Lately it seems as though I have been getting a lot of questions from other photographers, prospective clients or just interested people about me, my photography business, and well a lot of little random things. Normally my blog posts are reserved for showing a few images from sessions and a few personal posts here and there. I’ve decided though, that I would like others to get to know a little bit about the person behind the camera 🙂 For this to work, I would like it to be INTERACTIVE. If you have questions, post them below— here on my blog. I will get started with just a few questions that I tend to hear regularly:
How did you learn photography? How did you get started?
Like many other female photographers out there I got started (surprise, surprise) after the birth of my first child. Yes, I was/am a MWAC (“Mom with a Camera”) About 3-4 months after Josie was born I convinced my husband that I should get a DSLR camera and start “learning photography.” I joined a photography discussion on a pregnancy forum that I was on before and after having my daughter and I loved it. On facebook people kept commenting on my images saying how “great” they were. Looking back on them now, I am utterly embarrassed by the quality and over-processing on some of those images, but hey…we all start somewhere right? My photography was beginning to take up a lot of my time as my daughter grew and I knew that I needed to be compensated for the time but I didn’t want to run a business without having more knowledge of the business-side, so I joined some online photography forums and the Professional Photographers Association (PPA). I needed a BIG reality check and thankfully I got it by joining “Clickin’ Moms” a forum for hobbyist and professional photographers. After posting some images for critiques and getting some feedback I began to learn that those images Uncle X and Aunt Z said were “AMAZING!!!!!” on facebook, really weren’t professional quality. I should NOT have been in business. I needed to learn more. My former life in education helped me to understand that I needed to learn foundations and basics before anything else. I signed up for many online classes and decided to make a weekend trip to Chicago to attend several classes at the “Chicago Photography Academy.” I also signed up for a couple “Live Learn” classes in St. Louis offered by Canon as well as a few other in-person workshops and classes there. I LOVED taking in-person classes and invested a LOT of money and time into them. I also decided to attend the PPA national conference in New Orleans. For me personally, it was through taking these courses and my membership in Clickin’ Moms that my photography truly started to grow. I could have stayed a MWAC with over-processed, out of focus, cheesy images and slapped a watermark on my images and said “I have a business!” I could have charged very little for my art, not been compensated for my time, given out a sub-quality product and not invested in the education & equipment that I did. But that isn’t me. When I do something, I want to do it right. I realized that I wanted to offer QUALITY and in order to do so I had to take steps to continually improve my art. I also needed to be passionate about it. Once I decided to focus on only maternity, birth & babies is truly when I found that passion. It was a very scary transition, as I wasn’t sure if cutting out families, seniors and children would feel restrictive. I have to say though, that it was when I found my focus that I REALLY began to feel even more passionate about what I did. I joined a mentorship program on birth photography, I did several online workshops with a photographer whose work I adored (Milk & Honey Photography out of Canada) and I went and took an in-person newborn mentorship with one of my photography idols (Laura Brett out of Atlanta.) All of these things have gotten me where I am today. I also continue to stay active on forums and am continually trying to improve my art.
How did you get into birth photography?
Once on the clickin’ moms forum, I learned of this thing called “Birth Photography.” I was initially curious as I thought “What is beautiful about birth….gross?!” Then I saw some of the amazing work of some very talented birth photographers. I viewed the birth story videos of people I didn’t even know and was crying my eyes out. I learned of a talented birth photographer, Lyndsay Stradtner, who had a mentorship program through her “Birth Experience.” After joining and learning more and more about birth photography, I invited one of my newborn clients to let me “try it out” on them and after sharing that emotional experience with them, I was sold.
Do you allow parents and siblings to be a part of your newborn sessions?
Heck yes! While the majority of the time in my newborn sessions is focused on the baby, I love capturing a couple images of parents and their child and a sibling and baby. I usually need to know ahead of time so that I can prepare my set-up, but even if you don’t think you will look or feel you best I always suggest getting at least one image of you and your baby. Siblings shots are a little harder, especially if the older sibling is under the age of 2 1/2, but I usually have a couple tricks up my sleeve to at least get one cute image of your children together.
What do you shoot with? Camera, lenses, lighting?
Currently I use a Canon 5D Mark III camera body. I will say though that my Canon Rebel was a rock star for a long time before I upgraded to the 5DMII and then my current camera. I suggest both Canon or Nikon, really it just depends on whatever you prefer. When I started out I liked the “feel” of the rebel T2i and thus I went the Canon direction. Per the advice of many experienced photographers on Clickin’ Moms, I invested in good, quality lenses BEFORE upgrading my body style. My first lens was a “middle of the road” lens, the 50mm 1.4. I LOVE this lens and even though it costs a TON less than some of my other lenses, it is still one of my favorites. For newborn sessions I tend to use a 35mm f/1.4L, 100mm f/2.8L and my trusty 50mm. I also use studio lighting with my newborns. For birth photography, I tend to use my 24-70mm f/2.8L lens, as I don’t always have the ability to move around the room and need the zoom capability. I always use available lighting with birth photography and never use my flash.
If I have a session with you, do I need to bring anything to my session? Props? Clothing? Where do you buy your wraps, props, headbands, etc?
Hello, my name is Vicky and I am a “propaholic.” Whether it be cute hats, headbands, blankets, buckets, you name it…I am addicted. For my clients it means that you do not HAVE to bring anything to your session— although you are welcome to! Fortunately for me, I love to be crafty and I learned to crochet, so my pocket book doesn’t ALWAYS suffer. I make a ton of the items I use in my sessions, but I am always on the hunt for unique items in every day stores. I also support some prop businesses as well (Custom Photo Props, Bailey’s Knits, TAoPaN, are a couple of my favorites.)
So….I heard you are pregnant? Are you still taking on new clients? When will you be returning after maternity leave?
Ummm, yes. If you have seen me lately, you definitely know that I am pregnant. I am due the second week of March with our second child, a baby boy. While I will be taking some time off to spend with him, I will not be leaving photography. Currently I have sessions scheduled into February and will likely be off from March through June. I have had a couple folks contact me regarding June dates and depending on how I feel at that time I may make exceptions and begin doing a session here or there 🙂 While I am sure he will be a great subject in those first couple months, I also have a newborn photographer for my little guys debut…as it’s always harder to capture your own (plus recovering from a c-section is going to create some challenges I am sure.) I also think that I may like a picture or two and me and my little guy together! Anyway, so that’s it for this edition of “Getting to know me!” As I said, I would like it to be more INTERACTIVE. If you have questions, post them below here on my blog. In fact, just comment below to let me know you read it and if something was interesting to you or you would like to know more- let me know! -Vicky