expat life

Expat Life: A view through the lens

5 Comments 24 July 2012

Tami Curtis Photography

Isn’t it perfect? (Anthology Wedding & Fine Art Portraiture Photography by Tami Curtis)

One of the struggles many expats face is finding a job when they move overseas. Fortunately, we have more and more portable careers to choose from, including online businesses, writing, and the arts such as photography. Tami Curtis is an American photographer who has lived in the UK for many years–in the incredibly beautiful Hertfordshire countryside. I am featuring Tami on The American Resident because I think her story is interesting–as an American she brings something different to her photography. That’s one of the things I love about movable careers; we can bring something of our home culture to our new location and use that as a Unique Selling Point!

I started photographing children and families here in England around 7 years ago. I initially started out photographing weddings only, but then began to see my wedding couples starting their families and felt this would be a natural progression for my business.

I knew I was bringing a fresh new ‘American’ approach to family photography, one that hadn’t really been seen here in the UK and it really felt like a whole new world had opened up for me.  I had done my research and found that about 80% of all family/children photography in England was done in a studio with boring white paper backdrops.  That’s not what I’m about – I have one of the world’s largest outdoor studios at my fingertips and I decided to put it to use!  As progressive as everyone seems to think that England is, they are still 15-20 years behind the US photographers, and I used this to my advantage.

This was absolutely hands down the best decision I have ever made! I knew I was on to something when a mom contacted me about getting some family portraits done. She said she noticed that a lot of the photographs on my webiste were taken of children from the back or up close and that she really wanted more of a traditional approach with the basic poses.  I told her that I would certainly give her what she wanted in addition to my style of photography. During their viewing session, almost every enlargement she chose was of her children done in my style and chose only one using a classic pose.  Even though most of my clients have already viewed my work on my website they are still quite surprised at how I have managed to capture their children looking completely natural, never stiff and forced.

The feeling I get during a viewing session just cannot be beat. Watching a mother’s eyes fill with tears of joy when she sees her family portraits for the first time is the ultimate compliment and it’s this joy that keeps me going. Every time I meet a new family I feel such an energy and challenge to show them what good family photographs are all about, it really makes it all worth while.

I am located in Hertfordshire on some of the most beautiful English countryside here – I would love to photograph some fellow expats and their families! If you’re not familiar with Hertfordshire you will absolutely love it here, but I will also travel within 50 miles to you if you are after more of a ‘Lifestyle’ type session and would prefer the location of your own home, pets and amenities.

Tami’s website (you have to check out her beautiful photos!):  www.tamicurtis.com
And you can contact Tami at: tlc@tamicurtis.com

How about you readers, do you have an experience where being from another place has been an advantage?


I was not paid in any way for this post, I published it because I want to support Tami’s work.


Your Comments

5 Comments so far

  1. Very cool! Our family pictures in the US were always as she describes, of us out enjoying ourselves in a visually interesting park… In Germany, the photography style was very similar to here– poses and white or black backgrounds in a studio. We had a photographer friend offer us a portrait session as a parting gift, and it was the first time we had ever stood and posed in a studio– totally different! I really prefer the more natural approach, and love that she is bringing that kind of work to England.

    • Michelloui says:

      It’s nice to experience both approaches, but it seems that the more relaxed approach is just that bit more flattering (from what I’ve seen)!

  2. Chris & Cami says:

    Great post! I’m an American, born and raised overseas. So I’ve lived as an ex-pat and understand the challenges. Now that I’m back in the states, I’m what’s known as a Third Culture Kid (TCK). So in some ways I’m not the opposite of an ex-pat…bringing my experiences from “over there” to my photography style “over here”. Tami has beautiful work and I enjoyed the article very much!

    • Michelloui says:

      That’s cool and I’ll bet your TKC experiences add a real unique selling point to your work!

  3. Expat Mum says:

    It’s definitely been an advantage for me, and I’m now often phoned for a quote by newspapers wanting a “foreign” perspective on things. It doesn’t always translate to dollars in the bank though 😉

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An American writer in the UK for over 20 years. Lives in Essex. A pretend extrovert.

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