geyser lands! Just the look of it is something out of a dream!

What is the most important thing you’ve learned as a photographer?
The most important lesson I’ve learned as a photographer is to give myself grace – whether it be discovering my own artistic style or acquiring my ideal clients. The hardest thing is trying not to compare your journey to that of other photographers! Everyone has a different story to tell and those differences are what makes each of us as artists special. Don’t be too hard on yourself, but fight for what you want!

If you could have dinner with 1 person (dead or alive) that made an impact on the photography industry, who would it be?
The photographers that I most admire and I believe have/are making the biggest impact on the photography industry are those who are happy to be a part of a loving community and are willing to support the growth of others! So I would love to have dinner with photographers who have those same beliefs! That’s one of the reasons I love the Summerana family so much! Not only does the community care about your professional growth, but also our personal well-being!

What inspires you to create?
I think my children have given me the most inspiration! Their imaginations are so vast and I love to see their faces light up when I help their visions come to life!

Favorite Quote
“If your dream only includes you, it’s too small.” -Ava DuVernay

Watch me edit: 

Moon Lullaby – composite editing workshop
Want to watch me edit this image in Photoshop from start to finish? It is available to watch in the Summerana Membership here.

In this editing workshop with Summerana resident instructor Geniann Elliott, you will learn how to create a magical, starry composite using these techniques:

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  • Remove your subject from a studio background and add her to a magical starry night instead
  • Use the lasso tool to select specific elements and combine images together
  • Adjust levels to deepen colors in image
  • Lengthen your subjects dress so it looks like it’s flowing into the clouds
  • Cut perfectly clean edges when compositing
  • Feather edges to create a seamless blend
  • Puppet Warp to morph or skew layer
  • Adjust levels to shift highlights and brighten subject
  • Make it so your subject is sitting on a moon
  • Add moon glow
  • Select multiple layers to adjust them all simultaneously
  • Match levels to blend layers
  • Smooth, brighten, and add warmth to subjects skin, eyes, and dress
  • Add whimsical stars using Summerana star confetti overlays

and more… all through hand editing!

Geniann Elliott
Geniann Elliott Photography

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