What a great way to win for the holidays and to start your New Year, huh?! Check it out!
I just entered to WIN a $500 Gift Card to Adorama Camera – what could be better this holiday season? You can enter here: http://www.mcpactions.com/blog/2010/12/13/500-gc-to-adorama/
Check out this AMAZING giveaway, photographers! Sooooo many great prizes! Good luck if you enter!
*drum roll, please…………………….*
Entry #4!! Congratulations Hollie Hanson! Please contact Jaclyn of Luniac Style to claim your GORGEOUS prize. Everyone else, stay tuned for more Featured Photographers and Giveaways. To take part in the giveaways, just click the “Email Subscription” tab on this blog in the upper right corner! Be the first to find out about them! 🙂
Another Rhode Island local artist is joining us on our 2nd giveaway for the Featured Photographers Blog. It’s Jaclyn Murphy of Luniac Style – Accessories for Fabulous Women. Jaclyn has graciously offered to giveaway her GORGEOUS Egyptian Love Bracelet.
This bracelet consists of two mix and match goddess like beaded bracelets that have combinations of greens, ambers, golds and silvers. You can dress up ANY outfit with this stunning piece! Check out more views on this bracelet or place any other orders, visit her Etsy shop.
In order to be eligible for the giveaway, please do the following:
~ Sign up for the email subscription to this “Featured Photographers” Blog to receive updates, info on more giveaways and to Be Inspired by other fabulous photographers (and who knows, YOU may be the next Featured Photographer!). Leave a comment on this blog post stating you’ve subscribed. Leave a comment here stating you subscribed!
~ Become a Fan (“Like”) of Luniac Style – Accessories for Fabulous Women on Facebook. Leave a comment saying you became a fan!
~ Follow Luniac Style’s Blog by email subscription. The “follow” tab may be hard to find so if you click the “contact” tab on the blog, you’ll see on the bottom of the page the icon to follow it via email. 🙂 Leave a comment to state you are a follower of Luniac!
WANT TO HAVE MORE CHANCES TO WIN? Blog about Featured Photographers Blog and the giveaway, post it on your favorite forum, Tweet about it, Facebook it! Let the world know of this great opportunity, the beautiful Egyptian Bracelet by Jaclyn AND of the Featured Photographers Blog. What is a better way to honor us photographers than to showcase each other’s work and a sneak peek into our lives?
Leave a link to the tweet, forum or blog that you posted and EACH comment will be counted for a SEPARATE entry! So yes, if you tweet about it and leave a comment on your blog, that’s two more entries!
Remember, whether your a photographer, mom, sister, wife, brother, husband…we ALL know a well-deserving woman that would LOVE this! Win it for yourself or for a loved one! Good luck and the winner will be chosen by Tuesday night, announced sometime on Wednesday!
**please note: winner will be chosen by Random.org** Thanks!
First we can relate, as they are moms & pro photographers as well…so we really know how difficult and how rewarding it is to run a successful business. But with that aside, ALL of their work is stunning. I originally was going to choose them to showcase their portraiture but they are amazing, no matter what is in front of their cameras.
The sweet innocence that they capture of their newborns to the excitement and emotion of their brides. They have an amazing ability to REALLY capture each moment, no matter what they are photographing. When you view their galleries, it is evident that they have a true ability for all aspects of photography. The portraits of little ones have a great light, airy and fun feel to it and with the weddings, a classic..modern TRUE photojournalistic style comes across that just WOWS you!
Finding the right words to truly describe Twice The Focus is a little difficult, for I feel as though I cannot do them justice. But take a look at their website, blog and become a follower on their Facebook page and I assure you, you’ll be just as inspired as I am! 😉
Let’s start with a bio. Tell us a little about yourself.
Well first let me just say, that because our lives are both so very hectic, I, Melissa, am writing this for both of us. So I will start with myself.
Melissa: I’ve always loved art and photography. I’ve drawn, painted, and had a camera in hand as long as I can remember. I owned my first SLR in high school, but of course, never took the time to get to know it. It was given to me by my boyfriend, and I loved the gift so much that I married him. Kris and I will celebrate our 7th wedding anniversary this December. We have four year old twin girls, Maddie and Gracie, and a new little girl, Lillie Caroline.
Sarah: Sarah actually started out getting an art degree, but changed her major to Elementary Education. She is very creative, and she always has been. And after she changed her degree and got a job teaching first grade, she soon figured out she needed a job that allowed her to be more creative. She loved the kids, but the structure was a problem, as it is for so many artistic personalities. She has been married to her husband, Adam for six years. They have a four year old daughter, Kaylee Jo, and a one year old son, Bo.
