Blog Entries, Personal,

A Little of This and A Lot of That…About Me and My Photography Journey.

So, this post is a teensy bit overdue, seeing as how I prompted my FB fans for questions – oh – 9 days ago.  But there’s this little thing called work/family balance (I talk about it at the end) that came into play here.  Thus… 9 days, a weekend out of town, a newborn session, a thorough inbox cleaning, 27 meals, 8 loads of laundry, 2 Skype mentoring sessions, a birthday boy (who also fought a fever this entire week), and cleaning poop off of the bathroom floor – yes, did that a literal 30 minutes ago…..HERE’s the blog post!

I attempted to answer most of your questions…of course, there were a few questions about posing/wrapping/etc. that out of respect for my workshop/1:1 attendees, I didn’t feel I could answer in a blog post.  J  In no particular order….

How long have you been a photographer?

Hobbyist….oh, probably since high school – yes, I was the one who “styled” my younger brother and sisters and took them around our family farm, taking their photos with my disposable camera.  No joke.  I still have those photos!  lol   Professionally….around 3 years.  When I started, I didn’t want to “specialize” in any one genre but have since felt my heart led toward newborns, children, and families.

What made you want to be a newborn photographer?

I enjoy every part of newborn photography, the session preparation, snuggling/posing/photographing, editing, presenting the images, album design – everything!  Anyone who knows me personally knows that if there’s a baby in the room, I am usually the one holding him/her.  🙂   I just simply LOVE babies.  My love for these sweet babes has transpired professionally into my love for newborn photography.  In the past few years, newborn photography has evolved into quite an art form and I am always so honored to capture each one in their first few days of life!   …and no, being pooped and peed on doesn’t faze me a bit.  😉

What was your very FIRST DSLR? And what is your DREAM DSLR?

Ahhh….my very first DSLR.  I feel as if I’m about to divulge juicy information about my first kiss or something!   😉   The first DSLR that I had a chance to work with was a Canon Rebel xti…I borrowed it from a friend and took it on a family vacation – and fell in love.  But I had to give it back.  🙁   About 6 months or so after that, he decided to sell it so I snatched it up and it was mine, ALL MINE!!!  That’s what I officially started my business with and since upgraded to a Nikon D90, and then to what I use now {and have nicknamed my third baby}, my Nikon D700.   As far as my Dream DSLR?  I suppose I would pick the most expensive Nikon that is known to man. 😉  Actually, I wouldn’t mind keeping my D700 forever…but I DO have a few lenses on my “to buy” list….I think it’s more important to invest in great glass than to simply have a fantastic camera.

Have you ever made a business move that felt like a real flop??

Wellllllll, I think that in starting any new business there are going to be “lessons learned” along the way – I have them even now!  It’s important as a new photographer to establish {as soon as possible} your target market, pricing structure, shooting & post-processing style, and build a FB page & a blog/website.  Once you have those items nailed down, you have a vision for yourself and your clients and can run with it!

If your home was on fire and all you could do is spare a single picture – which picture would be most meaningful to spare?

haha!  This question made me giggle….but also made me THINK!  I’m going to cheat and say that I’d grab my iMac while running out the door.  🙂  Sorry Adam, lame answer, I know.

Being a natural light photographer located in the midwest, how do you approach sessions in the winter when the light is not the greatest?

Crank up that ISO, baby.  I also start my sessions later in the morning than in the summer so the sun has some time to rise.

How do you market yourself?

Really, my business depends greatly on word-of-mouth from my current/past clients.  If they are pleased with my work and the way that I run my business, they’re going to tell others!  🙂  Facebook, as we all know, has been an important tool for my business as well – it keeps me in front of potential clients, vendors, and other photographers.  I also market *myself* – not just my business…I want you to “know” me through my page, so I’ll occasionally post a funny personal story, what kind of chai I’m drinking that morning, what music I’m listening to, etc….because I enjoy establishing connections that aren’t purely business related.  I’ve made tons of friends from my page, simply from being able to interact with everyone on a more personal level.  So, by all means – if you’re a “silent follower,” – speak up!  I love interacting with other photographers and fans!  🙂

What is your #1 “go to” trick when you have a fussy baby that won’t sleep during a session?

If I have a newborn who’s a little fussy or hasn’t quite fallen asleep yet, the first thing I turn to are my collection of wraps – this tends to sooth them quite well and allow me to at least photograph them while they’re awake without having their little arms flailing all around.  🙂

Do you ever go back and look at your work from when you started? Is there a big difference?

HAHA!!! Oh dear, yes.  I’ll admit it.  I was one of the awesome ones who edited my first official sessions in Picasa and Piknick.  Ain’t gonna lie.  Ain’t gonna say they were fabulous either, though.  And if I wasn’t shooting completely in Auto mode, this is where I’d begin to tell you that my images were just SO spectacular SOOC that I didn’t need anything fancy like Photoshop for post-processing.  😉  Truth is, I knew where I wanted to be with my photography but didn’t know how to get there, other than practice, practice, and more practice.  And that’s just what I did.  I think as artists, we’re always evolving and honing our craft, so yes – my work definitely looks different than it did when I first started, a good different.  🙂

How do you balance running a business and having personal life/family?

This is probably one of the hardest and most frequently re-visited parts of my business.  Taking cues from my husband always helps.  🙂  I am thankful that he has helped me structure my business in a way that allows me creative freedom yet doesn’t drain the life out of my family and “me” time.  What has been key for me is that I only accept a certain amount of sessions per week/month.  I don’t stay up past midnight editing/emailing every night – in fact, I don’t think I’ve edited past midnight YET – I won’t allow myself to become so busy and over-extended that I have to do that.  (shew!)  I also try to literally turn off my computer on some days so sitting down for a quick minute (that turns into an hour of sitting with my back to my kids) isn’t an option.   The most important part to this balancing act? My family takes precedence over my business.  Always.

Here’s a photo of a note my daughter left on my desk the other day – I will probably keep it right by my computer for a long time, what a great reminder that my family is #1, not my work.  🙂

There you have it.  That was a fun little exercise for me…I think I’ll ask for more “personal” questions next time…get yours ready!  (And hopefully you won’t have to wait 9 days for the answer.)  😉