We are excited to share with you a BRAND NEW weekly feature, Photographer Spotlight! Every Monday we will be spotlighting a new NewbornPhotography.com Photographer! This is your chance to tell us ALL about yourself and your business. It's your opportunity to shine and share with the rest of us why you love what you do.
This week we are pleased to welcome Shelly Ferguson of Shelly Ferguson Photography as our very first Spotlight Photographer!
1. How did you get started in photography and when did you
start your business?
I have always loved photography and portraiture in general. When my children were very little I taught myself to draw and paint and began taking on commissions for children’s portraits. Transitioning from my paintbrush to a camera and digital paintbrush (Photoshop) was a natural progression for me in 2008 and I haven’t looked back since!
2. Where are you located? Do you have a studio space or do you shoot on-location?
I am located in Oshawa, Ontario, Canada, a city within the Durham Region just outside of Toronto. I have converted a section of my home into a studio, which I use all year round, but I also shoot a few sessions on location (outdoors) for children and families during the warm weather months.
3. What do you shoot with and what are your favorite lenses?
I shoot with a Nikon D700. Last summer I switched from my favorite lens at the time (Nikon 50 mm 1.4) to my new Nikon 24-70mm 2.8. LOVE my 24-70 mm 2.8…sharp, crisp, simply divine! One of the best purchases I ever made. I also use a 60 mm 2.8 for my macro shots.
I used to have a 70-200 2.8 as well as an 85 mm 1.8 but they sat around collecting dust for so long that I finally sold them to buy new goodies ☺.
4. What drew you to newborn photography? Do you photograph anything besides newborns?
I photograph mainly newborn and maternity clients. I also photograph babies/young children and occasionally families in the summer months. Coming from my drawing/painting days I knew I was going to photograph children but realized very quickly that my true love was newborns! Newborns hold a very special place in my heart! They are so tiny, sweet and pure. They change so incredibly fast after those first couple of weeks and I love being able to capture those initial days for parents to look back on for years to come!
5. How would you describe your style of photography and where do you find your inspiration?
Oh my gosh, I feel like my style is always evolving but I think the best way I can describe it is simple. I love the quiet simplicity of a portrait without too many bells and whistles – for me, portraiture should be about the subject, everything else should just play a supporting role. For newborns that are awake (and older children) I absolutely love capturing that direct eye contact in the lens! I have an endless amount of patience in waiting for the shot I am looking for!
I find inspiration from all around me from following the work of other amazing photographers (way too many to list!) to observing things in everyday life.
6. Have you taken any photography workshops and/or training?
I took a studio lighting class at our local college (and I am happy to say I didn’t follow the instructor’s advice! He told us that newborn/children only photography wasn’t a viable business and that any of us considering that route should change paths LOL!)
I am primarily self-taught though. Once I set my mind to learning something I don’t stop! There is a wealth of information out there, from books to online resources to simply observing. I immersed myself in reading and research (photography, safety, business etc…) in the beginning and still do when there is a new aspect to the photography or business that I want to learn ☺. And of course, practice, practice, practice!
7. Where do you like to shop for your props? Do you have favorite vendors?
Oh dear, I shop everywhere and anywhere for my props. Antique stores, Target, Winners, Home décor stores etc… Drives my family crazy. Most people go shopping and look for things for themselves – clothing, home décor etc…I look at EVERYTHING and wonder, ‘could I use that with a baby or a pregnant mama?’ There should be support group for people like me, LOL!
I also actually taught myself to knit and crochet so that I could make my own accessories ☺. I even make my own maternity gowns. Some of my favorite vendors though are Avonli Cottage , Trenchbowl Props, Mes Belles Fleurs, Dreamy Baby Props
8. Please share with us your top 5 favorite images! Why are they your favorites?
My favorites are forever changing but these are a few of my current top picks. It’s so difficult to put into words why certain images are my favorites. It’s just a feeling when I look at them! The maternity image jumped right out at me off my screen when I loaded them onto my computer. I felt like I was witnessing such a private, tender moment between them.
I love getting to know my clients, especially those that come back over and over again so images like the sibling one really touch my heart because I know how excited the older sister was about being a big sister. She had such a motherly little nature and loved cuddling with her new sister.
The beautiful girl on the pink flokati…this just evokes such a cozy, safe, warm and fuzzy feeling.
The image on the branch – well that was just fun to be creative in Photoshop and I adore the color palette.
Finally, oh the dog and baby…does it need an explanation? That bond that is starting right from day one…it was such an honor to be able to capture a moment like this for this wonderful family.
(hhhmmm, maybe it wasn’t so difficult to put into words after all, LOL!)
9. What are three things you wish someone would have told you when you started your photography business?
1) You don’t need every piece of photography equipment/props out there! Start small and add/upgrade to your collection as you go along. Over time you start to understand what you need and what is not useful to you.
2) It’s alright to observe and be inspired by others in the industry, but don’t stress about what everyone else is doing – it’s ok to be your own person.
3) Learn about business – it’s just as, if not more, important as knowing the technical/creative side of photography.
10. What is your photography site, blog url, NewbornPhotography.com url and any other sites that you would like to share?
You can find me all over the web ☺
Google + : https://plus.google.com/+ShellyFergusonPhotographyOshawa/
11. What are your favorite things about NewbornPhotography.com? How long have you been a member?
I just joined the NewbornPhotography.com community not too long ago and so far I love it! It immediately felt ‘right’. There is a wealth of information and the members are so amazing, friendly and respectful! In this crazy online world it’s sometimes hard to find a place that feels comfortable, safe and inviting – a place that will offer support and constructive criticism to help a photographer grow. I am so glad I joined!
12. Lastly, tell us about YOU! Who are you, other than a photographer?
I am a very simple kind of gal! Sweat pants and hoodies, no make up, no jewelry kind of gal ☺ I have been married to my wonderful husband for 18 years. We have 2 amazing children, a 17 year old boy and a nearly 15 year old girl. Can’t forget the 4.5 year old Irish Red and White Setter too! I love sleep, carbs, (couldn’t live without French fries!) Pepsi, reading, watching Netflix while I edit, Scandal on Thursday nights, 80’s music (much to my daughter’s dismay), snoozing on the beach, and foot or back massages! That’s about me in a nutshell ☺.
Thank you so much for sharing with us, Shelly! It was a pleasure getting to know you better!
Would you like to be our next Spotlight Photographer of the Week? Please e-mail Keri at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject "Spotlight Photographer" and we'll get you on the calendar!