Now…how our lives merged…
Our husbands have been best friends since kindergarten, so we met through them. We knew each other while we were dating them, but we weren’t particularly close. Then we all got married within months of each other. We had dinner together a few times, but it wasn’t until Sarah and I were pregnant together that we started to become close friends. The twins and Kaylee Jo are 9 weeks apart, so they are what we bonded over. As our kids grew and played together, we got to know each other, and we soon realized that we both had a love for art and photography. We kinda jokingly said, “what if we started a business.” And we NEVER thought we’d do it, but we did. Sarah always jokes that if it weren’t for me being so controlling and such a pusher, that it woulda just stayed a “dream.” So we started our business, and its grown from there.
What is your background in photography?
Trial and error, ha. Seriously, like many photographers do, we started out really enjoying photography, but knowing NOTHING. We thought we were good, and then we discovered ILP, and got knocked off our high horse really fast. So trial and error, forums, a lot of critique and practice. That is our background. J
What do you specialize in? What made you choose that as your specialty?
So far, we really don’t have a specialty. We do an equal amount of everything. I’d love to specialize in weddings or newborns. And we are trying to do more wedding based marketing this year.
Besides your specialty, what is your favorite thing to photography and why?
Well, I’ll just elaborate on weddings and newborns. We love weddings because each one is so different. Its really cool seeing how each couple marries, and being apart of what is one, if not the, biggest days of their life. And newborns, well we just love babies, period. It never gets old to me…each new baby is a miracle and getting to photograph them is just heartwarming. Yes, that’s cheesy, but its true.
Name at least one thing that most would be surprised to know about you.
Hmmm…well for me, Melissa, is that I have VERY few photographs on my wall. I’m really bad about ordering…I don’t know why, but I’m so busy, that I neglect it. And all the photographs that I do have in my family room are in black and white. Not a single color print.
As for Sarah, this is not photography related, but it still shocks me. She doesn’t own a hairdryer. Nope…not at all…she just has naturally perfect hair!
Is there a place you’ve been wanting to go photograph just for fun? Where would it be? How about your favorite place that you’ve already been to?
Lets see…Sarah and I both want to do beach sessions with our clients and our family. We live in a coastal state, but the beach is about six+ hours for us, so it would have to be a vacation, as well. One day, we will do that!
As far as a favorite place we’ve already been to, its not a grand place or out of state, but I think one of our favorite sessions to date, was a bridal session at the bride’s grandparents place. They had a big field with a hill that had nothing but blue skies and puffy clouds behind it. For some photographers that may not seem so grand, but for us, it was heaven. Here in Mississippi, we have plenty of fields…all with big, fat, obnoxious tree lines behind them. Finding one with an open sky was a dream come true.
In your opinion, what makes you stand out from the rest of the photographers in your area?
There are two of us working together. That’s a huge bonus for us. I mean, yes, we are perfectly capable of working solo, and we often do. But being together makes it so much better. We work together so well to setup shots…twice the creativity flowing. Its really awesome. Also, I think our crazy joking and fun personalities is what keeps people coming back. We always have fun…that puts our clients at ease.
If we could peek inside your camera bag, what would we see?
CANON. And an unorganized mess. We’ve got a 40D and a 5D. Of course a couple of speedlights, etc, but to get to the fun stuff…the glass; we have a 24-70 2.8L, 70-200 2.8L IS version, 85 1.2L, 100mm 2.8 macro, and a 15mm 2.8 fisheye. I think that’s all the glass…I feel like I’m forgetting something.
Is there some type of photography that you haven’t done that you would LOVE to try or gain more experience in?
Maternity. We have done a couple of sessions, but not enough to even say we’ve done them. I’d really LOVE to do more of those.
What is the best advice someone has given you (either pertaining to life itself or photography)?
When you don’t love what you are doing in anymore, stop. We love our job. Right now its doesn’t feel like work, but I think the moment it does begin to feel like a job, then we will cut back or stop altogether. I don’t foresee that ever happening though. 🙂
What is the best advice you would give someone starting or thinking about getting into the photography business?
PORTFOLIO BUILD. End of story. We didn’t even know what this was…it was too little, too late by the time we found out. God has truly blessed us in the fact that it didn’t hurt us more than it did, but we didn’t know what we were doing starting out. So if you are thinking about starting a business, please get some experience before you dive in.
If you could photograph ANY one person, who would it be?
Wow. That’s so hard! I’m going to have to say for me, my late grandparents, especially my Grandmother. I just don’t have enough photographs of them at all. I’m not sure who Sarah would pick, but I’m sure it would be someone inspiring!
