Meet this week’s FEATURED PHOTOG …
Pumpkin Pie Photography
Q. Tell us a little about yourself in just two sentences.
I am a passionate, spontaneous, red-headed wife and mother of three. I love the Lord, photography, movies, music, cupcakes, New York City and shopping!
Q. What do you shoot with and what is your favorite lens and why?
I am a Canon girl. I shoot with the Canon 5D Mark II. I shoot newborns with the 50mm 1.4, but I think the fav lens right now is the 35mm 1.4L. But the 100mm 2.8L macro is pretty phenomenal too!
Q. When did you start shooting for fun and then move to shooting professionally?
I started Pumpkin Pie Photography in the Fall of 2008 after some urging from friends.
Q. Are you formally taught or self taught?
Well, I think we are all taught in some form or fashion; I think self taught is a silly expression. Did I go to college for photography? No. But I think if you follow others’ work, search the web for answers or even pick up your camera manual, then you are being taught. But I have been to a few workshops and been privileged to have some wonderful photographer friends who have been such an inspiration to me. I think it’s so important to continue learning and being inspired.
Q. What is your specialty and how did you decide to specialize in that area of photography?
My specialty would have to be newborns. I had no idea that I would even shoot newborns, but after I had a couple of newborn sessions that niche quickly grew for me and I just ran with it!
Q. How many sessions are you shooting a month?
AMost that follow me will know that I am actually retiring my business… at least for now. I am taking some time away to spend with my family and to catch up on my “life” that I feel I’ve missed for the last 3 years as this business has exploded. But when I was accepting all sessions it was an average of 8-10 per month, but my happy place is definitely 4-5 per month. I love photography, but being a one-woman business I feel like it can really take over your life if you let it! But that’s just me; I do it for fun, for a supplemental income and I never wanted it to seem like a “job”, you know?
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?
Really just depends on the session. A newborn session is around 3-4 hours to edit. They are sweet, but they are splotchy and flaky and red and require some time to look photo perfect. But families, they are much quicker edits… unless it’s a tough family session and I’ve got to swap some heads – LOL!
Q. What is your favorite part of the process? Shooting, editing, etc.
Definitely shooting! And I love planning the session too!
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.
Word of mouth for sure; my business was built on word of mouth and referrals. My loyal clients that come to me over and over and send so many my way – they get special goodies from me at their sessions, including extra images in the gallery, extra planning, some free prints… whatever I can throw in there to say “thank you”.
Q. What do you do to “stand out” from surrounding photographers that you’re competing with?
I work on the work and I truly try to make every session special and as perfect as I can get it. I think with newborns specifically it’s all about the details and so I focus on perfect posing. All photography is an art, but newborn photography is almost a science. I keep my processing very natural and timeless and keep the focus on the baby even if I incorporate fun props. I try to offer a product that you can’t get from just any photographer.
Q. What do you do to help a client come out of their “shell” during a session?
I get them really full and snuggle them – LOL! For my families though I’m just laid back and try not to “pose” too much.
Q. What do you struggle with the most?
Hmmm… probably over-shooting. I could get the sessions and the editing done much quicker if I didn’t take so many pictures!
Q. How did you find your style? Any advice to new photographers on how to find their own style?
I just did what I love and I love color, so when I’m out buying props I always gravitate towards color and what I personally love. So I would say do what comes natural to you, what you think looks good. Don’t let your clients dictate your style, you should dictate your style and the clients will come to you based on that style. Do not be afraid to tell a client that something is not your “thing” or your style.
Q. Please share your favorite image and tell us what makes this your favorite?
Gosh, I don’t think I have one?? It really changes so much; too many pictures that are special to me – ack! But I’m including some favs here, including some non-newborn stuff. I don’t JUST shoot babies.
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.
I would if I hadn’t already changed it back into a bedroom – hee hee! But I used a small bedroom in my home for my studio and it worked perfectly. It was full of natural light and FULL of props! And for locations, I really love grassy areas with gorgeous light.
Q. Is there anything you would like to promote? Maybe a mentoring you offer or any side projects.
Well, I will still be co-hosting The Sleepy Baby classes. We have classes in Dallas and Napa Valley, CA this year. They are a blast and very intimate. I will still offer the very occasional 1:1 mentoring session, but it would definitely be me traveling to the mentee’s shooting space. And a Skype session is always available too.
Q. Please share an image of your Prop stash! This doesn’t have to be an organized space just an image showing off your addiction.
Here’s a shot that I took a while back of my blankets… and this is just about half of them. I know, hoard much?
Q. What is the best piece of advice you would give to a new photographer?
To just focus on you, your work. Do not compare your work, your prices, your schedule to others. Make your work special and unique and you will stand out!
More of Amanda’s work:
Thank you for sharing your work with us, Amanda!