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{low down, throw down} with Tracy Tesmer

I always enjoy a photographer who remains true to her/his spirit. Tracy Tesmer is one of those photographers. Her film images always resonate with the true passion in which they were taken. I find myself getting lost in the image, my thoughts taking me away. I think that is the beauty of photography. I am so excited to introduce you to Tracy Tesmer, a hip gal from Texas with a wonderful and unique eye. xo

Name: Tracy Barbour-Tesmer
Business name: Tracy Tesmer Photography
Location: Houston, Texas
Website/blog: tracytesmer.com

photo by Decca Photography

Tell us one sentence to describe your photography:
My photography is emotionally honest and creates a story of the people I photograph.

What's one thing that everyone should know about you?
I'm a total "Gleek"

How long have you been doing photography and how did you get started:
I have been behind a camera since I was 9 years old. Professionally, I've been doing this for 6 1/2 years. I got started when my father asked me to sneak into a field of migrating sand hills cranes to get the perfect shot. He was a very tall man and me being very tiny, he figured I would not disturb the birds. That is when I fell in love with photography.

If they made a movie about your life, what would it be titled and who would play you?
"Just A Girl With A Camera" I say this because when I was in college a very mean boy called me this, and not in a nice way either. It was indicative of the disbelief I have gotten a lot from people over the years. That I'm "just a girl." It's sort of a tongue in cheek title, because I'm really more than that. I am a woman who is more complex than just a picture taker with a camera in my hands. I am also not a quitter. Even when I've been at the bottom of the barrel and others expected me to just throw in the towel, I haven't. I push myself as far as I can. At first I would want to say Angelina Jolie because of her tough yet fragile nature. But then I thought Noomi Rapace, the actress who played Lisbeth Salander in "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo." I chose her only because her character in that story resembles me in attitude. Fierce, yet fragile. And then I thought Zooey Deschanel, because she's got that sweet, innocent outside but you can tell her core is hard. Wow, I think it really would be a toss-up between those three.

What change are you looking most forward to this year...both professionally and personally?
Professionally? I struggled so much last year and the beginning of this year with the direction I wanted to go into. I saw myself as not being a lifestyle photographer forever. I saw myself pushing towards just being a fine art photographer. BUT something in me changed this year, a settling I suppose you could call it. A good kind of settling. I'm finding peace and happiness in the simple things. And being a lifestyle photographer, getting to share in family's joys, births of babies, beautiful little faces, and documenting life around me...well it can't get much better than that. I am venturing back into weddings again after a couple of jump starts.
Personally? I'm a pretty private person when it comes to my personal life since I don't have much for family and my friends are my family. I am learning personally how to let go of those people who "toxify" your life. Yes, they might be the people who are the most accessible as in geographical location, but they really aren't the people I want to surround myself with. I look forward to filling my life, once again, with quality friendships. I feel like that's been really missing over the last year and my judgment of who's what has been skewed. I look forward to clarity in my life on that level.

When you take pictures just for you, what are they of?
Random everyday objects. And usually I'm shooting with film. I like to take candid and posed portraits of my friends. If I can convince them to sit still that is. When I lived in Omaha I had no problem with my friends "hamming" it up for my camera. I giggle as I say this, maybe Texans are just shy?

If you were given $500 today, what would be the first thing you would do?
A weekend away with my boyfriend. Hop in the car and travel to some place like Marfa, TX

Where do you go to find inspiration?
My neighborhood. Walking around my neighborhood gives me the most inspiration. And having a good meal with a couple photographer friends I know seems to always pump me up. I find alot of my inspiration internally. After I've been able to have a weekend of relaxation and fun, I usually get lightbulb moments.

What is your best post processing tip?
Keep it simple! Do what your heart tells you to do and by all means DO NOT look at other photoblogs right before you sit down to edit.

What would you tell someone who is just starting up a photography business?
Have a thick skin.

What color paint is your bedroom? Why? What about your bathroom?
I live in this really old building that used to be a house. My apt is kind of tiny but quaint. I have this awful lime green paint everywhere.

What equipment do you use and if you had only one lens to use...what would it be?
I use a Canon 5D for digital. I also have an Olympus OM1 for film and a couple of little vintage cameras plus, of course, my Holga. I am currently shopping around for another medium format film camera. 50mm 1.4 is my lens of choice.

What session idea are you dying to do, but just don't know how to pull it off?
Underwater film photography. Finding a pool that isn't so heavily chlorinated and nobody around is the main problem right now.

Do you have a hidden talent? Or a stupid human trick?
Hahaha. Some say the way I sneeze is my hidden talent. It makes everyone laugh. According to some of my friends it's a perfect "Disney" sneeze, barely a sneeze at all and they half expect little cartoon blue birds to fly out and land on my shoulders.

What was your first paid session like? Were you nervous? Did it turn out how you wanted?
First paid session was a wedding. I wasn't nervous at all. The photos were gorgeous, but it wasn't the most pleasant experience in the world.

What music do you love? Do you have a favorite song of all time?
I'm so random with my music choices. I love artists like Jack Johnson, Jason Mraz, and Pomplamoose but then I can turn around and listen to Seether and Sick Puppies then mix in a little Shakira and then the next day I'm listening to rap like Die Antwoord. I spent my first two years being a music/tour photographer so my tastes are very eclectic. Favorite song of all time? Jason Mraz Song for a Friend

What is at the top of your wish list right now?

Tell us the best advice that you have ever received (photography related or life in general):
Don't think so much, just go with your heart.

If you had an entire Saturday to do whatever you wanted...what would you do?
I would start out cooking for friends. A swim in the pool. Then a move at some drive in movie theatre. All of this followed by desert and coffee at some diner talking through the night.

When you look back at your life, what are you most proud of?
My time in the military.

How do you get a connection between you and your client?
I spend the beginning of every session talking to my clients for at least a 1/2 hr. If that is, we haven't had a consult session beforehand. I get close to them. I don't pose them. You would be surprised how many people seem like they are almost afraid of a camera lens. I make them laugh, I make them cry and most of all I encourage them they are beautiful. When a person truly feels they are beautiful they light up and their whole being begins to buzz. This is what makes beautiful portraits.

Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
A little house. A darkroom. A front porch filled with friends on evenings and weekends.

And lastly.....when we started the maternal lens, all of us filled out this questionnaire and shared our answers....now it's your turn :)

What is your favorite word? besitos (it's spanish for kisses)
What is your least favorite word? panties
What turns you on creatively, spiritually or emotionally? music, lots and lots of music
What turns you off creatively, spiritually or emotionally? negativity in social media
What sound or noise do you love? the waves at the beach
What sound or noise do you hate? chirpy birds at 4 am
What is your favorite thing to say when you get mad? "you don't know me, you don't even know"
What profession other than your own would you like to attempt? UFC
What profession would you not like to do? CPA
If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? welcome home, your suite is on the left and we've already turned the bed down for you, here's the remote

Tracy Tesmer | Photographer
Tracy Tesmer Photography


  1. Wonderful & inspiring! Tracy, I'm a Houston photographer too! We should hook up soon. I'd LOVE to share stories!

  2. Love me some Tracy. Not only is she a beautiful photographer, but she designed my logo, for which I am eternally grateful.


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