A printed set of We Are The Wild Oracle Cards fanned out on a wooden table around a selection of crystals and stones.

For this Printspiration Spotlight, I interviewed photographer, DeeDee Morris.

DeeDee runs her self-titled photography business in Nova Scotia, Canada. Capturing beautifully raw and honest images that tell your story. Today we’ll shine a light on the role that print has played in both her business and personal photography projects. Digging into the emotion that comes with printing your work and the important role print has played in bringing her work to life.

The Role Of Print In Photography

A Printspiration Spotlight with DeeDee Morris Photography

Stacy:

Thank you so much, DeeDee for joining me today. 

When I scroll through social media, it’s just so easy to pick out your images. I wholeheartedly believe that this comes from your unique approach to your work. So I’d love to start there. 

Can you share a bit about your unique approach to photography?

DeeDee:

Well, I don’t think it’s entirely unique to me. I’ve learned a lot from other people. But, I think the uniqueness comes from showing up as my unique self. I’m a really chill person. So when I come to a shoot, I naturally exude that. My process is really to allow people to be themselves. 

People often feel awkward and nervous at the start of a shoot. The first thing that comes out of almost every single person’s mouth is “I hate having my photo taken” or,  “I’m super awkward in front of the camera”. And my thing is, that’s ok, because it’s you. 

My job is to produce something that resonates with you. 

So you just be yourself. Whatever that looks like in the moment. If that’s awkward, if it’s playful, whatever it may be. Just be you. And I’ll be running around taking photos. 

The thing is, you don’t really know what I’m capturing during a session. You’re watching me and you’re playing with your kids, you’re interacting with your partner, or with yourself. But you don’t know what I’m actually capturing in that moment. And then you get those images back and you’re like holy, I didn’t know you were doing that!

Stacy:

That sounds so magical. What makes your work stand out for me, especially with your brand photos, is that you seem to truly capture the essence of people. You look for those unique moments that are truly them. Rather than just that posed sitting at a desk kind of portrait.

DeeDee:

My branding photos are a very interesting thing. Because a lot of them are actually quite posed. They’re just posed differently. They’re posed in a way that captures what you want your clients to feel after working with you. That’s always my goal with a branding session. It’s not necessarily about capturing what you do. It’s about capturing how you want your clients to feel after they’ve worked with you. 

So when you can project that in your images, whether on social media, in print, your newsletters, or wherever, then people are going to work with you. Because they want that feeling you’re showing them. That’s the whole point of a brand shoot. 

It’s a very intentional process. Each session starts with an interview. To help me get a good understanding of who you are, what your story is, and beyond that, what your brand story is. Because it’s not just about you, it’s about your clients and why they would want to work with you in the first place. 

There’s a lot that goes into every shoot, but especially a branding shoot.

Stacy:

They aren’t surface level. And you can really see that in your images.

DeeDee:

Yeah, and you see a lot of surface level brand images, especially on social media. A lot of images of people sitting behind a desk. And there’s absolutely a time and a place for that. But there’s something more compelling about digging deeper than your surface level.

3 oracle cards and a perfect bound book arranged around a grouping of rocks and crystals on a wooden table.

Stacy:

It’s a different approach. And your work speaks for itself.

So we’re going to shift to talk a bit about print. I know that many of your packages actually include a physical album or a print. Can you speak to the importance of including those tangible pieces in your packages?

DeeDee:

I don’t feel the work is done when I hand over your digital files. A digital image lives on your computer. But when your image is printed, it comes to life. 

And it can be tough in this age because a lot of people just use their phones. And a phone’s storage isn’t large enough to carry a bunch of image files that are large enough to produce a great quality print. They can usually handle a few, but not a whole shoots worth. 

But the print really is the true finished product. And that’s why I include it.

Stacy:

I’ll be honest, my husband and I, we’ve never printed our wedding photos. I have a small album from WalMart that was gifted to us. But that’s it. We’ve never actually had prints produced to hang and enjoy. We’ve even had professional pictures done of both our kids and never printed them. They sit on my computer where no one can actively enjoy them. So it really resonates when you say, you’re not done when you hand over the digital files. The print really is the finished product.

DeeDee:

Yeah. And that’s why I include one 11 x 14 print in my family packages. A lot of people want an 8 x 10 because that’s the standard. It’s what they’re used to. But I’ve always thought, the bigger, the better. In my personal gallery I have eight 13 x 19 photos. But I include the 11 x 14 size in my packages because it gets people comfortably out of that standard 8 x 10 box. And providing that one print helps people dip their toes in and get them excited about printing the rest of their images.

