Awhile back, I posted a call for questions. Any question you wanted to ask me. I’ve finally sat down to put together my answers. Enjoy! I’m an open book and I promise, I have very few secrets!
How did you get into professional photography?
It’s such a unique story! So glad this question was asked! Just kidding. I was a MWAC (mom with a camera). I was having a baby, was gifted a DSLR, and decided I was going to “take great pics of my kid!”. As the story goes with most people/moms, I had no idea what I was getting into, how difficult it would be, and how LONG it would take for me to gain enough skills and confidence to proudly tell people I was a photographer. Years. It took years. Although I was a legit tax paying business since day one, it honestly wasn’t until right before I moved to Texas when I finally felt, “This is it. This is my job, this is what I love. I can do this and be respected. And proud.”
Some of my first official DSLR pictures. I’m assuming shot on auto. Lots of Gaussian blur on that dog. Let’s not discuss the lighting and posing on my guinea pigs, Doug and Amanda. Or the fact that that plant is very oddly placed.
My first official newborn, my first born, Henry. 2009.
What has been the biggest hurdle in starting your business?
Moving across the country! When I moved, business was just sort of starting to take off. I thought for sure I may never have a business again. How would I totally start over in a brand new state where we didn’t know ANYONE? Flash forward through a few casting calls, many, many strategically named blog posts to up my google ranking, and here I am. 2014 was my best year, by far, and 2015 is already shaping up to be even better just two months in. It was difficult my first year here, but I pretty much shouted what I did from the rooftops to anyone who would listen (preschool moms, garage sale posts on fb, my husband’s coworkers, etc. etc. etc). All it took was to get those few early key clients and the rest is history. Referrals from my awesome clients (gained mostly through Facebook) drive my business.
Which type of sessions are your favorite and why?
Honestly, some of my favorite sessions are sessions I don’t get a chance to do too often, and that’s couples! If you’ve had a family session with me, you know that I strongly insist you allow me to snag a few shots of you (mom and dad) alone. I love posing couples and getting really close emotional shots. But since I don’t do those too often, newborns are a very close second! Nothing beats snuggling a sweet, squishy newborn baby!
Some of my recent favorite couples (mostly moms and dads—but hey, moms and dads need pictures as a couple too!)
And some recent newborn love.
Are you happy with the work/life balance with your photography career? How do you like the balance or are you still working it out?
This seems to evolve for me every day. My general rule of thumb is to only work when my kids are sleeping. Since moving my office down to our main living area, I do small things like reply to messages/emails/send out contracts when I have the kids occupied playing at the table. Editing galleries is still mostly done during nap time and after they are in bed.
As for the rest of the work/life balance, I’m pretty lucky with an amazing husband who works with my shooting schedule (which includes nights and weekends, often during or right after dinner, pending the time of year). He rarely complains and was a trooper during this past fall which was my busiest season EVER. I honestly couldn’t do it without him. We make it work. I tend to pick locations that are close to home to minimize driving time and the time I’m away from my family. Newborn sessions are done in my home studio.
How do you find beautiful locations like the one in this photo?
Haha! I’m lucky enough to have a few photography BFFs. A few of my favorite go to locations were shared locations from ladies I’m lucky enough to call friends. Otherwise, it’s all about keeping your eyes peeled while out and about. Just like I walk around Target, Home Goods and the like asking myself “can I put a baby in that??”, I also note locations as I’m driving or out and about with the family, specifically looking during the golden hour asking myself “what kind of sun flare could I get here?” Locations are all about trying them out. I’ve been to a few spots that I thought would be gems and turned out to be a bust, and a few that I never would have guessed would give me exactly what I’m looking for.
Do you have a photog crush or people’s work you just love?
Of course! Doesn’t everybody!? What’s different for me now is that I simply admire work. Back when I was awful (like, really, really awful), I’d fawn over people’s work, wondering how I could do JUST WHAT THEY DID. Feeling discouraged that I’d never be that good. Never. Only, I don’t need that anymore. I’ve found my style, what works for me and what both my clients and I like. That’s not to say I don’t have room for improvement, because I most certainly do. I’m just glad I’ve grown to learn that I’ll only get better if I compare myself to my old self. Not everyone else. But with that being said, I absolutely love a number of my local friends as well as Blue Dandelion Photography, My Four Hens Photography, Harmony Saifer Photography, and of course Rachel Vanoven and Erin Tole.
How did you develop your editing style?
Slowly. I found “me” somewhere between late 2012 and mid 2013. In the beginning you try all kinds of cool, crazy and not so awesome things to make your pictures look “professional” (selective coloring anyone?!). But around that time, I had put a few things together in my post processing work that would look good on virtually every image I was taking (with minor tweaking pending if it was indoor or outdoor). That’s when I knew this was “my style”. I’ve since added one action to give my images a final “deeper” look, but I have zero desire to make any drastic changes to how I edit. I run the exact same set of adjustments on every image and usually just tweak the color balance.
Editing, circa 2009:
Editing, circa 2015:
What is the craziest thing you’ve had happen during a session?
You know, really nothing too crazy here, except for the much expected getting peed and pooped on by newborns.
What is your idea of a perfect day?
With kids? Summer sunshine, the park and ice cream.
Without kids? The beach with my husband and a drink in my hand.
What is the scariest thing you’ve ever done?
I’m a bit of a wimp, so my “scariest” thing is kind of lame.
Riding a jet ski in the middle of the ocean on our honeymoon. I thought it would be a casual, fun ride. But nope, it definitely wasn’t. We were led by a tour guide and had to keep up with his crazy fast speed and maneuvers. Since I don’t swim, I was completely terrified (despite having a life jacket on) of being thrown from my jet ski. I, unfortunately, have a pretty decent fear of deep water and I couldn’t wait for it to be over. The salt water (my first experience) kept splashing me in the face. I couldn’t see. I couldn’t keep up. It.was.awful.
What were the most significant catalysts which led to your current artistic photographic style?
I sort of answered this one above, but it’s pretty much been trial and error in terms of editing. I grew to love a few things I tended to do to every image, made an action out of it, and then threw on a purchased action, tweaked to my liking and I’ve found it works for every photo I take.
In terms of how I actually shoot, that’s always evolved as I’ve practiced and grown as a photographer. I lean towards tighter, more intimate shots, shooting as wide open as I can while keeping subjects in focus. I also love light. But if you are reading this, you probably know that already.
How did I learn newborn posing?
Trial and error, again. If it’s not clear yet, I’m totally self taught. Tons of time spent looking at established photographer’s images and figuring out how they a certain pose. Practice, practice, practice. With every baby, I try to do something new, or improve upon something I tried with the last baby. There are a few poses that I haven’t mastered yet, but I’m proud to say I haven’t taken a workshop yet. I should take a workshop, and NEED to take a workshop, but it’s not in the cards yet.
What do you normally shoot with?
I hope you aren’t reading this and thinking I have this dreamy lineup of lenses that line my Kelly Moore bag. Because I don’t. I shoot with the Canon 5dmiii and the 50mm f/1.2. That’s it. My two buddies and me. I wish I could tell you I have the entire army of Canon prime lenses, but I don’t. My 50 suits me well that despite wanting the 35 or 85, I have a hard time justifying it yet. I also own the 7d, and two flashes that I only bust out at weddings. But I hate flash.
What are you thinking about getting next in terms of gear?
I’m torn between the 35mm and the 85mm. People say the Sigma Art is amazing, so if I ever bite the bullet on another lens, it’d probably be one of those.
That’s me! Need more? Send me more questions!