How Carter Fish Went From Pre-Med to In-Demand Instagram Photographer

by The Daily Front Row

Carter Fish is a Florida-born, New York City-based photographer with a roster of social media influencers who rely on her to capture their content.

How did you first get interested in photography?
When I was younger, I’d say eight, I asked for my first little Kodak camera to photograph my Lord of the Rings action figures— yeah, not what you expected right? We had plants all over our house and I’d photograph them sitting on my little horse dolls, pretending it was a scene from the movie. Fast forward a few years, I took a Photoshop class in high school, which required you to have a DSLR camera. That was when I upgraded from my point-and-shoot. The projects helped me learn my way around the camera and photograph with a purpose.

Carter Fish (Courtesy)

How did your love of photography progress from there?
I started taking Christmas card photos for family friends towards the end of high school. College rolled around and I was pre-med for half of undergrad. I figured photography would just kind of stop, but it ended up being my “in” for on-campus organizations I wanted to join because I could do headshots. I ended up taking grad photos for people, and one of the girls’ sister, Carly Heitlinger, just happened to be a blogger. Carly then requested to shoot together when we were both back in Tampa. I’d never shot with someone that had a large social media following before, and this was back in 2014 when bloggers were first starting to post photos of themselves. One thing led to another. I dropped pre-med and switched to a communications degree, and did two internships in NYC. Post-college, I moved here and worked for Carly while freelancing on the side, and now I’m an independent contractor.

How did you initially start working with influencers?
During my first internship in 2015, at Michael Kors, Carly and I reached out to bloggers, introducing who I was and that I wanted more practice. So I started working with some of my clients back then that I still have today. A simple email went a long way!

Wo do you work with?
Some clients include Grace Atwood, Caila Quinn, Olivia Rink, Bethany Ciotola, Eva Martino, and Carly Heitlinger. I’ve been lucky enough to work with some awesome brands like Tommy Hilfiger, Anthropologie, Rachel Roy, and Chopt.

What are your favorite—and least favorite—types of lighting for Instagram photos?
I’m a natural lighting gal! I like to play with the sun, both back and front-lit, and just use what’s given to me. I worked with studio lighting a lot in high school and it just wasn’t for me.

How do you help influencers get really comfortable in front of the camera?
I talk to my client the entire time — constantly fixing their posture and hair, telling them to fix their face. Once I fix something and show them on the camera, they realize they can trust me to catch the little things, so they can focus on less. I’m not going to let you go an entire shoot with a hair on your forehead, I promise.

How do you feel about filters?
I have created all of the presets I use to edit, but it’s amazing to have a photo that doesn’t need any edit at all  however, rare haha). Everyone has their own taste, but I’d just recommend using ones that still keep the color composition constant. And try to avoid the ones that turn your skin bright orange if you don’t know how to adjust those settings.

Any photo editing apps you swear by that even novices can appreciate?
I always initially edit in Lightroom Desktop, then I usually throw a VSCO app filter on top of that and call it a day!

What’s your biggest social media pet peeve?
Hashtags! And I’m sure they work and I don’t want to have that whole conversation right now, but I appreciate accounts that have gotten big without posting 12 times a day and using 48 hashtags every post.

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