A Big Gift

Tara Whitney has a knack for bringing out the best in her subjects. Read how this extraordinary photographer eased into her big dream after receiving a camera under the Christmas tree.

Tara Whitney

City / State
Orange County, CA

What was your big dream?
As far back as I can remember I wanted to have a camera in my hand. I always focused on details and real emotion, wanting photos of people laughing and doing their thing. I very vaguely dreamed of being well known enough to photograph “the stars”. I didn’t want to jinx myself, and I never thought success was even remotely possible.

How did you accomplish it?
The gift of a film SLR and the time to get away from home and take classes at a local college that my husband surprised me with one Christmas when our children were young. That is when it all started snowballing slowly into what it is now. That present was opened 8 years ago. After that, I never stopped shooting, and eventually people I didn’t know started asking me to photograph them. I realized my dream was possibly going to come true, and I tread very softly until I felt comfortable enough to go for it.

Where did you find inspiration to get started?
My husband, my best friends, and my mom were my biggest motivators and supporters.
Inspiration is around us everyday. You just have to choose to see it.

What motivated you to keep going?
My love and passion for photography.

What’s your next Big Dream?
To be on the Oprah show.

When you were 5 what did you want to be when you grew up?
Strawberry Shortcake

What about when you were 15?
An actress or model.

Now, what do you want to be when you grow up?
Happy, healthy, and surrounded by love.

What book is on your night stand?
I just finished a memoir written by Janine Latus called “If I am Missing or Dead.”

What’s your Guilty Pleasure? (Grey’s Anatomy, Peppermint Mocha Lattes)
Eating ice cream in bed at night while watching TV with my man.

What song moves you?
Every single one in some way. But my current top five, in no particular order:
My Body Is a Cage by Arcade Fire, The Luckiest by Ben Folds, Landslide by Fleetwood Mac, Into the Mystic by Van Morrison, and Push by Sarah McLachlan.

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