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What inspired you to become a photographer?
Well, I already knew I loved photography, as so many others do, but to me I didn't look at it as even a possibility of a career for myself. It felt like “Oh man, that would be a dream job!” Then I started noticing that women who were no different than me were pursuing their dream of working as a photographer – so I guess I thought “I really want to try to do that, too!“ So when I was pregnant with our daughter in early 2010, I convinced my husband that we really needed a nice camera to capture our daughter growing up. I had ulterior motives ;) But ultimately it lead me to where I am, so no harm, right :)
Describe your style in 3 words?
Light, happy, emotive.
What is in your camera bag? And what equipment did you start out with?
A Nikon D700, 50 1.4, 105 2.8, 3 CF cards, a $5 bill, hand sanitizer, a toy car & train and a packaged rice krispy treat :))
Canon Xsi, kit lens and very soon after, a 50 1.8. I never shot with the kit lens after I got the 50 1.8. I shot with only the 50 for a good year. And I leaned a ton! Rock what you got.
At what point did you specialize? And what drew you to newborn photography?
I knew from the beginning that weddings were not going to be my thing. I love kids, I love babies. So honestly it was a pretty easy decision. I practiced on my newborn daughter and my friends son who was the same age. I just enjoyed it and knew that's what I wanted to do. My focus is on newborns, babies and children.
When did you figure out your own style? How long did it take to find YOU?
I was just looking back at my very first photo “session” in early 2010 and even at that time, I knew I loved details. Baby drool, baby rolls, little serious eyes looking at me with pure wonderment (or confusion? lol). I captured the details even at the beginning, so I know that's where my heart is. I love capturing real moments – real interactions. As far as processing – at the beginning I used a lot of actions. Vintage actions, really. Over time I got to know what I wanted more, and I got more comfortable with Photoshop and eventually Lightroom. Now my workflow is pretty simple and actions aren't really a part of it. You just grow and learn and evolve, I think that's true for everyone.
What has been your best investment for your business? Camera upgrade, lens, prop, etc...
My blogsite is one of the best investments, actually. I was using a company who didn't get me high enough on searches and that was hurting me. My current site boosted me higher on search engines within the first week. Of course I have had to do some major search engine optimization (SEO) of my own. That's necessary for any business that wants to be found when someone searches online for the service they provide. The site I use is ProPhoto & I recommend it to anyone who asks which website they should go with.
Are you self-taught or did you take classes to help you get where you are?
I'm self-taught with much help from online sources with great articles from places like I Heart Faces, Clickin Moms, Inspire Me Baby and more. I soaked up everything I could and I still do. I have taken a few eLearning classes through Clickin Moms – those are a great and inexpensive way to learn something new!
Do you use natural light or studio lighting?
Natural light for me. I think it would be interesting to learn more about artificial lighting though! I don't think I'd change my style to using studio lighting, but it's always fun to learn new things.
How do you "get away" from business? What is your escape?
Just hanging out with my family, really. Our 2-year-old is pretty hilarious and she takes up much of my time these days. I find her becoming one of my best friends, she is just so lovely to be around! I guess I never thought of having a 2-year-old best friend, but that's what I have :)
What was the last book you read (not photography related)?
Make a girl blush, why don'tchya. The 50 shades series. Geez. That's embarrassing, but seriously it is not all about “it”. There is a much bigger picture & it was an easy, fun, interesting read. Well, book 1 & 2 were. The third book took a lot of effort to finish, but I needed to know the ending :) How they are going to make that into a movie is beyond me, but I'm interested to see! I vote for Ian Somerhalder for Christian!
What advice would you give to somebody just starting out?
Network with other photographers. I know my husband isn't nearly as crazy about photography as I am, nor are my friends and family. And that's ok (ok, sometimes it's a big bummer!!! you get so excited to tell someone that you just learned manual! Or you are now shooting RAW! And if they aren't into it like you are – such a buzzkill.) but I really wanted someone to talk to about all of this – someone who had a passion for it like I did. There are so many groups, forums and places you can meet other photographers. Through the last couple of years I've really met (online met, for the most part) some amazing photographers & I love that I have places I can go to chat about photography and ask questions and get great answers.
Where do you look for inspiration?
Generally I just love soaking in the images from my favorite photographers. I love to see detail shots (close ups, macro) and really just art in which the baby is showcased and not the props. If you don't mind me listing some of my favorite photographers who I have love seeing in my Facebook newsfeed – I think these photographers are inspirational and your readers would love to see their work! A few of my favorites (and I have tons of favorites, so this is just a tiny portion) to watch are Wendy White , Kristen Mackey (Son Kissed Photography), Pinkle Toes, Jennifer Cusimano, Jennifer Morrow, Rachel Vanoven, Leah Cook, Sara Seeton, My Four Hens and Erin Tole. It goes without saying that Baby as Art rocks my socks, I think they do that to just about every newborn photographer!
Who is your photographer crush??
Oooo it's a new crush! I posted her page on my Facebook fan page recently. I came across her work – it was featured on Lemonade and Lenses & I went to her blog and got lost in her images. Seriously, I dare you to go look and not feel the same way. Summer Murdock Photography. Green with envy over her mad skills.
Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
I'd like to see myself with a natural light studio space – for meeting with clients and showing them products – and possibly utilizing the space for newborns and parents. I'm not sure that's as far as 5 years away – I actually hope that can happen sooner. Dream big!
Rachael also makes some fabulous resources for photographers ... a crop comparison template, this helps your clients see how much a photo will be cut off when choosing sizes ... and blog templates, I can't stress how perfectly perfect these blog templates are! I use them about 90% of the time when posting a photo on Facebook or my website! They are simple and easy to use and make posting photos to your blog a breeze!
Crop Comparison | Blog Templates
Thank you Rachael for taking the time to answer these questions! You rock girlie :)