When Lisa Petz started taking pictures of her friends a couple years ago, she didn't think that she was starting a career as a professional photographer. And she had no idea that, before very long, she would be photographing celebrities and covering major events like New York Fashion Week.
It all started innocently enough, with Lisa taking those pictures of friends and all of the positive feedback she was getting for her work.
"People kept telling me that my pictures were really awesome, and how much they loved them," she related.
Lisa was somewhat surprised by this, since she had only done a little photography as a junior in high school but then moved on to other interests. She ended up attending The Art Institute of California in San Diego, where she earned her bachelor's degree in video game art and design.
"I have an artistic background as opposed to one in photography," she explained, "but I've always had a natural artistic vibe, and I think that's what helps my photos to stand out."
Lisa has a unique ability to capture her subjects in their natural state as opposed to always setting them up in posed shots.
"I love watching people and seeing them in their truest moments, and those are the pictures I try to get," she noted.
"For instance, I find that's very important when it comes to photographing children. If you pose them, they either end up looking stiff or kind of goofy. But if you can get them talking, laughing and playing, that's when you get some really great pictures."
She is also very adept with Photoshop, explaining, "They taught us how to use it at school and I love to play with it. There's so much you can do to enhance your photos."
Indeed, those pictures of her friends led to one job after another in the field of model photography, and pretty soon people were finding her work online at Facebook and other social social media sites.
From there, Lisa was hired by a modeling agency in Clarks Summit and began her professional photography career, and she just returned from covering New York Fashion Week.
"I was in the pit with about 80 other photographers fighting for a good position and getting pictures of celebrities like [Vogue editor] Anna Wintour, Ivanka Trump and Carmen Electra, and models like Caroline Klaus, who is featured in every issue of Vogue," she related.
"It was kind of crazy, but a great experience. I got to meet a lot of people and make a lot of incredible contacts."
She also took photographs for a variety of top-name designers, including Carolina Herrera, Pamella Roland, Betsey Johnson, Vera Wang, Dennis Basso, and Naeem Khan.
Page 2 of 2 - "It was all overwhelming, working alongside photographers from CNN, The New York Post and so many other major media outlets," Lisa recounted.
Through her work with a Weekender columnist, she has met other celebrities like Orlando Jones from MADtv and the pop singer Mya, which in turn resulted in her being hired to do a photo shoot for The Charlie Daniels Band at a Cove Haven concert.
While Lisa was waiting for the band to show up at a sound check and lighting set-up, she struck up a conversation with a guy named Shannon about video games, only to find out later that he is the band's new pianist.
"We're friends now, Facebook official," she said with a laugh, noting that her outgoing personality has made her a pro at networking — even when she doesn't know that's what she's doing!
Yet even with all of her work for celebrities and at New York Fashion Week, and Lisa's dream of one day getting into photo journalism, she said the bulk of her work is still done locally.
"I love doing charity events," she offered, citing a recent anti-bullying awareness rally in Riverside and the annual Walk for Autism in Scranton as examples. "It's always wonderful to see a community come together for a great cause."
"I do photos for all occasions actually," she said of her work. "My favorite is weddings because everyone's always so happy."
Her work can be viewed online at lisapetzphotos.com, or find her on Facebook at Lisa Petz Photography.
For more information about her work or to inquire about her services, call Lisa at 840-9295.