I choose photographers for these interview because their work inspires me. What inspires you as an artist to create such amazing imagery?
Other amazing photographers, just like you! 🙂 We have our “go to” blogs and togs, ha. Work that we could stare at for hours. And our children. Their sweet little faces are what started this journey for us.
What has been your most memorable assignment and why?
For me, Melissa, I very recently photographed preemie twins in the NICU. That was amazing for me, not only as a mom, but as a mom of twins. We were very fortunate with my girls, as they came home with us without so much as a day of NICU time, but so many moms I know go through the NICU journey. It was just amazing seeing such TINY miracles. They were amazing…I can’t think of any other word!
I’m going to answer for Sarah. I think for her it would probably have to be getting to photograph a Military Dad being reunited with his family after almost a year overseas. One of our regular clients called at the last minute and asked us if we could do this, but we had regular sessions scheduled, so I stayed at the studio, and Sarah went. I know it was very touching for her to get to be apart of such an awesome reunion.
Have you ever had anything go wrong at a wedding or portrait session, and if so, how did you handle it?
We have. We had a bride’s grandfather die the morning of her wedding. It was very sad, and they chose to tell her before the wedding, which was devastating to her. We just had to do our best to keep her happy and smiling during those photographs.
What is your best kept business secret that you’re willing to share?
Honestly, I’m all about giving back, but I don’t think we do anything out of the norm. Being one hundred percent honest, our kids are our number one priority right now. They are all still little, so we try not to let the business run us. We have many ideas that we’d like to implement when they are older, but for now, we just try our best to take care of our kids and then our clients. I think it helps them knowing that we put family first. Sure we might leave off a print occasionally or have a little extra background noise, but they know its because we are home having tea parties or digging in the sandbox with our kids, and I think they respect that.
What do you think is the most challenging thing about photographing weddings and/or children?
I think being comfortable with the couple goes a long way. We always have more fun with the couples we’ve had time to sit down and talk with face to face, or done an engagement session with. there is nothing like building a rapport with people.
As for children, I mean no one is the same, right? But I do think candy, silly noises and faces, and an odd patience that comes for other people’s children over your own, are all VERY helpful. 🙂
If you didn’t become a photographer, what do you think you’d be doing for a living?
Melissa: Probably staying home with my kids and making jewelry on the side or something.
Sarah: I’m going to say she would have eventually gone back to teaching.
Most photographers network with other photographers, well-known or friends with other photography businesses. Who do you consider great inspirations to you?
I love Brittany Woodall and Carrie Sandoval aka Baby As Art. LOVE their newborn work. And I also love Gabe with PerspectivEye. His wedding work is amazing!
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
I think for Sarah and I both, I’d have to say God. Sarah has really been one of the greatest spiritual influences in my life, and we try to glorify Him in all that we do.
What is your greatest fear(s)?
Business wise, I’m afraid of fizzling out one day…that we will lose our mojo, ha. Trying to stay fresh and creative and new…it can be tough. We have slumps where we feel uninspired, but something always brings us out of that funk and our creativity renews itself. That permanent rut is what scares me.
Do you have a guilty pleasure?
Um…for both of us, I’d say pigging out. Our dining expenses can be quite embarrassing…I always hate turning that in to the accountant at the end of the year!
Name 5 words that your friends and family would use to describe you.
For both of us…
Goofy, Loving, Spacey, Creative (I hope), Driven.
What goals have you not yet achieved but hope to in the future?
MORE weddings. We are doing 15+ a year, and we’d LOVE to get that number up!
Do you remember your very first client session or first wedding that you photographed? Tell us about how you felt and how it turned out.
HA. I remember both, vividly. Our first real session was with four boys. Please put down any liquids now…I don’t want you to have to windex your computer screen. We superimposed bubbles on the photo in photoshop…and yes, mom loved it. She bought a HUGE print, which I must shamefully say, she still has hanging in her house. Oh, the good ole days, ha.
Tell your funnies, scariest, most bizarre, most touching story from a photoshoot.
Our last wedding was at a historical home, where tours are given, and they ran a morning tour before the wedding. We were just getting started with pictures of the bride, when a man in a black shirt asked us if we were starting photographs now. We told him yes, and he said they would wait till we were done. We were thinking, “wait for what?” Then as he turned and walked away, the back of his shirt said…wait for it…”Mississippi Paranormal Investigators.” So they were about to go ghost hunting on her wedding day! So funny.
Do you have any website(s) you would like me to link to from this interview?
Main website: http://www.twicethefocus.net/
Her creative eye for photographing babies and children just brings out the innocence of newborns and memories of childhood. To top it off, her post-processing is superb and it just makes her images just really pop out to where you can picture yourself being young again, with the sky being the limits for your adventures!
