This week’s featured photographer is Rachael Myers Photography! I love pretty much everything about Rachael, including her branding, super sweet logo, her positive and upbeat personality that you can witness while she comments on and shares other photographers’ work. Oh yeah, and her work is pretty awesome too
Q. Welcome, Rachael! Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Thank you for having me! I consider myself pretty boring – just a homebody with a goofy 2-year-old and a pretty awesome & supportive husband. We are cat people – we have 2 cats who were our babies before we had a real baby. There are certain shows I must watch (only by DVR, otherwise toddler TV is on!) such as : Real Housewives of OC, Revenge, Pretty Little Liars and The Walking Dead. I love sweets. I hate bugs. I turn the big 3-0 in a couple months and I’m not sure how I feel about that!
Q. How and when did you get into photography?
In early 2010 when we were expecting our daughter I convinced my hubby we needed a nice camera to document her growing up. Although that was true, I also really wanted to try to make something of my love of photography. We bought what was so expensive to us at the time – a Canon Xsi with kit lens. I really had to convince my husband that we ‘needed’ that (almost) $700 camera. I did free sessions for friends and looking back, thank goodness they were free. I knew nothing. But I learned something with every new session and luckily, our friends were just happy to have someone take their photos so they were great to practice on. From there and after having my daughter I just continued learning more and more about photography and the business of it through online reading, chatting with photographer friends and hands on experience. I still learn something new all of the time!
Q. What do you specialize in?
I specialize in newborns, babies and children.
Q. Natural light v. studio light?
Natural light. I do not own a flash, though I have been curious about maybe purchasing a softlight in the past when talking to other newborn photographers about it. Some low-light situations with newborns are unfavorable so having a reliable source of light at all times does sound nice – but thus far I’ve always been able to make it work.
Q. Tell us about your camera gear. Any gear on your wish list?
I use a Nikon D700. My only lens until recently was the 50 1.4. The newest lens I have is the Nikon 105 2.8 micro. I love that lens for details on newborns. But my 50 is what I use for everything else. On my wish list : 85 1.4G, 35 1.4G. I’m a prime gal!
Q. How would you describe your style of shooting; your style of editing?
My style of shooting… Lifestyle/Journalistic. I ask my clients to act as if I’m not there – and that can be difficult at first, but we chat and talk and if needed I lightly direct or ask them to do something – but there is no right or wrong way to do what I suggest – just however they do it. With kids I love to get on their level and play. At first I like to talk to them, run around with them, become their friend. I want them to know we’re going to have fun! I act pretty goofy and I’m sure parents think I’m nuts, but as long as the kids laugh, I’m cool with it!
My editing style is pretty simple – I import my photos to Lightroom, tweak exposure/WB & then transfer to Photoshop for curves/levels tweaking. I like my photos to have a slight softness or haze to them. I used to spend soooo much money on actions – I hate to think of all the money I wasted. I have them backed up on an external but not many are in my Photoshop program. I have a few go-to’s that are just easier to push play than go through manually myself in PS, but I think (and maybe it’s just me, I only know my experience) with time and experience you learn to do most things yourself so you don’t need to rely on actions. That said, there are still times I get super tempted to try new actions I see! I just love pretty things! I admit
Newborns and children. Kids are so stinking smart and funny and unpredictable. I love that. I love to get to know them and make a friend out of them by the end of the session. When I can tell I’ve won them over, it’s the best feeling. Newborns are just so precious – and those details are something I could photograph day in and day out. The flaky skin, the chunks, the rolls, the lashes, the belly buttons, the hairy skin……yeah. And seeing the connection between the new parents and this new little life they created together – there’s nothing like it. I admit, I am really partial to mom and baby together – because I know how miraculous it feels to know that your body made this perfect little human. It’s a bond like no other, mother and child.
The hour before sunset, hands down!!! I let my clients know that – but I’m always willing to make exceptions to accommodate sleep schedules. I let them know why that time of day is my favorite and 99% of the time it’s never a problem.
Q. How do you balance working and motherhood?
It’s not easy and I only have one child! I know there are many mommas out there with more than I have – so all I can speak for is myself. I have to constantly remind myself that I don’t need to be doing something for my business at all times. That it’s more important to be there (body AND mind) with my child. With phones so accessible and computers so handy – it can be a challenge. I take no more than 2 sessions per week and I recently set business hours to try to maintain some balance. No weekend responses to emails or phone calls and there are now set times for weekdays when I will respond to emails and phone calls. I try very hard to stick to those times – but I do falter. I’m not perfect! Customer service is so super important to me so I like to be timely in my responses – but I do have to remind myself that I have set boundaries and need to stick to them.
The business part of it. In a perfect world, I’d have a partner who was the business end and I’d just be the creative spirit. However, it’s only me running my business so I have to do the icky parts, too. Keeping tabs on expenses and income, taxes, paperwork in general. I know photography seems like an awesome and fun job – and it is! – but most of it is dealing with the business end and for me, that’s not fun. It’s just a necessary part of it if you’re serious about having your own business.
The good old “focus on you and your business” advice. One could go looney looking around and comparing oneself to all of the other outrageously talented artists out there. I love to see other photographers’ work – I love it so much – but when I feel like it’s taking me over and I’m feeling down about my own work, I have to shut it down. I have to get back to me and my work. Only compare yourself to your old work – and see how far you’ve come. And remember that everyone started somewhere, and it likely wasn’t anywhere near what they are capable of doing today.
That working in Auto is not working at all – the camera is doing the bulk of it. You are just pointing where to take the picture and clicking the shutter but you aren’t doing the actual work.
I love photographers who have soft, airy, beautiful, happy, fun, candid images. Some of my favorite real-life inspiration is just seeing moments that happen in life – just being out and about and seeing kids and their parents interacting and knowing that maybe they aren’t even aware of the beautiful moment going on between them – that is something I love to capture for my clients – the moments that mean so much but generally aren’t photographed.
As tempting as it is to want every piece of awesome equipment out there – rock what you have. I started with a Canon Xsi and a 50 1.8. I learned so much with those two pieces of equipment, and the clients were always happy – why? Because you are taking photos of their kids – and they LOVE their kids. They are going to love your work because your subjects are their kids. Work on your skills and then work on better gear as you go.