Featured Photogs: Nina Williams & Cecilia Moyer

Nina Williams & Cecilia Moyer

Nina Cecilia {Creative Spark}

Fan Page : Site

Q. Tell us a little about yourself in just two sentences.

Niña and Cecilia are twin sisters who live in 2 different states (Niña-Illinois & Cecilia-Iowa) but hope to eventually live in the same town some day (wishful thinking)!  Niña has a loving husband, 2 kids (Johannah-3 & Christian-almost 2), was an auditor before becoming a photographer, loves to eat but hates to cook, and loves watching reality shows…while Cecilia has a wonderful husband, 2 kids (Dylan-7 & Hendrix-18months) & expecting another one in Aug, was an interior designer before becoming a photographer, is older than Niña by 30 min (older & wiser..haha), and is a huge procrastinator.

Q. What do you shoot with and what is your favorite lens and why?

We both shoot with a Canon 5D Mark II.  Cecilia’s favorite lens is the 35mm 1.4.  This is a great all around lens and even though it’s a wide angle lens, it doesn’t distort the edges.  Niña’s favorite is the 50mm 1.2.  This is also a great all around lens and has awesome and creamy bokeh.

Q. When did you start shooting for fun and then move to shooting professionally?

We started shooting for fun in June 2009 and photographed professionally in July 2009.  We obviously didn’t waste any time.  We quit our corporate jobs and just went for it.  It was a huge risk but wouldn’t change it for the world!

Q.  Are you formally taught or self taught?

We are self taught.  Well, I guess we did go to this college class, but I don’t know if we actually learned anything!  Sometimes learning the technical stuff is more confusing.  What truly helped us was photographing our own kids in their ‘everyday’ life.  We feel very lucky we have each other to bounce ideas off of and learn from one another.  We talk on the phone every single day about photography and learn something new every day!

Q. What is your specialty and how did you decide to specialize in that area of photography?

We started off doing everything.  We wanted to do it ALL.  After a few years, we realized we didn’t want to do everything as we were getting too busy.  Starting this year, we limited our availability and number of sessions.  We are no longer booking family sessions unless they book for a designated day specifically for a fall family mini session.  We are still doing a few newborns, children, & seniors, but right now we are focusing on weddings since we love photographing that the most and that is really the only time we get to photograph together since we live in 2 different states.  We have a blast being together and capturing everything on a couples special day.

Q. How many sessions are you shooting a month?

Not including weddings, Cecilia photographs 5 sessions a month (sometimes a little more with the slower wedding periods), and Niña photographs 2 a month.  With weddings we only take 18 a year, and we make sure to designate 1 weekend a month for our family during the busy wedding season.  We photograph weddings together but Niña is the one who edits all the wedding images.

Q.  On average how long to do you spend editing each session and do you listen to music while editing or just enjoy the quiet?

Hmmm… if the TV is on, editing a session takes a little bit longer.  ;-)  A regular session typically lasts 2-3 hours to edit.  Of course, if there’s more photoshopping we have to do (taking out blemishes, headswapping, etc) it does take a bit longer.  A wedding lasts about 1.5-2 weeks.  It’s real important to state that it’s very rare that we just sit down and edit a session without any interruptions….so most of the time we’re doing many many things while trying to edit images.  Depending on the interruptions, a session will finally get done in 2-3 days!  I don’t know about everyone else but time flies by when you’re having fun!  We catch ourselves saying all the time “I feel like I didn’t get anything done today!”  Cecilia: During the day I like to edit when it’s completely quiet but at night I have the TV on to keep me awake.  Nina:  TV all the way!  :)

Q. What is your favorite part of the process? Shooting, editing, etc.

Our favorite park is editing for sure.  Who doesn’t like to just sit in your pajamas and be on the computer.  I think our chairs have our butt molded onto it.;-)

Q. What is the best marketing tool that works for you or was a total waste of time?  Do you advertise in print?  Do you offer referral bonuses?  If yes, please share a little.

What really works for us is word of mouth and Facebook.  That’s the only marketing we’ve done.  We’re lucky to have such great support!  We’ll do occasional contests/giveaways to get people excited.  We don’t do referral bonuses but we do give out $20 off purchases for returning clients.

Q. What do you do to “stand out” from surrounding photographers that you’re competing with?

There are so many awesome photographers in both of our areas and we’ve made friends with some of them.  It truly is rewarding to chat and talk about things that your husband/friends would not understand.  We would have to say, our processing techniques are a bit different from others.  We’ve experimented and finally got the style of photography we can say is ‘us’ and that is a wonderful feeling!   All you can really do is be yourself and have fun with your clients and give them the best you can possibly give them.  Personality is key in this industry.

Q.  What do you do to help a client come out of their “shell” during a session?

We joke around with them…laughter is a great way to get people comfortable and to trust you.  Talk to them like they’re your best friend!;-)

Q.What do you struggle with the most?

Balancing it all is always a struggle.  Owning a business and having to do it all plus being a wife and a mom is a balancing act.  I think a lot of photographers that do this as their main source of income know that it’s a lot of stress & pressure to make sure you have enough to provide for yourself and your family but also need to make time for yourself and your family.  We are photographers because we love this career.  We can’t complain!…we get to work together, we have fun at what we do, we work in our pajamas at home, we get to photograph such wonderful clients, we get to meet soo many amazing people that we’ve gotten so close to, BUT we also want to provide extra income…for the home we live in, the cars we drive, the food for our family, the yearly family vacations, and the other fun things in life!  As a small business we are the ‘administrative person, customer service representative, photographer, image enhancer, traveler, bookkeeper, ordering person, packager, mailer, etc.’

Q. How did you find your style? Any advice to new photographers on how to find their own style?

We follow various blogs, and we look at images and see what you love about it.  Niña was always really good at figuring it out.  Our style is a combo of various things we’ve seen and liked.  Make sure that style is ‘you.’  Try things out…experiment with actions!  We started off with ‘brighter’ images.  Now our images are a bit ‘softer’ in color and we love it!

Q. Please share your favorite image and tell us what makes this your favorite?

What we love photographing the most are our kids!:)

Q. Can you show us your shooting space?  If you are shooting inside can you show a simple pull back shot or lots of images if you have a large studio.  If you shoot on location please share an image of you favorite location.

We do not own a studio but rent out a studio (Iowa only) mainly when it’s cold outside.  Most of our sessions are on location.  We have a lot of locations that we love but one that we love is a park here in Des Moines where it has a hill.  When clients are standing up there, trees make up the entire background.  Really, any location with lots of trees makes for wonderful photos!

Q. Please share an image of your Prop stash!

Q. What is the best piece of advice you would give to a new photographer?

Practice, practice, practice so you ‘know’ your camera.  Get out there and photograph your kids or even your dog outside and practice different lighting scenarios.  Get comfortable photographing in manual mode.  Promise, your images will be a lot better!  Also, don’t be afraid to raise your prices.  Time is money;-)

Q. Is there anything you would like to promote?  Maybe a mentoring you offer or any side projects.

We have started a personal blog recently: http://www.nicelovely.com/ Since there’s two of us, we didn’t want to bombard people with all our family images, so we started this blog to post what we like and show images of our family/personal life and photography related items.   Our Creative Spark blogsite (http://www.ninaceciliacreativespark.com) would mainly show our current work.  So if you would like to know a little bit more about us and see things that are helpful for photographers please check out our personal blog!  We do offer mentoring sessions as well.  Please go here for more info: http://ninaceciliacreativespark.com/mentoring-info/

More of Nina & Cecilia’s beautiful images:

Thank You SO SO much for sharing your work with us Nina & Cecilia!

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