Photographer Spotlight: Colette Robinson

Posted by: on Apr 5, 2019

Bio: Colette Robinson creates photographs, stop motion animations, cinemagraphs & videos for brands and travel destinations. She is currently one of five recipients of the Sony Alpha Female Creator grant. Follow her online at coletterobinson.com and on Instagram at @coletterobinson.

I would describe my style of photography as… 

Whether I’m shooting stop motion animation in studio or traveling out and about, my style is often happy, colorful and clever!

What was your first camera, and how’d you get started in photography?

I started with a Canon Rebel T3i, which I got before studying abroad in Argentina during college. A couple of years later I rarely used it, so I listed it for sale on Craigslist. An interested buyer was supposed to come to pick it up but she completely ditched out and never showed up or responded to any of my messages! One week later, my sister got engaged and asked if I would do their engagement photo shoot because I had a “nice camera”. I said yes, but was so nervous that I signed up for a private lesson. That lesson ended up continuing weekly for 2 years. Thank goodness for that unreliable craigslist buyer! Over the past 5 years, I’ve upgraded to the Canon 7D, then the Canon 5D Mark III, and now completely jumped ship to Sony and currently shoot with the Sony a7R III.

Why did you want to become a photographer?

I never planned to become a photographer full time. The day I knew I better pursue it was after all my camera gear got stolen out of my car one day. First, I decided to never take a photo EVER again! But after about a month of feeling down, I realized how much I missed it and how meaningful it was as a creative outlet for me. It was my calling because I couldn’t seem to function without it.

What’s your most memorable shot or shoot, be it challenging to capture or interesting subject?

Years ago I was shooting a men’s match at an AVP pro beach volleyball tournament. It’s tricky to get creative while shooting sports because I can’t control my subject and everything moves so quickly! Plus, it was challenging because I was relatively new to the sport and photography in general. I was thrilled to capture and create this cinemagraph.

What’s your most memorable shot or shoot?

I was in Kauai last February on a photo workshop and convinced the group to stand still and swap jackets with each other without moving, for a stop motion animation. Since I’m used to photographing lifeless objects, it was a blast to get to create an animation with 12 friends. We couldn’t stop laughing the whole time, especially when jackets were way too small or big on people!

My dream gig would be…

Creating a stop motion animation for a TV commercial or film. I’m eager to see my work on a bigger screen!

My favorite piece of gear is…

My dragonframe remote. I can click the shutter and animate objects from anywhere in my studio!

Do you shoot tethered?

Yes! Tethering changed the game for my stop motion animation work. I was finally able to see a live view of my animation during the shooting process, which allowed me to make even more magic happen.

My favorite piece of Tether Tools gear is…

The TetherPro USB 3.0 to Micro-B. The bright orange, 15 footer. It’s probably the one cable I’ve never lost!

What’s on your photography gear shopping list?

Ooh, I’d love to own every color of the rainbow seamless Savage paper… and Sony’s 85mm 1.4 GM lens for portraits! I’m also currently eyeing the Tether Table Aero.

The best advice I can offer a fellow photographer would be…

Creativity is a muscle. WORK IT OUT! Strengthen it by challenging yourself to see your world differently. Sitting in traffic? Look for faces on cars, shapes in the clouds, personalities within shadows… you’ll start to see magic in even the most mundane circumstances.

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