Stacy:

You take that one extra step and it gets people thinking, “I want more”.

DeeDee:

Yeah, totally. And I’m not printing these at Wal Mart. Wal Mart is affordable for sure. But I’m printing beautiful fine art prints for my clients.

Stacy:

Absolutely. You can see and feel the difference. 

You’ve done a lot of personal projects. All of which have involved print in some form. From oracle cards to gallery shows. Can you expand on what it feels like to see your work in print as opposed to a digital format?

DeeDee:

Oh my God. I don’t even know how to describe that feeling. It’s like, it comes to life. I mean it’s 3D versus 2D. It’s tangible. It has a smell. Like I’m as obsessed with paper as you are. And if I feel like I want to eat it, then it’s good.

When I print my images, I want to feel like I need to live inside of them. The richer they are, the better. I always print on Hahnemuehle PhotoRag®. It’s a thick textured paper. And the inks print very vibrantly and saturated. It makes me want to live inside of them. And that to me is the purpose of art. It’s not meant to live on your computer. So print it so you can enjoy it. It’s got to be printed.

Stacy:

Like you said, the print is the final product. Not a digital file that sits in your downloads folder and never sees the light of day. 

DeeDee:

If you think your images look good on your computer screen, just wait till you freaking print it. It’s amazing.

Stacy:

I couldn’t agree more.

Now let’s talk about your oracle cards. Of course we had the pleasure of working together to bring those to life. Can you share what inspired you to create your deck?

DeeDee:

Well, I love Oracle cards, that’s one reason. But I took an online class about creating composite images in Photoshop. Which is layering two or more images together to create a new image. It was something that I’d played around with before, and had always really wanted to learn. It was in January of 2019 I believe. And I created 3 images for the class. A couple of self portraits, and one image of my friend. And I just loved them. So I thought, well, maybe I’ll just make some more. 

I started tinkering during my free time in the winter. I created 10 or so that winter. It takes about three to four hours to create one image. Each card has at least three different layers. Some of them have up to seven or eight layers. Sometimes, I’d spend a whole night on one and end up not liking it. So I’d scrap it. 

But after I did a few, I decided I wanted to create a deck. I was thinking it was something I’d do over 10 years. Simply because of the time it takes to create each image. 

It’s a process. Some of the images have other artwork layered in with my own. But most of them are a combination of my own photos. I dug through 15 years worth of harddrives to find some of the images. I’d be working on one and wonder, “Where is that picture of the snow I took five years ago”. And because of the lockdowns, I ended up completing the deck in two years. It was all I had to work on when I couldn’t be out shooting.

It was definitely a long process. But so rewarding to do.

Stacy:

And how did it feel when you had the final product in your hands?

DeeDee:

Well, I felt like I wanted to barf at one point. When I picked the boxes up at the printer. They just kept bringing out more boxes. I remember being like “ok, this is amazing. And I’m going to go barf now.”

It’s like you’re so full of excitement and emotion.

 Having a work that’s taken that much energy, and time, and focus in your hands. It’s such a weird feeling. Like I did this, and now it’s done and in my hands. Now what?

Now I have to sell these. And as an artist, that’s nerve-wracking. You can create and create and create, but eventually you have to put it out into the world. It’s vulnerable, people are going to be hanging your work in their house. Or in the case of the oracle deck using it over and over again. But part of creating is getting it out there and making money off of it. You just have to own it and not be worried about whether people like it or not. That’s the hardest thing as an artist. But it’s not truly alive until people see it in a tangible way.

Stacy:

Incredible. Thank you for sharing.

I know you’ve got your cards and prints available in a couple of places. Where can people find those?

DeeDee:

My cards are available at Thief and Bandit on Barrington Street. And the MacDonald House at Lawrencetown Beach. You can also purchase the oracle deck and prints on my website at deedeemorris.com. And I currently have some prints hanging at the Pentper Art Gallery in Lunenburg.

DeeDee is a photographer based in Nova Scotia, Canada. She’s an expert at visual storytelling, a mama of twins and a passionate lifelong learner. As a heart-led photographer, her passion is to create images that resonate with the soul. Follow @deedeemorrisphotography on instagram.