I met Danni last year via Facebook through mutual curlfriends and was drawn to her beautiful smile, TWA and awesome style. Once I learned she was a photographer and viewed her amazing work, it was a wrap! I
stalked followed DFinneyPhotography on Facebook and Tumblr just about every day to see what was new. Her work has been featured on Essence.com and you may recall this photo shoot with natural hair vlogger Mae aka NaturalChica which transitioned to the Curlbox cover art you see here. I even stepped in front of her camera for a mini shoot of my own. Yes, Danielle ‘Danni’ Finney is the talent behind it all! Because she encompasses everything ToBNatural is about, I just had ask her a few questions about her hair, her style and her art…
- How long have you been natural? Why?
My whole life basically! When I was 11 my mother tried a kiddie perm but she didn’t like what it did so I never got another… from that point I got press and curls for convenience. Around 2005/2006 I began to experiment with different natural styles but my texture was still quite frizzy because of the years of straightening (which I later learned to be heat damage) so when my real curls began to show themselves I was excited lol. I decided to stop straightening my hair and stick with styling it naturally because I liked my natural curls!
- While it seems many naturals are trying to reach longer lengths, you’ve decide to rock a Big Chop. Was this just for a fresh start, a change, convenience? Explain.
Definitely out of convenience… I have extremely thick hair and have had a fairly decent length of hair my whole life basically so it always took me a long time to do my hair- especially when I wanted to get fancy and try a new style. I just found myself having less and less time to care for my hair… I really had just disconnected with it. I was wearing wigs, headwraps, etc so at that point I said why not? I’d been putting it off and I figured if I didn’t like it, I could always continue wearing the wigs and headwraps lol. I cut my hair in May 2011 and it was the best decision everrr!! I seriously love having short hair. It can’t get any simpler.
- Why do you love being natural? Have there been any challenges?
I really enjoy the versatility! My hair technically isn’t all that versatile currently but I enjoyed it when it was and I still enjoy it now that it’s not lol. I love the ease Maybe one day when I miss my hair I’ll decide to let it grow back. The longer length definitely had its challenges though… most natural styles I liked needed time to set so I would have to plan when to do my hair if I wanted to have it a certain way for an event/outing… and with my hair being so thick it took me foreverrrr to do it. The outcome was great I just hated the time it took to do it. Not only that but it definitely took some time to get to that point where I was happy with the products I used and knew what to do to get it to look how I wanted. There’s a major learning curve when it comes to going natural because what works for someone else doesn’t always work for you and you don’t know until you try it!
- I think you have amazing fashion sense! Do you feel going natural has changed your overall style in any way?
Aww thanks girl Not really… I mean my style has definitely changed over time but I just think that comes with maturity (or should anyway lol)… I’m trying to think back to when I started wearing my hair naturally and not straightened… I think I did feel a bit more adventurous style-wise. But now I just wear what I like and it’s not really defined by my hair.
- How would you describe your personal style? What inspires you? Do you follow trends?
Hmm I’ll say it’s artsy chic (I just made that up lol). I’ve heard from others that they can tell I’m an artist by the way I dress which I think is pretty cool I’ve always loved color but over the past few years I’ve found myself drawn more and more to neutrals. I love taupe! Lol it’s the perfect neutral! I’m definitely a fan of pairing neutrals with color as I’ve moved away from the color everywhere matchy-matchy days of my youth lol. I seriously would have a matching purse and shoes for every outfit. Now I appreciate the subtler forms of matching- color blocking included (plus I don’t have time to change my purse that often lol). I do follow trends to an extent… only by default though because I like shopping so I do adopt bits and pieces of new trends because they’re available. I’m a discount diva though so what I wear will always be dictated by how much it is lol. I hate spending more than $20/30 on any one thing… this goes for anything (shoes included) though I am more inclined to make an exception for them lol. Thrift stores, little hole in the wall spots, department stores… I don’t discriminate. as long as the price is right it’s alright with me!
- As a professional photographer & designer how much of your personal style would you say is reflected in your work, if at all?
I didn’t used to see it really… but as my photography style became more defined, I definitely see a correlation between the two. I love color so that is one of the primary elements you’ll notice in my work- the way the colors help create the feel of my imagery. I’m also a fan of creative simplicity (just came up with that too lol). That’s evident in my work as well as my personal style- I like fairly clean looks but always try to find that element that will set it apart- whether it’s an awesome chunky necklace with an outfit, or an awesome and unexpected colored wall in a photo shoot.
- Tell us more about DFinney Photography & Design.
Simply put, it’s my baby I’m soo proud of how far things have come over the past few years- we are now beginning year 4 and I am still as in love with it as I was when I started (maybe even more now)! I started out offering both portrait photography and design services (biz cards, flyers, programs, invitations, etc) but over the years I scaled back on the design work because I found my time was being filled with the photography so now I just offer custom invite design services. As far as changes on the photography side, I now offer wedding photography which I didn’t early on, and I also offer business photography in addition to portraits (families, couples, seniors, maternity, etc). All of the different types of photography I offer still can be classified as creative lifestyle photography because I have a more relaxed shooting style with an emphasis on light and color. I feel like I could talk about my business all day but I’ll end by saying that I truly feel blessed to make a living doing something that I love so much
- Any fashion tips, advice for those newly natural, or a word or two for aspiring photogs?
Yes! And interestingly enough this fits each of the above categories- learn to be comfortable being yourself.
With fashion- don’t be afraid to wear/try something different! If YOU like it, that’s all that matters. Individuality and confidence is a beautiful thing. Also important- fit! Don’t go with a trend just because it’s a trend. Make sure it fits and flatters you… I guess that’s kinda contrary to what I just said, huh? lol.
For those newly natural- try not to compare curls. With the abundance of natural hair inspiration everywhere, before you know it you can start to become dissatisfied with your own tresses. The beautiful thing about natural hair is the versatility so try to embrace what’s unique to you.
And for aspiring photographers- I would really say take time and try to develop “your eye” for seeing things creatively. Don’t get so caught up in getting the latest equipment or trying to emulate another’s style because your own creative vision may be clouded. Let others’ photography work inspire you… but examine what it is about it that inspires you- the light, the framing, composition, editing, pose, model, etc and from there you’ll better be able to know what elements you’d like to improve on in your own work.
Until next time lovelies!