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Spotlight Photographer: Whitney Olson Photography


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


After graduating from Culinary school in 1999 I quickly realized working in kitchens was not for me. I got a job at a mom and pop photo lab in Durham, N.C., my hometown.  I worked there for almost seven years learning the ins and out of cameras and the processing side of things.  I printed pictures for some of the best photographers in town and soaked in as much knowledge as they were willing to share with me.  I shot my sisters wedding and fell in love with taking pictures.  I shot a few weddings after that but really found my passion for newborn photography when I had my little boy in 2009.  I officially went full time in 2011 with my focus on Newborns and their families. 


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


I live in Sun Prairie, WI.  I shoot in client's homes or at parks and natural areas.  I serve Madison, Sun Prairie and most of South Central Wisconsin.  I am also available for booking in Durham and Wilmington, NC when I am visiting family. We are planning a move back to North Carolina where I am excited to meet a community of new families to photograph! 


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


I shoot with a Canon 6D and my 50mm rarely comes off it. I have a 20-35mm that I use when I'm in the mood for something a little different.  


4. Why newborn photography? Do you photograph anything besides newborns?


I really didn't know anything about newborn photography until I had my son in 2009.  I struggled getting nice pictures of him and started researching and learning as much I could through youtube videos and stalking newborn photographers on Facebook.  I quickly realized I wanted to jump in and try! Now my main focus is Newborns but I also offer Milestone Sessions, Maternity and Family Sessions. Newborns are by far my favorite to photograph. I enjoy every step of the process…from the initial planning, snuggling the sweet babies (often before even Grandma and Grandpa), meeting new parents and editing. It brings me so much joy when parents get their pictures and are as thrilled with them as I am.


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


My "Style" has changed a lot since I first started out. I want my images to have a natural and organic feel and most importantly, I want them to be classic. I am inspired by a lot of things…in nature or props or other Newborn Photographers that I follow and look up to.


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


I have learned a lot from my father who is an artist, photographer and web designer.  I assisted and shadowed several press photographers in Durham, NC when I was first starting out. I recently won a seat to a Workshop with Dewdrops Photography by Amy McDaniel. That experience has been invaluable!  Amy helped fill in all the blanks I had been struggling with, mainly mastering studio lighting and posing. Having access to her and the rest of her other workshop attendees has been an enormous help! 


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


I find a lot of my props at garage sales, thrift stores and antique shops. My favorite online vendors are Vanilla Lullaby, The Knitting Bitty, Devoted Knits, Little Blue Bird and BitOwhimsy.


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


Wow… I am so bad at choosing just a few images! I chose the image of the twins because it was my very first twin session. I was super nervous about if I could handle 2 babies at once or if they would both sleep well for me. They were a dream to work with and I really had a blast with their Mom and Dad.  I chose the image with the brown crocheted basket and the one on the gray flokati because I look those right after my workshop with Amy. I really got to use the lighting techniques I learned. And for the other 2 pictures… They are very special to me. They are of my newest cousin Maggie who was born with Down Syndrome. Her big sister was my very first newborn model and I knew I owed to her Mommy to do a better job this time around.  



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


Can I say four?

Don't get too hung up on if your images are as good as someone else's…most professional photographers I have met question the quality of their pictures just as much as new photographers. 

Even in the beginning, charge what you are worth!  

Make nice with your local "competition". 

Don't go crazy buying props, put your money towards education and the gear you need to produce quality images. 


10. What is your photography site and url?




Blog  |   Facebook  |  NBP Profile 



11. What are your favorite things about


I joined Newborn Photography in December 2013. My favorite thing is the critique board.  Sometimes you need more sets of eyes to steer you in the right direction. I also love the Official Mentor section.  


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


I am fiercely passionate about my family.  I have a crazy energetic little boy who just turned 5, a super sweet and supportive husband and  Australian Shepherd who is "my first born". I spend as much time as possible with them and try to be the best mom and wife I can be. I also love cooking, baking, sci-fi and horror books and movies. When I am not working I am perfectly happy being home with my boys soaking in every moment I can get with them.



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