Wednesday, October 1, 2014

How To Conduct An Interview

Part of my job for the magazine I work for is to go out and conduct interviews.  With every story it is the starting point and, after my initial phone call to the interviewee, it is probably one of the most important aspects of my job.  It is here that I make a real connection with the people involved, as well as find out their story and take the photos that will go along with the article.
I haven't been taught how to interview but along the way I have learned what is the best way to conduct an interview and make the most of my time with my subjects.
Be yourself
Firstly I find it is best to just be yourself and act naturally.  A big part of this for me is dressing like I normally would.  I don't turn up to interviews all dressed up, in fact quite the opposite.  As most of my interviews involve me having to traipse around a muddy paddock and get up close and personal with farm animals, I always wear my farm boots (which are pretty trashed actually).  I will wear nicer jeans (although not my best), and a casual top, but I will take along my thicker warm fleecy lined jacket that I do wear out on the farm, because I don't know what sort of weather I will be facing and how long I will be outdoors taking photos.  Just make sure you are comfortable and not too overdone, remember, the focus is not on you during an interview!
Mud and all, these boots are worn to most interviews.
Create a good rapport
This is actually pretty easy to do, and half the battle is won because the people you are interviewing are usually pretty excited about having their story told in a magazine, so they are going to be pleased to see you and keen to talk to you.  I know I have found this to be the case at every job so far.  Acting naturally and being your usual friendly self wins people over every time.  You will find that it will actually work in your favour!  I've come away from interviews being given bags of mushrooms, eggs and free coffees, all because people have had this brief connection with me, as well as wanting to share the products they are producing.  As well as this I have also met some lovely people who are doing amazing things with their lives and at each and every interview I learn something new!
Before you leave for your interview make sure you have all the right equipment that you will need.  For me this means camera, tripod, spare batteries, spare memory card, notebook, pens, Dictaphone and spare batteries, iPad (to look up where I am going in case I get lost!) and, importantly, the address of where I am going.
Now photography is, of course, a whole stack of individual post topics within itself, but when I go out on an interview these are things I keep in mind:
*  Make sure your battery is fully charged
*  Make sure you take a spare battery
*  Know roughly before hand what sort of shots you want to save time
*  Do a bit of research on where you are going, who the people are and what the subject is
*  Be aware of the lighting and what settings you need to use for your camera
*  Think outside the square; take photos from interesting angles, different perspectives etc
*  Take close-up shots (they make good filler photos when accompanying an article)
*  Take portrait shots of the people you are interviewing.  Be aware of the background.
*  Take more photos than you will need! (it gives you lots to choose from)
Conducting the interview
When I hold the interview I always use a Dictaphone to record what is being said, simply because I would never be able to write down everything during what is usually a 25 minute interview.  I do take a notebook and pen and make notes as well, which includes writing down things like names and places.  I do this mainly so I make sure I get the spelling correct, which is vital because your interviewee would not be happy if they read your article only to discover you had misspelt the name of their property, their partners name or the names of their dogs. 
Let it happen organically
By saying this I mean to just let the interview go where it wants to.  I always start by asking how people started with their business/farming operation/hobby etc.  It is a great starting point and opens up the flood gates of conversation.  From there I find that the interviewee will just start talking and things will naturally lead from one point to another.  Since they are always passionate about what they do, and pleased to be interviewed for the magazine, I find they will always take me on a journey with their story and share all of the information I need to know.  I also keep my ear out for things that they say that will make good quotes.  I always like to put a direct quote or two within my articles because it personalises them, and the reader will then hopefully get to feel like they have got to know the subject better.  Sometimes a sentence or two will jump out at me during the interview and other times I will find it once I get home and listen to the tape, but I always keep it in the back of my mind.
Be polite
This is an obvious point really, but it is important to keep in mind that whoever you are interviewing has invited you into their home or onto their property and you are taking up precious moments of their time (in my case it always takes about two hours all up to conduct the interview and do the photos).  So...manners go a long way, remember to thank them afterwards and if they gift you with some of their produce/products or even just serve you tea and scones (trust me it happens!), make sure you thank them for these too!
Have you ever been interviewed or had to conduct an interview?


Tuesday, September 30, 2014

September Favourites

For the last day of September, (now where did that time go??!) I have done a video to show you a few of my favourite things for this month.

