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Spotlight Photographer: Michelle McClafferty Photo


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


I would consider my passion started in photography when my husband bought me a high-end point and shoot camera in 2001. I started by taking photos of my daughter and soon moved into doing simple birth photography to document my doula clients' births. My newborn photography business was created in 2011 as a way to have a day job that didn't need me to be on-call all the time for births. This allows me more time with my children.


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


I am located in Cary, NC. I have an in-home studio, which has taken over our living room and dining room. Who needs those rooms anyway, right?


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


I shoot with a Nikon D600. My favorite lens is the 50mm 1.4. I am looking forward to getting a macro at some point.


4. What drew you to newborn photography?


My experience as a doula, and my passion for capturing those early moments lead me into newborn photography. When I started I did not know anything about manual exposure, white balance, lighting, aperture, etc – however, I was very confident in handling the babies… which I think can sometimes be the hardest part. I also wanted to continue to support postpartum mothers. I find that during my sessions, I am still able to help new mothers with the information and support I used to share with my doula clients. Originally I wanted to just do newborns, however they grow fast. It's such a privilege to be able to see their personality emerge and to be able to capture that in the first year. Although I spent last year shooting a range of children to gain more experience. This year I plan to focus on just the first year.

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


I am still finding my style. As I enter my third year I am finding myself moving towards clean and simple. Ironically, it was Keri's work that I first got my inspiration from. There are so many talented photographers that continue to inspire me and keep me going when I want to throw in the towel. I also have the privilege to work alongside my good friend Tracy Callahan from Memories By TLC. She has taught me so much and I wouldn't be where I am today without her.

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


I was so lucky to get hooked up with Tracy Callahan within the first 6 months of starting my photography business. She has been my trainer for two years. Every session we do together is a lesson. I have also been fortunate enough to assist several workshops with her last year. I also found Creative Live this year! Wow, free online education and inspiration on a daily basis!

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


I think most newborn photographers have an overload of cute stuff, and I am no exception. I shop for props on facebook and Etsy. I seem to be draws to individual product rather than a particular vendor. Just a little warning... I have found that Etsy and wine are not a good combination if your goal is a profit at the end of the year.


8. Please share with us your top 5 favorite images! Why are they your favorites?



I love photographing newborns in their dad's hands. I remember this particular dad do exactly as I asked to get the pose and lighting right. Although the image is very sweet and comfortable looking, dad was in a very awkward and sweaty position to hold his daughter safely over the beanbag. He said he would do it again in a heartbeat. 


 This image is very special to me because I supported this family through two births. I love that I was able to capture this connection between dad and son with the baby's eyes open.


I took this image right before Christmas... She looks like the perfect gift!


This image is a long time favorite of mine. I love how you can see his belly button, as it shows just how new he is. 


I have a real soft spot for this image of a teen mom and her daughter as my first child was born when I was just 16. In all the chaos of becoming a teen mom, I felt a real responsibility to capture this sweet moment between mom and daughter.


9. What are the 3 things you wish someone would have told you when you started?

Newborn photography is the most rewarding, but possibly the hardest photography genre to do.

Correct white balance - and what it can do for you!

Be prepared to pay - website, memberships, fees, insurance, equipment, props, etc.


10. What is your photography site and url?


Website  |  NBP Profile 


11. What are your favorite things about


I have been a member since last summer and love everything about it... information, inspiration, and education all in one place :)


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


I have had a very colorful life as I seem to reinvent myself every 10 years or so. I have been a professional horse trainer, a birth doula, and a photographer. The part of me that I am most proud of is being a mother. I have two sons, Mitchell (27) and Evan (11) and a daughter, Kaylin (13). Another passion in my life is focusing on diet (yes I am a foodie) and exercise (boxing and hiking are my favs). I am also bit obsessed with curing chronic and terminal diseases with food.



Would you like to be our next Spotlight Photographer? E-mail us at with the subject “Spotlight Photographer.” We look forward to featuring you!