Q. Welcome, Whitney! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Well, I’m 27 years old, married to the love of my life and my muse, Nick. We have 3 unique, creative little boys: Mason (8), Daiden (3) and Eli (18m). I operate in Myrtle Beach, SC. I also have a 2nd business making handmade props for photographers, Studio 412 Boutique
Q. How and when did you get into photography?
I have loved creating art since I can remember. When I was in 6th grade I won a scholarship to Columbus College of Art and Design’s youth program and while attending I fell in love with photography. My dad was a nature photographer as well, so he inspired me greatly. Then in high school I took photography classes all 4 years and just never put my camera down.
Q. How long have you been in business and what do you specialize in?
I have officially been in business for 3 years. In the middle of 2011 I announced my intent to specialize in maternity and newborn photography and in 2012 I added birth photography to that list. I can’t stress enough how happy I am that I chose to focus on babies, birth and bellies.
Q. Natural light v. studio light?
Right now I shoot natural, but I am flirting with the idea of incorporating some studio strobes in there soon.
Q. Tell us about your camera gear. Any gear on your wish list?
I’m a Nikon girl! I shoot with the D700 and mostly my 50mm 1.4. I also own a 60mm 2.8 macro and a 24-70mm 2.8. My wishlist is about a mile long, but my next purchase will most likely be a super wide angle for beach maternity sessions.
Q. How would you describe your style of shooting; your style of editing?
Hmmm….It has taken me forever to really find my style, I’m finally to the point where I really feel that “this is me”. I feel like my style is soft and simple. I don’t use a ton of props, I prefer to showcase baby’s newness rather than crowd my photos with props.
Q. What’s your favorite subject to photograph?
I feel like I should say my children, but most photographers will tell you that their most challenging subjects are their own kids.
I just don’t think I can pick a favorite because I love all three subjects for different reasons. I love maternity because it is such a fulfilling thing to make a woman feel absolutely gorgeous when she sees her beautiful pregnant body. Especially knowing how gross I felt when I was pregnant. Birth is just indescribable. I’m a bit of a birth junky, so for me, being in the room witnessing such a miracle, well it’s not something I can put into words. Then there are newborns, I just love that I’ve been given the privilege of capturing these first days of a baby’s life. I know that they are over so quick and I take the task as a huge responsibility. Besides, who doesn’t love cuddling a brand new baby for a few hours.
Q. What’s your favorite time of day to take photos?
Indoors – late morning. Outdoors – golden hour.
Q. What’s your best marketing tool? Where do most of your clients come from?
Word of mouth, definitely. Networking with other local businesses has been great too. Really though, giving a client an amazing experience and having them tell all their friends is the best marketing.
Q. What has been the best advice you have received on your photography journey?
Don’t look at what everyone else is doing, especially local photographers. It’s easy to get caught up in what everyone else is doing and lose sight of yourself. I have a great relationship with several local photographers, I do peek at their work from time to time to be supportive, but I do not look to them for inspiration.
Q. What’s something you wish you knew when you first started out?
How to price properly. Oh geez, this is a big one. I was totally clueless about pricing and because of that I had plenty of bumps in the road along my journey. I highly recommend that anyone starting out read Easy as Pie. It changed my life and my business. I also wish I would have known how profitable in home ordering is. No more online web galleries for me anymore.
Q. From what or whom do you draw your creative inspiration?
Honestly, I find inspiration in everything. I live at the beach and there are so many beautiful sights to see around here. When I’m feeling uninspired I just take my camera and go outside. I am also greatly inspired by my clients, each session is different and unique in its own way. I love incorporating my clients’ personalities into their images.
Q. Any parting words of inspiration or tips for those starting out?
Take it slow and have fun with it, but remember it’s a business. Too many photographers start out with the passion and desire for photography and completely overlook the business aspect of it. I am totally not a business mind, but I have learned to love that aspect of it as well and my business is better off for it. If you treat it like a business from the beginning you have such a better chance of being successful, and who doesn’t love being successful doing something they love!?
Thank you, Whitney, for sharing with us!! It was such a pleasure.