1. How did you get started in photography and when did you start your business?
I started learning photography right after my wedding in the summer of 2010. We knew we wanted to start trying for babies right away and I wanted us to have pretty pictures of our kids lives and adventures. So, I took classes with our wedding photographer (Weddings by Heather) who is an awesome photographer and teacher. I learned so much so quickly! I also read all kinds of articles online and learned to use my camera really well. Our son was born almost a year to the date later and I posted some of my photos of him on Facebook. I got a lot of questions about people wanting to know if I could take photos for them and since I was on maternity leave at the time, I did. I returned to my regular job after 12 weeks of leave but then put in my 2 weeks notice 2 weeks after that because I could no longer handle the time commitments of my 3 month old, photography, and a full time job. Luckily, my husband was very supportive of my decision! I officially became a full time photography business in October 2011.
2. Where are you located? Do you have a studio space or do you shoot on-location?
In the suburbs of Pittsburgh, PA. I have a home-based studio where I do all of my newborn photography. It is brand new with a seating area, refreshment bar, changing table, and separate spots for beanbag and prop/parent shots. I love it!
3. What do you shoot with and what are your favorite lenses?
Nikon D700. For newborns, I use a 50mm 1.8. I use the 105mm 2.8 for my macro shots. For any outdoor shoots I do, I absolutely love my 70-200mm 2.8.
4. Why newborn photography? Do you photograph anything besides newborns?
Aside from always loving babies, I think I love newborns, especially now, because that’s the stage of life I am in, with a 3 year old and an 8 month old of my own. I think capturing this stage of life is of the utmost importance and obviously something you can never go back to.
Also, I base all of my business decisions on what is best for my family. I started shooting mostly weddings and I also tried older kids and family photography when I was first starting out. I did not like being away from my family on Saturdays for weddings (or editing 500 photos) so that took weddings out of the picture. Older kids don’t listen to me, haha, so that was out too. I love that newborn sessions are predictable and (for the most part) controllable. I can set my lighting, and blankets and props ahead of time and I never have to worry about the weather. I also love that I can do these sessions during the weekdays so I have my evenings and weekends to spend with my family.
I’m pretty much only photographing newborns but I will accept an occasional maternity, 6 month, or 1 year shoot for my newborn clients.
5. How would you describe your style and where do you find your inspiration?
My newborn style is very controlled and posed. I’m very particular about hand and finger placement. I have everything set-up and planned out ahead of time and follow a posing workflow that works well for me.
I find my inspiration from props or blankets I see and buy and also from other photographers. I have a love/hate relationship with Pinterest and Facebook!
6. Have you taken any photography workshops and/or training?
I learned a lot of photography fundamentals right away from Heather of Weddings by Heather. I took editing workshops, did one-on-one mentoring, and second shot weddings with her. She taught me editing and post-processing workflow which did wonders for my efficiency. I also did some online photo critiques and business-type review stuff with a few other photographers that really helped me take things to the next level. I also recently went to a newborn photography workshop. Continued improvement is very important to me.
7. Where do you like to shop for your props? Do you have favorite vendors?
I like and get a lot of my stuff from “Baby Girl Dreams,” “Sebastian Seven,” and Garys Angel.” I browse for stuff on Etsy and RTS on Facebook. I also always keep my eyes peeled when I’m at stores like TJ Maxx and Homegoods.
8. Please share with us your top 5 favorite images! Why are they your favorites?
I picked these images because I love the colors and props we used in these sessions and the babies look so cute in them! These photos pretty much sum up what a typical newborn session with me would look like. These are the most of the basic poses we’d do, adding in different angles/hats/headbands with each one. I also had to add in a sample twin photo because I’ve had 10 sets of twins in the past year.
9. What are three things you wish someone would have told you when starting out?
1. I was lucky to have great advice from the beginning! But I didn’t follow all of it as much as I should have! I wish I could stick to having stricter office hours to separate business from the rest of life better, but that’s something I’m still working on! I like to grow and work on my business but I hate taking time away from my family to do so! I have an entire notebook and more full of ideas that I’d like to try...maybe when my kids are school-aged I’ll do some!
2. For the first few months I was in business, I had low prices in order to build my portfolio but I burnt out so quickly. When I raised my prices to where they should have been all along, I lost some clients along the way due to the new sticker shock. What I probably should have done was have my prices at what they needed to be from the beginning but offer special incentive pricing off the normal prices to the first couple of clients.
3. I really wish I would have paced myself better from the beginning! I still feel like I am playing catch-up sometimes. In some ways, my business blew up overnight, right at the same time I had my own infant. It was HUGE life adjustment and a few things got put into place without the research and time I would have liked to have put into them. So, to new photographers, before you officially open your doors as a legit business, take the time to research what products you want to offer, find vendors you like, create a comprehensive contract, get an accountant and have good book-keeping, get proper insurance, understand the legal structure of your business, know the taxes you have to collect and pay, develop and stick to your policies, set up a nice website/blog, etc. Most importantly, make sure you understand it all! Get someone to help and teach you, if needed. Don’t just do the quickest and easiest thing only to have to go back and make time consuming changes later.
10. What is your photography site and NewbornPhotography.com url?
NBP Profile |
11. What are your favorite things about NewbornPhotography.com?
I love being also to post photos and get critiques and advice from other newborn photographers. I also love the monthly online chats with some really talented photographers and business minds. I love the studio tours too! I’ve been a member since 2013.
12. Lastly, tell us about YOU! Who are you, other than a photographer?
Most importantly, I am a mom! I have 2 kids and a great husband too. Even though photography is full time, I make every effort to spend all seconds of my free time with them. I base all of my decisions on what is best for our family. The business comes second! I’m just extremely lucky enough to make money at something I love to do; so even when I take time away from them to work, I still feel pretty good about it!
A few other things...I live in my robe. The only time I am not in it is when I pick up my 3 year old from pre-school or when I have a session... I have mom-guilt whenever I am away from my kids...I exist on Starbucks Cafe Mochas... I love TV...I can’t remember the last time I cooked something...I have mom brain... I can’t wait to take my kids to Disney World one day...We just built a new house!
Would you like to be our next Spotlight Photographer? E-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject “Spotlight Photographer.” We look forward to featuring you!