What inspired you to become a photographer?
I bought my first SLR during my senior year in college. I hiked and "played" outside a lot. Outdoor photography became a hobby. I started doing weddings in 2002. I didn't love it and my "real career" was giving me a lot of happiness, so I stopped shooting weddings. I didn't consider taking pictures of people again until 2007 when my son was born. It's just grown from there.
At what point did you specialize? And what drew you to newborn photography?
Oh boy. Well, I genuinely believe that you can't LOVE shooting everything. Being honest, there are some things that I try to avoid shooting. I think that if I can't LOVE shooting it, the results will be mediocre. I want people to have products from me that show my vision and happiness. Now, that can't always happen, but that's my objective. Not to be an inch deep and a mile wide, I think that's where results start to get "watered down".
What is in your camera bag?
Nikon D3, Nikon D4. All Nikon lenses- 50mm 1.4, 85mm 1.4, 24-70mm 2.8, 60mm 2.8, and an old 70-30mm from my nature days!
What has been your best investment for your business? Camera upgrade, lens, prop, etc...
I would say my new studio. I previously rented a small room to shoot in. But, I always wanted a "real life" approach to shooting. In a small room, I had to combine prop storage, seating, and storage. So basically I was limited to shooting in 2 directions. Making the leap to rent a suite has made my soul happy. I get to play, create, and do so many things that are just me. My vision, my art, my way. Being yourself and letting it all shine is liberating.
What was the last book you read (not photography related)?
Blushing... OK. So, I do love to read, but who has time honestly?! So, I bought the audio books for the "50 Shades of Grey Trilogy". So, usually when I run at the gym, I listen to music, now I'm listening to to these books. And, when I'm sitting editing, I've been listening instead of watching Letterman (you know you nocturnal edit, don't deny it!). It's a bit funny when I'm running, hearing some pretty racy stuff! But, the love story under all of that has me hooked.
Do you use natural light or studio lighting?
I use all natural lighting. Mother Nature gave us this amazingly versatile light, I love it. Sometimes, just sitting in a warm spot, with the sun on my face gives me this glowy-happy feeling. I'm a sunshine kind-of girl.
How do you "get away" from business? What is your escape?
Well, I'm not great at that, but I'm better than I used to be. I say no A LOT more. I still have a few week moments, but I'm trying to be honest about my ability and not do what I can't do very well. I (mostly) haven't been making Sunday appointments anymore. I try to shoot only day OR evening on friday and saturdays. (my husband is off on those 3 days). I forgive myself for not always meeting deadlines. The last thing that I want to do is to become an assembly line, with assembly line results. We go camping, we go to the fair or rodeo or whatever fun thing is going on and I honestly let go of the "voice" that used to nag me when I let go and tried to have fun. I want to create fun memories with my kids, and my husband for that matter.
Where do you look for inspiration?
I could talk for an hour about this! A few things. First, I like to get to my studio 30ish minutes early. I piddle around, getting ready. When everything is ready, I put together ideas and just sit and get my mind ready. My secret worst nightmare is a 15 minute early family. I prefer for them to be late. I do my best work when I've had time to focus on that day and that baby. I sound like a hippy... But, it works! Second, I love interior decorating. I like to pull pieces of things that I've seen in decorating magazines into my photos. For example, a British flag that I painted on burlap, huge, open white spaces with tons of light, light streaming in a tall windows, etc. Next, and I'll stop here more often than I care to admit; I see things. I'll be driving through a neighborhood and I'll see an awesome house ahead, but I can't quite make out all of the details of their porch area or whatever, so my mind fills in the blanks. When I get close, it's not what I saw but I feel inspired. Or I'll see a tiny thumbnail of someone's snapshot on facebook and I picture it a certain way. Then I open it and it's a plain old snapshot and not at all what my mind saw. I'm sure that sounds odd, but that's how it happens sometimes.I'm thankful that I don't need to see a picture taken by someone else and verbatim copy it. But, on the other hand, it does make it feel more personal when I see certain things copied. I feel like, "hey! I accidentally imagined that!"
When did you figure out your own style? How long did it take to find YOU?
Wow, tricky question! I think that a person's style evolves as they progress. Maybe I would go so far as to say that it become more refined? I remember thinking 4 years ago that certain props were "so cute" that today I would probably avoid. So, experience has directed me toward a more simplified approach. Also, wanting to really create timeless memories that they will love now and 10 years from now. I also think that, for me, it's important to take a picture of the child, not props or "tricks". Baby. All about the baby. A stunning baby.
When did you start your business? And are you self-taught or did you take classes to help you get where you are?
I took a camera class in college. I'll skip over my "wedding" days. My child photography "hobby" started in 2007. But, even back then, I knew that I needed to be careful and not jump into calling myself a photographer. I was practicing. Simple as that. I've been charging for about 3 years.
Shameless plug (share links to workshops and such) ...
Wendy White Photography Website
Wendy White Photography Facebook
Wendy, thank you so much for being so open and honest with us!