So....I hope you enjoy!
Looking forward to seeing what October brings!!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Montana West Handbag

I've been loving my new handbag.  But then who doesn't love a new handbag?!  I haven't had a new one in a while, although I'm not counting the gi-normous nappy bag I got for my birthday at the start of last year....which just isn't the same...something that is going to hold mountains of wipes and nappies and bottles and random toys is hardly glamorous.
This bag is very glamorous. 
I had no intention of buying it actually, and I wasn't sure about the whole fringe thing, but then it really grew on me.  I had wandered into my favourite country clothing store, Gippsland Country Outfitters, and there was this gorgeous bag plus another one that was way more 'blingy'.   Wandering around the store, admiring all the shirts and trying on a few gorgeous Wrangler jeans, I still kept being drawn back to these bags. 
I'm sorry...but I just couldn't help myself!  I ummed and ahhed between the two but decided that the 'bling' was just too much 'bling' for me (since I'm not very 'blingy' at all), and even though it was beautiful, I went the safer option and chose this one.  My logic was that I might end up being too scared to use the one with the 'bling' and it would live it's days out 'blinging' away quietly to itself in my wardrobe.  Can I say 'bling' one more time??  .....'bling'.
So, giving my new bag, and my new camera a run, I went out and took some shots....(and learned how to use the timer on my camera).
Why am I always so serious in selfies??
I think probably because I feel a little ridiculous taking photos of myself....
These are a pair of favourite jeans by Ariat by the way.  I love the red, cream and yellow stitching detail on the back pockets.  My shirt is one I've had for years and is by Wrangler.  I'm wearing it open over a white singlet I picked up for $3 from Kmart.  My cowboy boots are Ariats.  I love my boots and wear them almost every day. 
I think here I was checking that the kids hadn't run away.
I really like the silver details on the bag.  On the reverse it also has a handy zip pocket, plus it has a smaller pocket to fit your mobile phone.  This doesn't have a zip, but you want quick access to your phone anyway.  I know I do because I'm clumsy and have trouble answering a touch screen.  I'm such a doofus. 

You can visit Montana West here and drool over their range of gorgeous bags, wallets, accessories, home d├ęcor and apparel.  What a pity (for my husband) that I discovered this website......
Any hoo...  here is a close up of my makeup if you are interested..
Oooo...I look so grumpy!  I think I might have had to yell at the kids just before I took this one.  They were throwing their toys out the car window.  My eye shadow is from my lovely Too Faced Chocolate Bar palette that I have already mentioned in a previous post and my lipstick is by Cowgirl Dirt and is the colour 'Tea Rose'.

I took these photos just south of my town.  We took a drive around a few back roads to find a nice secluded quiet spot.  On the way home I took this shot.
This is the view North and the hazy mountains in the background are the Baw Baw's.  The town nestled in the groove there is where I live!  Pretty sweet hey?!

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Welcome to Vlogging!

Ok!  So I never thought that I would try my hand at videos, but since attracting some positive attention (due to my Australian accent!!) because of a small video I did to announce my Moo Goo Giveaway, and since I also just got a snappy new camera this week that is a video recorder as well as a camera (who would have thunk it!), I have decided to give it a bit of a whirl.

This video is simply a Welcome Video to explain what I plan to do so I hope you enjoy it and please forgive my 'green-ness'....I'm new at this!
For my next video I plan on taking you out and about with me to show you some beautiful country scenery and introduce you to some of the lovely animals in my life!

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Makeup Before & After

The other day I got to play guinea pig!  I have a friend who has been doing makeup for many years but has only fairly recently taken it to a whole other level, after doing a professional makeup course, and is now really launching her business.  So as a result she is setting up her new website and wanting Before and After shots to showcase her work.  You can see more of her work here at Caz Buckley Makeup Artist.
So here's where I came in.
I don't make a very good model really, because I'm a bit of an introvert and certainly prefer to be behind the camera instead of in front of it, but nonetheless, it was kind of fun to see the end result.
I took a shot before.  This is me not long out of bed, no makeup, nothing...
Phwoar!!  Why does my nose look so enormous!?!  It's actually not...but anyway.
So not long after Caz turned up with bags and boxes and suitcases on wheels and a whole great stack of makeup artist paraphernalia.  Wow.  There's no travelling light when you are a makeup artist!  This was just some of her makeup apparently. 
A lot different from my job!  I leave the house with my camera, tripod, Dictaphone, notebook and a pen.
Anyway, after almost three hours (I think it was), and while my children tore my house apart (because I was rendered helpless while I sat in the chair), I was turned from my normal plain puffy looking self into this....
I scrub up ok?  I thought so!  Although it is way more makeup than I would ever wear I did like how it accentuated my eyes and I loved what she did to my hair.
There were so many pins in my hair I could have tuned in to satellite TV!  I really liked it and later went out to town to buy my new camera and washing machine looking this glam.  I did, however, remove the makeup first because I looked more like I was set to go out to a nightclub so I did feel a little overdone for Warragul.
Here's a few more shots.
And the eyes...
I thought it looked amazing!  Caz did a brilliant job.  A very different me!!
What do you think?


