Interview – Professional Photographer

Time for another interview, this week it’s fellow blogger and tweeter Karen… 

Q.Can you tell us a little bit about you?

A. Hi, I’m Karen Strunks. I live in the ‘creative village’ of Moseley in Birmingham. I work in social media and I’m a photographer, event organiser, and blogger.

Q. How did you first get involved in your career and why?

A. It was quite unplanned, but my interest in photography developed very quickly after attending a part time evening class to figure out how to use my compact digital camera. A few weeks later I had bought my first digital SLR. Not long after that I put a website and blog up and gained work experience with the Birmingham Mail and Birmingham Post newspapers which enabled me to learn a lot very quickly and get my work published. A couple of small exhibitions followed and I continued to studying as much as I could about photography in my free time.

Putting my work online and starting a blog engaged me with social media and my passion for that grew. As well as my photography work I also work in the social media field as a community manager and creative director of a global photography project called 4am Project ( and I work with hyperlocal bloggers around the UK ( , as well as the Birmingham Social Media cafe. (

Prior to changing careers I worked in 9-5 office jobs for years in areas that simply weren’t inspiring to me. I’ve now discovered work I get a lot of pleasure from, that I enjoy doing and that takes me to interesting place and I meet a variety of people.

Q. What is the most challenging thing about your work?

A. I’ve had to learn to be very disciplined in my approach to work. There is never enough time and I try and get the most out of every day. I’ve learnt that it’s best for me to write everything down and schedule it into my diary. I’ve also had to manage the balance between work and time off and pacing my commitments.

Q. Can you tell us about any interesting people you’ve met through your work?

A. I’m fortunate that I’m in the position to meet so many interesting people regularly. Social media has helped connect me with inspiring people and businesses, not just in my home city and in person, but across the miles too.

Q. What do you do when you aren’t working?

A. Not working? What does that mean? 😉 Actually, I’ve been a lot better this year compared to previous years and I take Sundays off and make more time to be social, though I could do with making more time for the social side. When I take time off I enjoy catching up with friends and I love watching films. I’m fortunate that I am able to go on press trips and have enjoyed some great holidays abroad this year. But when you love what you do, it doesn’t always feel like work and I find it hard to distinguish between the two at times.

Q. What is your most favourite thing about your work?

A. I love the choices and the control over my career that I have. It’s something I’ve always yearned for and although I’ve never worked harder in my life, having the freedom that I have gives me the motivation to carry on and keep developing my skills and interests.

It’s fair to say that social media has changed my life. It would be so much harder to do what I do without it. It brings me into contact with so many different people, and enables my work to have a global reach.

Q. And the least?

A. Too many interests and not enough time lol.

Q. If you hadn’t chosen this career what would you like to do?

A. I’m qualified as a beauty therapist and a life coach. So perhaps either of those. Though my life coaching skills come in useful with the work I do now and helping other people achieve their goals.

I really love the world of Burlesque, so maybe a Burlesque dancer!

Q. What tips would you give to someone looking to get into your career?

A. Help yourself. Don’t wait for opportunities to come along. Create them. Learn as much as you can and get help where you are able. Do it for the love of it, not just the money. Passion plays an important role. Make a plan and decide on how you are going to reach it your goal. Don’t be afraid to make mistakes, and learn from what is working. Be prepared to work hard and you will see the rewards.

Q. Is there anything else you would like to share about your career choice that you haven’t already mentioned?

A.If there is something you really want to do, you will find a way. Write down your goal, put it up on a poster if necessary. Don’t lose focus or be deterred by obstacles, there’s always a way around them!

The Fun Questions

1. What did you have for breakfast?
A fruity breakfast of fresh lemon juice in water, a satsuma and a mango.

2. Who would win a fight between pirates and ninjas?
Hmmm….Pirates! They are swash bucklers.

3. If you were a tree what tree would you be?

A cherry blossom.

4. What is the last book you read?
These days I tend to have books nearby that I can quickly dip in and out of such as Seth Godin’s Tribes and Linchpin, Gary Veynerchuck’s Crush It, Hugh MacLeod’s Ignore Everybody and Rework by Jason Fried and David Hansson.

5.Which of my blog posts is your favourite and why?
My list of New things to try in 2011 I love the start of a brand new year and it’s a great time to look ahead and make plans.

6. What is your favourite song at the moment?
I’m quite taken by My Name Is Trouble by Keren Ann. I love the song itself but also Keren’s voice.

Many thanks to Karen for the interview 🙂 You can find out more about Karen’s work here, or follow her blog and tweets @karenstrunks 

Thank you for reading!  If you have enjoyed reading this post please share it with others who may be interested and I always enjoy receiving feedback and comments 🙂


4 comments on “Interview – Professional Photographer

  1. An interesting interview, thanks Sharon. I like the idea of an interview blog, might have to use it too. You’ve loads of great ideas on how to keep your blog varied and interesting to readers.

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