Whitney Benton: Photographer. Influencer. Blogger.

“It’s not just photoshoots and free clothes.  Its tough and rugged, and self doubting and self conscious too.”

-Whitney Benton, taken from her most recent blog post.

Whitney was the planned feature for this interview and she is doing some pretty amazing things.  Just today she decided to open a Beauty Campaign to uplift and empower women.

Get. It. Girl.

I came to know Whitney because my cousin Nik married her. She grew up in a neighboring community so our friend and family circles have overlapped many times over. In recent years she has become a sought-after photographer, influencer, and blogger.   We are the only ones with sons in the family so at family gatherings we are often chatting about being boy-moms.  Whitney’s talent and creative drive is not something she talks much about face-to-face but when she did this shoot for us in the summer, it turned out so beautifully it took my breath away and made me cry.  Her creativity shocked and inspired me.  She’s got mad skills, you guys.  So I had to pick her brain unlike I have ever done before.  She has a wealth of knowledge I didn’t even know, and we were wasting our time talking about potty training!

So she answered some interview questions for me;

Bri:  You are the mom of two active boys, 4 and 1, how do you find time to work on your creative pursuits?

Whitney: Like most mothers, it’s a juggling act! I try my best to take advantage of the time while my boy’s nap.  Editing, writing among other things are always done during those quiet times. As a mother, wife farmer and rancher its hard to “schedule” anything.  Whether the boys are napping or it’s in the wee hours of the night, my creative time is when I have time alone!

Whit Fam

B: What does your creative space look like?

W: Most often, the comfort of my couch! I love to cuddle up under a blanket with a cup of coffee and laptop in tow.

B: What are your favorite resources that have helped guide you?

W: In the beginning, I relied heavily on the help of friends and fellow bloggers. I was fortunate enough to find a group of women who were happy to lend their support an advice along the way.   I stumbled across the blog The Bleacher Babe.  I formed a friendship with the woman behind the blog and thanks to her I was introduced to an entire community of ladies doing exactly what I had set out to do.

B: Who is your favorite photographer? Favorite influencer?

W: I find it nearly impossible to choose a favorite photographer.  Just like people, not a single one of them is like the other.  What I love about photography I that it cant be exactly replicated—each image is a work of art.  My hands-down favorite influencer is @officiallyquigley.  This girl has got serious style goals.  I love her edgy high fashion look and also her ability to tie in some sort of western flair!

B:  What do you wish people knew about photography? Influencing?

W:  It’s work.  All of it.  I don’t think most people recognize the commitment that goes into both photography and influencing. They require a certain degree of commitment in order to grow—both worlds are constantly growing and changing requiring you to consistently adapt and learn.

B: What special challenges do you face because you live in such a rural part of the country?

W:  Opportunities to attend events/workshops.  Also much of the face to face communication with many of the businesses I work with. Thankfully though, much of the world operates via Instagram or Facebook so opportunities that otherwise might be out of reach are now a possibility. It’s easy in today’s world to work alongside a boutique or business hundreds or even thousands of miles away!

B: What advice do you wish you could give yourself 5 years ago?

W: It’s okay to be you. It’s okay to be different and to do what makes you happy!  It took a long time to feel comfortable enough to step out of my comfort zone and to put myself “out there.” I’m so grateful for where this journey has led thus far and I’m looking forward to what Ill accomplish in the future!

Whit Self

B: In 5 years where do you hope your career is?

W: It’s my hope to continue growing both my photography and influencer account. I have recently launched my website and I look forward to blogging more. I hope that my work becomes highly recognizable in both the blogging and photography world.  It’s my goal to turn this part-time job into a full-time job and steady income for my family.

B: Any other advice you would give a mom needing a creative outlet, or someone wanting to make a career similar to yours?

W:  Just do it! If you have a passion or have found something that makes you happy, then jump in and give it your all!