Thank you, Stephanie, for sharing your thoughts, experience and gorgeous portraits with us! I’m so glad that I came across your work and starting to get to know you. 🙂 You are an inspiration to many photographers and one amazing mom! 🙂
Everyone, I hope you enjoy getting to know Stephanie and of course, feel free to follow her on her blog and Facebook. Networking is one of the best things that we can do today and we all love a little inspiration from each other! Enjoy!
Let’s start with a bio. Tell us a little about yourself.
I’m a natural light portrait photographer based south of Boston. I am married to an incredible man; intelligent, handsome and super supportive of my business and me! I am also the mother to two beautiful boys; Grayson Reece 3 ½ and Madden James 4 ½ months.
I was born in New York. Year? You’ll just have to guess (wink, wink). I am 1 of 5 children—two sisters and two brothers. I’m in the middle and often used that to my advantage once I became privy to the validity of the “middle child syndrome”. We moved to Vermont when I was 10. Being 10 years old and very naive, I was deathly afraid of moving there because I thought it meant I would have to wear overalls. LOL. I remember the first day of school—the kids thought my accent was pretty funny so the first part of class was spent asking me to say certain words; coffee, car, New York…
I attended University of Vermont and then moved to Boston after a quick stint in NY. I’ve been here ever since! I love Boston and New England—I just don’t care for the winters. If you could transplant Boston to a warmer weather State, I would then consider Beantown the ideal city!
What is your background in photography? I’ve had a love of photography since I was a young girl. I used my mother’s Pentax Asahi K-1000 from the age of 10 snapping portraits of the neighborhood kids. On my 15th birthday I got my very own Pentax, which followed me to college and after. In fact, it was my only camera until I went digital in 2007. I thought I’d never depart from film but it was the right move at the right time. I never attended school for photography–it was completely a self-learning process until after college when I worked for a photographer in New York who taught me to develop film and prints. I can still remember the moment vividly when, literally, I felt my heart leap the first time I developed a print of an image I shot on film that I developed myself in the dark room and knew from that point on that photography would be a big part of my life going forward.
What do you specialize in? What made you choose that as your specialty? My specialty definitely lies with children and babies. As of last year, I can confidently say that I specialize in newborns as well. I never made the choice that children would be my main focus; it sort of chose me. I am so comfortable with kids of any age and what I find is that, almost always, I have a very quick and easy rapport with the children I meet at my sessions. They just take to me. I’ve also been called the baby whisperer on numerous occasions! Newborns become putty in my hands 😉
Besides your specialty, what is your favorite thing to photograph & why? During my maternity leave in January through March, I used my 100mm macro shooting flowers and still life. I was looking to maintain a creative flow during the time that I was not booking clients and that really kept the juices flowin’.
Name at least one thing that most would be surprised to know about you. Hmmmmm, that I’ve played piano since I was six years old? Finally, after practically an entire lifetime of pining for one, we got a Kawai grand piano in October. All 6 feet 1 inch of sheer beauty!
Is there a place you’ve been wanting to go to photograph just for fun? Where would it be? How about your favorite place that you’ve already been to? I’m always driving around keeping my eye out for beautiful shooting locations. There’s not one place in particular that I have in mind but I tend to gravitate towards rural locations.
In your opinion, what makes you stand out from the rest of the photographers in your area? Having worked in the advertising industry in my “previous life”, I think my work can have a commercial/editorial feel to it. I hear from my peers that my processing has a very light and airy feel and I think that has really stood out as my signature look.
If we could peek inside your camera bag, what would we see? Canon 5D, 50mm 1.2 L, 24-70 2.8 L, 100mm macro, lens cleaner, funny little things I put around my lens to get the attention of little kids and babies…I have other lenses (85 1.8, 50 1.4, 75-300…) but the 50 1.2 and 24-70 2.8 are my favs!
Is there some type of photography that you haven’t done that you would LOVE to try or gain more experience in? Travel photography! Put me on a plane anywhere and I’d be ecstatic. I’ve always loved the photographic stories you see in Conde Naste Traveler, Travel & Leisure, National Geographic Traveler, etc. Ya know, the ones that make you just want to be there in that very moment?? The images of the food, the people, the landscape….yeah, I wouldn’t hate it if I could do that too 😉
What is some of the best advice that someone has given you (either pertaining to life itself or photography)? “Know your worth.” My mother always said that to me. I tend to self-doubt and sometimes you just need to believe in yourself, know that you are indeed “worthy” of whatever good and fortunate things that come your way. Because you deserve it, because you ARE worthy!