Friday, September 26, 2014

Weekly Retail Therapy

It is not very often that I indulge in a bit of retail therapy.  For some reason, this week, I have almost over indulged.  It's been heavenly!
There were a couple of long overdue MAJOR purchases that just had to be made.  The first of these is pretty boring really, but totally necessary.  I had to buy a new washing machine because my current washing machine damaged itself whilst trying to escape.  No really.  I came home one day to find my washing machine in the middle of the laundry room.  This is not where it started out when I left, leaving it doing a load for me while I was out.  Somehow it had managed to shuffle itself out from it's little niche next to the bench, it then turned a corner, and it walked itself literally half way across the room.  The only thing that stopped it from escaping (I am assuming it was trying to run away to join the circus), was the fact that it was plugged in at the wall.  One little minor detail and it's freedom was foiled.
Anyway, it is being delivered on Wednesday and I am very excited because I am sick of having to mop up the giant puddle of water after I do a load.
The other major MAJOR purchase which I am highly excited about is my new camera!! 
Now I have had my old DSLR for almost 10 years and it has served me well.  But it is getting a little dated, and if the truth be told, it's actually a little broken...
So I have updated and gone with this....
.....the Canon 70D.  (Clap hands with glee and jump up and down.)
I am sooooo excited about this because not only is it a whizz bang camera but it is also a VIDEO CAMERA!!  I'm freaking out!  And it has a huge LCD screen (my old one was teeny tiny, not LCD, and when I viewed my images I could hardly see them because a) they were so little and b) I'm long sighted and getting older and my eyes are no longer what they were.)  This LCD screen is also a TOUCH SCREEN!!!  Sorry for screaming but I'm a wee bit excited!!  Anyway, I finally got it after lusting after it for about 6 months after I decided that since I work as a photographer for a magazine I had better get me a better camera.
Ok, enough of the camera. 
This week I also ventured out (with the kids, which is brave) to Traralgon, which is a town a bit further East from where I live.  I have never 'done the shops' here.  I don't know why because there is an awful lot of shops and they are really quite good.  These were my purchases...
This T-shirt was from Jeans West, which is a fairly low priced kind of store, but I liked this happy floral print.  I'm not big on the geometric designs that are around at the moment.  In fact I hate them, but I am pleased to see that pretty floral bits are drifting in so I thought I would make the most of it.
My other purchase was a little more pricey...
These boots were $219 but as they were Winter stock I got them at half price!!  I plan on wearing these with skirts, and maybe dresses if I'm brave enough to put one on this Spring/Summer.
Earlier this week I also bought another pair of shoes....
Everybody collectively go "Awwww....."  Cute hey?!  These are my daughter's very first pair of shoes.  Just last week she has started walking everywhere properly, and even though she is pretty unsteady still, I decided that a pair of shoes is a good idea since we do go out to the farm a lot and now I can put her down outside.  She was so funny the first time we put them on her.  I really wished I had filmed it.  I guess now, with my new camera, I can!!  (sorry...I wasn't going to mention my new obsession again now was I.)
The final thing I got this week was actually another large purchase, although this was something I have had on layby for eons, so it was great to finally pick it up.'s a blender.  But not just any blender....a KitchenAid blender!  A bit boring I know but it is sort of exciting.  I mean now I can make milkshakes and cocktails (just in case by some strange chance we ever happen to have a party), and come Winter I can do soups!  It has quite a few different functions, which I am still yet to try out, but I if I do happen to have that cocktail night I will share some of my creations. But in the meantime it will sit in my laundry (the only place there is room for it) and most likely gather a bit of dust (like all electrical appliances do!).
What exciting purchase did you make this week?


Thursday, September 25, 2014

Giveaway Winner!

Ok, so here is my very first video I have ever forgive how daggy I am, but I have drawn the winner for my Moo Goo Giveaway!

Thank you to all who entered and to all my lovely followers for reading!  I shall do another giveaway of some sort at some stage so stay tuned!