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20

Spotlight Photographer: Lil Buttons Photography


 

1. How did you get started in photography and when did you start your business?  


I have always been a creative free spirit. I love expressing myself through art, writing, and photography. I had spent years in a creative industry, (if you play computer games, odds are you've played a game I have worked on) but after I had my son I realized I didn't want to be in a standard 9-5 career. I decided to pick up photography again and I loved the idea of working with babies! I'm proud to say I made it through my first year of business in May.

I had no idea how hard newborn and baby photography actually is until I got started. I also did not realize how much I would love it! I think you have to be passionate about this field to really stand out. I spent 6 months just doing training. Everything I could get my hands on I participated in, because I wanted to do things the right way. I feel like it's especially important to uphold high safety standards when dealing with people's children. It was always a priority to set up the right kind of business so that I could give my clients the best experience possible!

When I first got started I reached out to the photographer I took my son to for information. She was so generous with her guidance even though we lived close to each other. She could have written me off, but instead she helped me. We're still really close and I love that we've built a friendship while also helping each other to build our businesses. I'm lucky to be part of a big community of newborn photographers that are local and still help each other constantly!

  

2. Where are you located? Do you have a studio space or do you shoot on-location?


I'm currently located in San Clemente, CA and I share a beautiful studio space with a very talented wedding photographer. The studio is set up perfectly to make my clients (big and small) comfortable through their sessions. It's so important to me that my clients enjoy every aspect of their experience with me, so the studio has a lot of fun creature comforts.

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3. What do you shoot with and what are your favorite lenses?

  

I'm currently a Nikon girl, but I'm about to make the move to my dream camera; the Canon 5D Mark III. My current equipment includes:

Nikon D5200

Nikon 35mm f/1.8

I would like to think I'm a pretty good example of not needing crazy expensive equipment when you start out. It's way more valuable to invest in education and learning how to maximize the equipment you do have.

 

4. What drew you to newborn photography? Do you photograph anything else?

 

I love the art of newborn photography. I love being able to capture that fleeting time in a child's life and being able to give the gift of memories to my families. After I had my son I realized just how precious those little details were because he changed so quickly! There was something about being invited to share in this joy with each family time and time again.

I also appreciate the technical aspect and the challenges that come with newborns. Every session I get to do something completely different than the last and every session I learn something new. There is a sense of constant growth and development in my business and I love that!

My focus is newborns through their first year. Each milestone is so important and I love watching my babies grow through their first year.

 

5. How would you describe your style? Where do you find inspiration?

 

A few months ago this would have been a really tough question because I was still all over the place. I spent a lot of time creating images that I thought were pretty, but didn't speak to me, before I realized what I was drawn to. I think this is an important step with any creative profession.

After I mentored with Amy from Dewdrops Photography I realized what I loved style wise and she gave me the courage to pursue that. I rebuilt my website, invested in custom branding, cleaned out my overloaded prop collection and really focused myself inward. It sounds odd, but I quite literally used a mood board in re-designing my whole business.

All that being said, I would describe my style as natural, earthy, timeless, and simple. I like to keep things very focused on the baby and I adore neutral and vintage tones. It's important to me that whatever props I am using don't overwhelm the baby. At the end of the day I want the parents to see their child's beautiful little details. That's really what this is about after all.

I get my inspiration from everywhere! Nature, antique shops, craft stores, fellow amazing photographers, and most importantly, my own son. You just never know when inspiration will strike so I carry around an old-school planner with a notebook. I know, I know, I'm a nerd!

 

6. Have you taken any photography workshops/training?

 

I have done a ton of different types of training! Because I also work full time still in a 9-5 and I have a little boy to take care of, my time is very limited. I did/do a lot of online learning. The Milky Way was a fantastic resource for classes to teach everything you would need to know to get started. I adore them and their teaching style.

I also jumped into several Creative Live classes (Kelly Brown, Julia Kelleher, Ana Brandt). Creative Live was also a great resource for business related classes that covered topics like SEO, marketing, and proper business management. Running a profitable business can sometimes be way harder than posing even the most difficult of babies!

The most important and beneficial thing I did training wise was mentoring with Amy McDaniel from Dewdrops Photography. She was fantastic! She helped me in ways I'm sure she will never know because without that I wouldn't have had to courage to move past a few hurdles I had in my business. She is such a wonderful person and teacher inside and out. I cannot stress it enough: if you have a photographer you love and they offer mentoring, do it! Stop buying props, save your money, and invest in your education!

 

7. Where do you like to shop for props? Do you have favorite vendors?

 

To call me a prop addict would be an understatement! I have a set list of vendors I absolutely adore working with: 

- Vanilla Lullaby

- Goodnightmoon

- Goodnight Mouse Baby Knits

- Knitz

- Paturici pentru pitici

- Couture Phantasies

- Avonli Cottage

- Natural Whispering Wonders

- Mia Joy Studio

- Baby in Vogue

- three little giggles

- April's Yarnables

- Adorable Props

- Ababa Baby Props

- Zoe & Oliver

 

8. What are three things you wish someone would have told you when starting out?


1. Be patient with yourself. There is a steep learning curve, but ample people willing to lend a hand in doing things the best way possible. You'll have moments where you'll question if you're good enough or if this was the right decision. Just keep pushing through!

2. Don't think props will attract clients. It's really easy to fall into the idea that having that one magic prop will somehow bring clients to your door. You'll keep thinking that and you'll keep shopping until you have a bunch of props that you don't really love, that aren't really your style, and that aren't going to make clients book you. The only thing that will make clients book you is talent and hard work. Instead of buying props, put that money towards an SEO and Marketing class. You're far more likely to book clients that way.

3. Invest in education! This is the one thing that you will never outgrow, trends won't make it useless, and it will change your business for the better! You will upgrade camera gear, buy new props, and probably go through several changes of style. The nice thing about education is it never goes away and you always have an opportunity to add to it. My goal going forward is to invest in at least one workshop/mentoring a year. That's the best way to stay on top of the industry.

    

and work very hard. I'm confident success will come if you're all in  

9. What are your favorite things about NBP.com? How long have you been a member?

 

I love the community of photographers! Everyone is so supportive and helpful. It's wonderful to see professionals interested in building each other up. The contests are always fun and keep me actively engaged in enjoying photography. The ability to search posted pictures for color or style inspiration is amazing!

     

 

10. Please share with us your Top 5 Favorite Images. Why are they your favorites?


Oh gosh this is hard! I chose these images for a few reasons. Most importantly this is when I really started to define my style. I had just gotten back from mentoring with Amy and I was creatively inspired. I had a bunch of newborns booked and for the first time I took full control over my sessions. These images mark that turning point in my career. I also included one of my favorite images I captured from my mentoring time with Amy. Being around that much talent is inspiring in so many ways!

 

 

11. What is your photography site and NewbornPhotography.com url?

 



Website  |  Facebook  |  NBP Profile | Twitter | Google+ | Instagram

 

 

12. Lastly, tell us about YOU! Who are you other than a photographer?

 

I'm a wife to a wonderfully supportive (and incredibly patient) man. I'm also a mother to a handsome little guy that is about to turn 2! I couldn't possibly love any role in more than being a mommy.

I love camping and riding horses, but I hate being dirty! If I could live out in the country on a ranch I would in a heartbeat. I've lived in California most of my life, but I'm from Texas and I think part of my heart will always be there. When I'm not working you'll probably find me at Disneyland with my little guy. We both love it there even if all we do is walk around and eat a churro. It's the little things that make me the most happy.


Would you like to be our next Spotlight Photographer? Fill out our Spotlight Photographer form HERE! We look forward to featuring you!