This week’s featured photog is Amanda Leatherberry Photography! I just love her newborn work and you will too! Enjoy!
Q. Welcome, Amanda! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
A. Well, I’m 34 (for a few more months!)….I’ve been married for going on 15 years now and we have four amazing children….a daughter named Loudon & 3 sons, Abe, Tommy & Gus. We live outside of Pensacola Florida.
Q. How and when did you get into photography?
A. I toyed with my dad’s old film camera while in high school and I always loved taking pictures but I didn’t get really serious about photography until my third child turned one. I had a desire to learn to take beautiful photographs of my kids so my wonderful husband bought my first DSLR and I began shooting (with my children) & learning everything I could by practicing and reading. It became a slight obsession and I fell in love with it.
Q. How long have you been in business and what do you specialize in?
A. I’m currently in my second year of business. I drug my feet with starting a business because I wanted to be absolutely sure I was ready I think too many people just jump straight into business after getting their first camera….I didn’t want to be that photographer
I specialize in newborns. I love everything about them. Newborn sessions can be long & tedious but so much fun! I’m honored every single time I get to photograph a new baby. I get to be there to share in the joy of these new parents and I get to be the one who preserves this tiny, fleeting period forever. I get to freeze time.
Q. Natural light v. studio light?
A. All natural light at this point.
Q. Do you shoot in a studio or at the client’s home?
A. Up until recently I was shooting in my clients homes….I still offer that option but I also have created a small shooting space where I live and I’ve done a few of my latest sessions there. The light there is so beautiful. I’m hoping to build a small studio on our land soon where I can shoot newborn sessions and maybe even capture a few outdoor images in my fields too.
Q. Tell us about your camera gear. Any gear on your wish list?
A. I shoot with 2 cameras…the original Canon 5D with a Canon 100mm macro 2.8L for my detail shots & a Canon 5D MkII with a Canon 50mm 1.4 lens typically. (Using 2 cameras during my newborn sessions helps my flow…no changing lenses out when I want some gorgeous close up detail shots). I own the 24-70 2.8L & 85mm 1.8 (both Canon) but I usually reserve those for outdoor sessions. My 100mm lens is a great outdoor portrait lens too. I’d love to get the Canon 5D MkIII & the 50mm 1.2L at some point but I’m happy with what I have for now.
Q. How would you describe your style of shooting; your style of editing?
A. Simple. I will throw a cute hat or sometimes a headband or a wrap in a few photos but I hate prop heavy images. There is nothing more beautiful than a new baby…what else do you need? I like the focus of my images to be the baby so that my images are timeless. And I’m a tad bit obsessed with detail shots…ask anyone who knows me! The lashes….the fingers & toes….belly buttons….those little mouths….gah! Some of my favorite images. Think about it. 10 years down the road, most parents can close their eyes and picture what their new baby looked like….but do they remember how their daughter’s eyelashes curled up on the ends? The cute oval shape their belly button made? How their son’s top lip came down slightly over the bottom just on the right side? I get to preserve that for my families. How awesome is that?!
My editing is clean & simple. I don’t do much editing…I want these babies to look like they did in person…no unrealistic skin tones and rarely do I remove red from their skin either unless they are extremely red babies. I like to leave a little bit of that natural pinkness in place. I do very minor tweaking in ACR (if needed) and then very minor adjustments to midtones and contrast in CS5….other than a few skin touch ups with the spot healing tool or some minor cloning (if needed), that’s about it. I will use Portraiture at a very low opacity if I have a baby who needs a little extra help with skin smoothing.
Q. What’s your best marketing tool? Where do most of your clients come from?
Hmmmm….marketing? That’s probably my downfall. I don’t do enough. Most of my clients come from google & referrals or word of mouth.
Q. What has been the best advice you have received on your photography journey?
A. To believe in myself. You want to be a newborn photographer? Do it! What’s holding you back? You will never regret the risks you take in life…only the ones you don’t take! (my hubby is a smart man!)
Q. What’s something you wish you knew when you first started out?
A. That I wouldn’t use half the props I had hoarded for the few years I practiced and prepared. I found out after I started….I’m a simple girl.
Q. Who or what are your photography inspirations?
A. I honestly don’t have a lot of free time to look around at other photographers work. I adore the newborn work of Kristen Cook (Melbourne, Australia). I wish I had more time to follow her work consistently.
Q. Any parting words of inspiration or tips for those starting out?
A. Practice. A lot. Get your photos as close to perfect straight out of camera as you can. Editing should be done to enhance a photo…not fix it. Don’t just jump in immediately with a business either. It’s tempting to want to start a business right away but you need to make sure you’re ready first. Start with your pricing…I think pricing is one of the biggest errors new photographers make. Your pricing has to be profitable and running a photography business is expensive.
And be original. There’s nothing wrong with gaining inspiration from other photographers….but you want your images to scream YOU….not a copy of someone else’s work.
Also…shoot what you love. There is no reason you have to shoot everything. As a matter of fact, why be mediocre at ten types of photography when you can be fabulous at one type? Shoot what you love….It shines through in your images….I’ve been told that it does in mine
Thank you, Amanda, for taking the time to sit down and chat with us and to share your work!
You can find Amanda at the places below. Be sure to visit her Facebook page and leave her some love!