Q&A: Transforming photographs into artistic portraits

This week we talk to Carrie Rheinberger, a photographer of 20 years who recently set out to capture portrait photographs in the style of fine art portraits through her photography studio Six Crows Fine Art Photography. Carrie began to focus on fine art photography three years ago, and she has gained praise for her work which has been variously described as “show-stopping”, “ethereal” and “magical”. In recognition of her work, Carrie is a finalist in the national AusMumpreneur Awards 2021 for Rural and Remote Business.

ISB: How did you first get your start in photography?

CR: From a young age I watched my Mother photograph family weddings and I was always interested in photography. In primary school, I was given my first camera and from there my passion grew. I started photographing animals and flowers but quickly moved on to portraits. After high school, I was accepted into a 3yr Bachelor Of Photography at James Cook University. I graduated and started up a wedding photography business. I was making a modest income and my work was nice but I wasn’t feeling the passion that I hoped I would. But I didn’t know what else to do so I stayed on that path until I decided to start a family and become a stay at home Mum.

ISB: What inspired you to focus on the fine art portrait photography niche and set up your photography studio?

CR: Becoming a Mum was wonderful in many ways but it also wasn’t what I was expecting. I was home by myself a lot with my baby and had given up my job as a photographer. One day I picked up my camera and took a self-portrait. I was inspired by a fine art portrait photographer named Brooke Shaden. She had a style that I would describe as a bit darker and grittier than the ‘norm’ and I was very drawn to it. We moved to a five-acre property in Calliope, QLD and there was a little granny flat out the back. It was decided that this is where I would set up my portrait studio. At first, I had the intention of creating and selling self-portrait art but after sharing my work on Facebook and capturing the attention of local media I was soon in business taking portraits for others. Within the first year of my business being open, I had been featured in Vogue and had my work on the cover of International Kid Model Magazine.

ISB: What is the most challenging aspect of focusing on this specific niche and how do you overcome it?

CR: I live in a small community of around 3000 people so choosing to do something different isn’t easy, however, I have had so much love and support pour out of my town! Word of mouth is my best friend and I’m proud to say that I have had clients travel from as far away as Sydney to be photographed by me!

ISB: How do you keep yourself motivated and inspired to capture such unique portraits?

CR: Motivation and inspiration come very easily to me because what I do is my absolute passion! When I look at someone I see them as a piece of art; I see them not as they are, but as they will be in my images and that to me is exciting. Every person that I meet is a new opportunity to create.

ISB: Having achieved a lot in such a short period, what is your vision for Six Crows Fine Art Photography in the next couple of years?

In the next few years, I see major growth for Six Crows. I have plans to open a third studio and I’m also in the process of adding an underwater studio to our Calliope base. I completed an Underwater Photography course as an elective whilst studying my Bachelor Of Photography and have always wanted to add that creative element to my art.

ISB: What is the most important lesson you’ve learned in your journey that other entrepreneurs can learn from?

CR: If you’re not following your passion success will be hard to come by. Find something that you you’re truly passionate about, work hard at it, never stop learning and success will follow.