The Good Life
with a Southern Drawl

Woman Of Style: Capturing Life’s Moments With Olivia Reed

By Amy Bailey — May 25, 2016

This talented Southern photographer not only has an eye for beauty but exudes a calmness about her making it is easy to understand why she is able to capture the beautiful moments she does as a photographer. In her interview Olivia Reed shares her inspiration, her mentors, and life advice. You can visit her website and see her work here.

What inspires you about waking up each morning?  Honestly, I’m usually pretty inspired to get out of bed because I hear my two small children in the kitchen digging in the pantry and the refrigerator and I know if I don’t get in there quickly I could have a serious mess on my hands. But seriously, I’ve never been one to lay around all day. I want to wake up and have some type of mission for the day. Whether it’s for my family, or getting in a great session in for a family or a newborn, I like to know at the end of the day I have accomplished something.

What inspires your work?  Art in general inspires me. I’ve always been an art collector and seeing other artists’ work inspires me to create. The biggest inspiration in my photography is the feedback I get from my clients when they see what I’ve done for them. I love it when I client says “you really captured this moment or my child’s personality perfectly.” It makes me want to work even harder to get better.

How does your family inspire you?  Watching my kids grow makes realize how quickly they change and how time is fleeting. Because I know as a mother how precious these little slivers of time are, it makes me want to capture these moments for others. We can never go backwards, but we can always frame the memory.

Olivia Reed-1What is your favorite place in the world?  That’s easy. The back porch at my parents’ home in Perdido Key that overlooks Ole River. I love watching the boats go by. I’m a beach girl who loves the water but doesn’t love the sand so that porch is my happy place.

What advice would you give women going through life’s trials and tribulations?  Keep your head up and be the boss of the situation. Nobody else will take care of you in your situation better than you can.

How do we begin to seek a better life?   Surround yourself with people who enhance your life. You need people around you who build you up and won’t tear you down. I am super lucky in that I have an amazing core group of friends who make me better in every way, from making me stronger spiritually to making me stronger physically. We are really in each other’s lives in so many positive ways. We exercise together, we eat together, our families spend time together, and we hold each other accountable. I never, ever have to pretend to be something I am not or make excuses for them.

Describe your personal style?  I’m a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl. I love a good, funky vintage tee. Overall I am very classic and don’t really get into trends. I’ve been known to throw on some pearls and a blazer to dress up the look a bit, but the bottom line is I just have to be comfortable, both in my work and in my lifestyle.

What did you wear as a child? Well I grew up with four brothers, so unfortunately there are many family portraits and Christmas cards of me dressed to coordinate with my brothers’ matching ensembles. My mother also loved to dress me in Laura Ashley florals, which has now transcended into me dressing my own daughter in a lot of Matilda Jane!

What is your favorite quote?  “Looking behind I am filled with gratitude. Looking forward I am filled with vision. Looking upwards I am filled with strength. Looking within I discover peace.” –Quero Apache Prayer

Who have played mentor roles in your life?   My first would be my mother. She is my constant supporter. She has always encouraged my creative side and pushes me to embrace my art. She is also a huge inspiration to me as a mother. She made me realize at an early age that it was ok to be exactly who I was and to pursue my talents. I also don’t know a more prayerful or spiritual person.

Jim Neel, my sculpture professor at Birmingham Southern is my second mentor. He was a constant encourager when I was figuring out what I wanted to be “when I grew up” and that it was ok to be an art major surrounded by future doctors and lawyers. I still go by Birmingham Southern to check-in with him anytime I am in town.

Advice to women in their 20s. Travel and learn to be independent. Take time and discover who you are.