ABOUT FM PORTRAITS OF SILVER SPRING
Hi, I’m Fortune McLemore – and yes, it’s my real name! These are a few questions people typically ask me.
How long have you been a photographer? Since 1992. I have a Professional Photography Certificate from the New York Institute
of Photography. I also have a business degree.
What's your photography "philosophy"? Since I have a business degree, I have a "business mindset." So I'm very interested in promoting you with photography. That's the whole point of doing the kind of portraiture I do. The portraits are not about me. It’s all about you. I want it to be a collaboration, where we work together to get the pictures you want. Bring your brain! Bring YOUR ideas to the table, and let’s figure out how to make them come to life.
What'll happen when we meet? Our first meeting will be a consultation. I require that because I like to meet with customers first and get to know them before the shoot, so they're comfortable with me, and with the whole process. I want a general plan going in. I want your ideas on locations, clothes, poses you'd like, and just anything we can think of. I also have a list of "standard questions" I ask everyone, like what kinds of snacks you prefer, and particular points I like to go over. My "mission in life" is to make you comfortable
at the shoot. I want to know what you want to have happen - and just as important, what you don't. If I have an idea for a shot, and
you say "no," that's it. End of story. Not happening.
But I also have a very free spirit during the shoot, so if new ideas pop up then, that’ll be loads of fun! I have a saying I made up in 2005: “Minds and plans are like diapers: change when necessary. Especially if they’re all wet.”
Having your portrait made can be nerve-wracking, and I want you to feel you're in good hands. I want you to get the most of your experience with me. My shoots require planning, coordination, organization, and mutual respect. They're the key ingredients.
What are your shoots like? My shoots are a good combination of work and fun. We’ll get the job done, but we’ll also talk, laugh, dance, sing, and play. Bring your music, or whatever music you want to listen to. It’s up to you. Your physical comfort matters too. That’s why I provide high-protein snacks, and water, to keep our energy up. We take breaks when we need to. I ask things like “Are
the lights bothering your eyes?” We’ll get better pictures if you’re physically comfortable. I’m not bossy, either. I like treating people
with respect and courtesy, the way I’d want to be treated.
Why did you start shooting musicians? Music is the most important thing in my life. I was a radio announcer in North Carolina, where I'm from, because I wanted to be around music all day. And I loved it! I even got into photography because I had a crush on a rock star – long story! I’ve been photographing musicians throughout my career. I love music, and shooting portraits. It’s a natural fit!
I’ve started playing acoustic guitar, and singing. I met the great jazz guitarist Peter White at Blues Alley, and he told me to play guitar like I would play it – not like he or anyone else would play it. Best advice ever! I’m also learning about the music business, the recording process, music production, and songwriting. I’m the geek who’ll stop a conversation cold by saying, “Did you know so-and-
so produced that song?”, and people say, “How did you know that?” “I read the liner notes.” Yep, I’m THAT person!
I have a unique combination of photography, business, and music knowledge that lets me help you promote your music career. I also give you ideas for networking, and I can help you meet people I know. I love talking to people, so I meet people all the time in the music business. I want to be more than just “the chick with the camera.” I want to help get your name out there!
What kind of client do you like to work with? One who is very professional, with a respectful attitude toward everyone there, who
is willing to work hard for a good shoot, who likes to have fun and laugh, who appreciates and respects the art and craft of photography, and who respects my photography experience and judgment. I've noticed I use the word "respect" a lot, but that's the
key for me. I also want clients who are motivated to get ahead in their careers and consider their photographs a major part of their
road map to success.
Do you do weddings? No. That takes nerves of steel that I don't have!!! But I can recommend some great wedding photographers.
I get asked that pretty often, so I wanted to clarify that.
Do you provide makeup and hair people? You can bring your own "people," you can do it yourself, with a little guidance from me,
or I can recommend someone. I'm always in touch with makeup artists, hair stylists, and clothing stylists. Download your free copy of Your Guide To Looking Great In Portraits, which I wrote to give you tips on that, or I can email that to you.
Macklemore said something about music I like, so I borrowed it: “Music is therapy. Music moves people. It connects people in ways that no other medium can. It pulls heart strings. It acts as medicine.” He's right. So I don't mind him messing with MY name!!
This is one of my guitars. She's named "Bridget," after the bridge of a guitar. (Major groan, I know...)