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FEB
17

Spotlight Photographer: Matt & Erika

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

 

When I was 15, I worked at a skydiving drop-zone editing free-fall videos and packing parachutes. One of the skydiving videographers gave me a Nikon film SLR camera and I would take pictures of the skydivers landing. Every now and then they would take me for a ride in the airplane and I would stick my head out the door and try to take a few shots of the people as they jumped. The 13 years following that photography was just a hobby. I did a few weddings for family members and friends, but I never really thought of doing it to make money. It wasn't until I volunteered to take newborn pictures for a friend last year that an interest sparked up. I love a challenge, and newborn photography is challenging, but also very rewarding. My wife and I officially started doing business six months ago.


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

 

We are located in Northern Virginia about 45 minutes west of Washington D.C. in a small city called Warrenton. Ninety nine percent of our newborn sessions are done in our studio. We converted two of the rooms in our house to use for photography. Our main shooting area is about 20x20 ft and we also have a second room for feeding, changing and storage


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

 

I have a Nikon D7000, which I use with a Nikon 50mm 1.4. for newborns.  I also use a Nikon 18-200 VR lens for some maternity and parent pictures. I definitively could not live without my 50mm. The 18-200 is only usable if I shoot at F8 or higher. Any aperture larger than that the pictures aren't clear enough for my standards. I'm currently trying to decide what macro lens I should buy.


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

 

I think it's the challenge. I've done many types of photography including child, families, headshots, product, architectural and a few others. Newborn photography requires a lot more finesse and patience to get great pictures. I was also attracted to the idea of having something my wife and I could do together. Its nice when you can share an activity you love with the one you love.


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

 

To be honest I'm still trying to find my style. Most of my inspiration comes from other newborn photographers. With so many other photographers out there it's difficult to be original.   


6. Have you taken any photography workshops and/or training?

 

I  have not personally attended any workshops or training classes. My training includes a few Scott Kelby books, Creative Live seminars, and of course YouTube. I'm sure like a lot of other photographers out there I have learn much by trial and error. Practice really does make perfect.


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

 

99% of my purchases come from the Internet. Custom photo props, Mr. & Mrs. And Co., Fancy Fabric, Roses and Ruffles, Kaitybug's Kreations to name a few. My favorite vendor is Little Lidz.

 

8. Please share with us your top 5 favorite images!

 

My photography is changing so much it seems like I have a new favorite every session. It's so hard to pick a favorite, but I think I like these the most because they were exactly what I was trying to achieve. I love when I have a vision of a particular photo and everything works out the way I had hoped. Especially after you have a nightmare session. Those suckers really bring you down, but the great sessions keep you wanting more.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

9. What are 3 you wish someone would have told you when you started your studio?


Buy Photoshop, buy a Wacom tablet, and buy instructional videos. As business owners we can be overtaken by our business. Whether it be advertising/SEO work, editing, website upkeep, or something else, running a successful business takes a lot of time especially in the beginning. Figuring out ways to be effective and efficient is critical to maintaining a normal life and good health. For me a few of those things are Photoshop, a Wacom tablet and instruction videos. Photoshop and a Wacom tablet gave me all the tools I would ever need to create a product worth purchasing. The Internet has so much information and if you look long enough you probably will find what you’re looking for, free. However, you may spend so much time that it's not worth it. My advice is to spend the money on some good instruction rather the hours searching for the free stuff. Most of the time the quality is going to be much better anyways. You will learn a lot more in a shorter amount of time and free up precious hours to spend with God, your family or whatever else is important to you.

  

 

10. What  are your favorite things about NewbornPhotography.com?

 

I joined for a month when I first started business, but I was so busy with everything else I never got involved and let the membership expire. So really I have only been an active member for about a month. I feel a little out of place being one of the only if not the only guy, but so far it's been a positive experience. It’s just nice to be surrounded by people with a common goal and to have a place where we can share information with each other and keep up with the industry happenings.



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

 

Well, I was born and raised in northeastern Pennsylvania in a small town called Mountain Top. I have two brothers and 5 sisters. When I was 13 I stared learning how to fly and I got my pilots license when I was 17. I love to be outdoors and a few of my favorite hobbies are powered paragliding, car racing, and golf. Currently I work for the FAA as an Air Traffic Controller and my wife runs the business when I'm at my other job. I've been married to my wonderful wife for seven and a half years and currently we don't have any children, but hope to change that very soon. I can't imagine life without my wife. Nothing would ever be happy unless I had her by my side. I really enjoy helping people. I hope sometime in the not too distant future I can start giving some type of photography instruction. Last, but certainly not least, God is most important in my life. I believe that if God is centered around everything that I do then success in life, true success is certain.