Welcome to a new BPW blog feature! Every few months, we’re going to highlight a different member of our talented community to learn more about how our students turn their passion for photography into freelance work, fulfilling hobbies, or even full-time careers.
In addition to working full-time at architectural firm Arrowstreet, Boston-based Caitlin Manning is a successful freelance photographer and BPW student. Her expertise lies in keenly capturing the simple but important moments, allowing her to work on projects ranging from interior/exterior photography for fellow architectural and construction firms, to portraiture for fashion bloggers, high school seniors, and more.
“I love photography because it represents capturing a unique instance in time that you’ll never be able to duplicate,” Caitlin says. “By looking back at photos, you can recall your emotions at the time it was taken, bringing back old feelings and memories. That’s a special thing to me.”
Back to the Beginning
Caitlin remembers vividly when her interest in photography began.
“I was about 12 years old,” Caitlin recalls, “and on Christmas Day I found a pink plastic camera under the tree. It wasn’t something that was even on my list, but I took my first shot with it and was hooked.”
Growing up in Everett, MA, Caitlin started out taking photos in the backyard in her mom’s beautiful garden. Once she moved on to high school, she enrolled in an elective class that combined graphic design and photography, allowing her to hone her skills in a more professional way.
“My teacher at the time saw how much I loved photography, so he gave me as much free time as I wanted to come in to the studio and work on my own projects. I began using black & white film, learning more about composition, and really figuring out why I was so drawn to taking pictures.”
Around 2011, Caitlin landed her first professional gig when she was asked to photograph a cousin’s small wedding ceremony. She started her business slowly, obtaining more wedding clients from Craigslist postings and word of mouth, and building her portfolio over time.
“I thought that I would be a wedding photographer in those first few years,” says Caitlin. “But I was working full-time with long hours as an event planner at a restaurant, and then trying to squeeze in weddings on the weekends. Eventually, after a year of this insane schedule, I burned myself out and decided I needed to take a step back.”
Growing Her Artform
Caitlin went back to being a photographer in her spare time, taking a few freelance gigs here and there, before building to where she is today. She took her first class with the BPW in January 2017, starting with Digital Cameras 1 to brush up her skills to continue to improve her freelance work.
“I loved the style of my first class with Chris and Anthony,” says Caitlin. “I’m very hands-on, so learning by doing instead of just taking notes really worked for me. From then on, I just kept taking more classes!”
So far, Caitlin has especially enjoyed Food Photography 1 and Food Photography 2, and the time it took to delicately stage and shoot something beautiful. She’s been happy to meet and befriend other photographers through her classes at the BPW, especially at the very first astrophotography trip in March 2017.
“The whole experience with the BPW has been amazing,” says Caitlin. “Being in the company of creative people and getting to nerd out on your photo hobby together is the best.”
To learn more about Caitlin Manning Photography, please visit her website at caitlinmanning.com.