What is the best advice you would give someone starting or thinking about getting into the photography business? Get educated. Be it from classes, forums, workshops, meet-ups, what have you–just try to suck up as much information as you can. You hear more and more people say they want to start a business just because they got a new digital camera. It takes more than that—a whole lot more. Though I wasn’t educated formally for photography, my life long passion for photography got me to where I am today. You have to REALLY love what you do if you want to turn it into a thriving business. Also, I’ve learned an incredible amount of information over the past 3 years and I owe a lot of it to photography forums.
If you could photograph ANY one person, who would it be? There are so many people I would love the chance to photograph, however there are two people that come to mind that I MUST photograph! Last summer I met two incredibly beautiful young boys at a coffee shop down in the town where we have a beach house (same coffee shop where I got engaged!!). They were visiting their grandpa from Germany. I was in awe of how totally gorgeous they were and knew I had to ask Gramps permission to have a session with them. Between my busy schedule and the very short amount of time left they had here in the states, it never panned out but I will make every effort to get those boys in front of my camera this summer. If Ralph Lauren, Crew Cuts or the like doesn’t discover them before I get to ‘em, I’d be surprised!
I choose photographers for these interviews because their work inspires me. What inspires you as an artist to create such amazing imagery? The need to create is in my blood. I get excited every time I have a shoot. I thrive on getting those jaw-dropping-heart-stopping shots. I have no problem expressing my thrill in front of my clients when the shots are. just. working!! Love, love, love it!
What has been your most memorable assignment and why? I can’t really pinpoint just one—they have all been special in some way or another.
Have you ever had anything go wrong at a wedding or portrait session and if so, how did you handle it? Thankfully I’ve never had any mishaps (knock on wood!).
What is your best kept business secret that you’re willing to share? Get really good at Photoshop! Cuz if you don’t know how to properly edit your images properly that can really hurt you.
What do you feel is the most challenging thing about photographing children? Temperaments. Children can be unpredictable. They can be shy or too self-aware and that can make it hard for you to really connect and get those truly amazing shots.
If you didn’t become a photographer, what do you think you would be doing for a living? I loved working as an art buyer producing photo shoots for advertising. It was bitter sweet to leave my job to start my business full time but because I enjoyed it so much I might still be doing that.
Most photographers network with other photographers, well-known or friends with other photography businesses. Who do you consider great inspirations to you? Through forums I’ve become “cyber” friends with many amazing, talented photographers. Skye Hardwick was probably one of the first photographers whose work took my breath away. Michelle Huesgen is also so incredibly talented. As of late, I’m just lovin’ Becky Earl (hi becky!). I forget how I came across her work but I’ve been hooked to her blog ever since! For newborns, the very talented Brittany & Carrie, of course. Commercial photogs? Dani Brubaker comes to mind first but there are really too many to list. Amy Neunsinger, Kate Powers, Stephanie Rausser—it’s a loooong list! I was lucky to have worked with some of the most amazing photographers out there when I was an art buyer so I was exposed to tons of incredible talent.
What or who is the greatest love of your life? What: my craft. Photography feeds my soul. Who: my boys; husband and sons.
What is your greatest fear(s)? That something would take me away from this, my job, that I love so much.
Do you have a guilty pleasure? Pasta. I could eat it everyday and never tire of it 😉 Oh, and reality tv.
Name 5 words that your friends & family would use to describe you. Funny, creative, talented, loyal and kind.
What goals have you not yet achieved but hope to in the future? There is always something that I’d like to do or learn, just depends on the day!
Tell your funniest, scariest, most bizarre, most touching story from a photo shoot! It’s always a treat to photograph twins but at one twins shoot in particular I positioned the girls belly to back and their hands to join together. Within seconds, one smiled and then the other. It was soooo touching!! (insert heart melt here!!)
Is there anything you would have done differently in your photography career so far?
No, I think I’ve been taking things at the right speed and have made some quality business decisions. Having a smart husband to bounce ideas off of has helped keep me on track as well.
Do you have any website(s) you would like me to link to from this interview?
Main website: http://www.bellinipics.com
Twitter: haven’t jumped on that bandwagon yet.
Druuuuuuuuuuuuuuuum roll, please! The winner of our first giveaway, who will be receiving a fringe blanket photography prop is………………
Melissa, of http://www.clickingthetimeaway.blogspot.com/
Melissa, CONGRATULATIONS!!! Please contact Kristen to claim your prize! http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/KristenKreates/298395398297?v=wall
Enjoy the blanket and can’t wait to see what portraits you create with it! 🙂
True Random Number Generator Result: 8
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