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.
I’ve had the pleasure to meet and become friends with Heather Chick, owner of Heather Chick Photography, over the past few months. Upon the first time meeting her, I could tell what a fabulous person she was to be around. She is super upbeat, friendly and has such enthusiasm when she speaks about her family life or photography life.
When I began thinking about this Featured Photographers project and knew that I wanted to have one wedding photographer and one portrait photographer, Heather instantly came to mind. Heather photographs a variety of subjects & events but her wedding photography is what instantly stood out in my mind. Her eye for the details and the emotions that show thru the portraits themselves has to be one of the most important aspects of wedding photography, in my opinion. I follow many photographers online, their work, etc….while some may be similiar, everyone has their own styles and you’ll see that some just capture moments just perfectly. This couldn’t be more true with Heather Chick.
Thank you, Heather, for sharing your experiences, photos and thoughts with all of us. Everyone, I hope you enjoy getting to know Heather 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!
One collage to share (more will be at the bottom of the journal):
Let’s start with a bio. Tell us a little about yourself. I am married to my husband, Douglas, and we have been married for almost 9 years (do not ask me where the time goes!). We have a son who is 4.5 and a daughter that is 2.5! I am also a photographer and as my husband always says, I eat, sleep and breathe photography. It is such a passion of mine! In my “free-time” I love to scrapbook…but there hasn’t been much “free-time” in the last few years!
What is your background in photography? My love of photography started at a young age. Whenever a teacher asked, “What would you like to be when you grow up?” my answer would be, “A free-lance photographer”. I am not even sure that I trully knew what that meant when I originally started saying it, but the thought of it was so cool! Unfortunately for me, fear got in the way of that dream, and I originally chose teaching (a safe choice) when I went off to college….oh how I wish that I had officially started my photography career back then! Although I have always dreamt of this job, I didn’t start my official journey until after college…I started with a night class in adult ed (when it was 35mm!), dabbled in the hobby and then really started to jump in with both feet after I transitioned to digital. Once I decided to start Heather Chick Photography my obsession/passion went into overdrive! I began signing up for workshops and online classes and I dove into the websites, blogs and books to learn anything and everything I could about the art of photography, the post-production, and the task of running a business!
What do you specialize in? What made you choose that as your specialty? When I started my own business, I focused on portraits…maternity, newborns, children and families. About 6 months into it, I had a wedding inquiry from a couple that had seen a portrait gallery. I created a couple wedding packages and booked my first wedding. The inquiries have continued to come in and I couldn’t be happier about it! I absolutely love both portraits and weddings and I am trying to keep a happy balance of both! I absolutely LOVE every minute of photographing a wedding, but I could never give up my babies and families!!
Besides your specialty, what is your favorite thing to photograph & why? I LOVE to photograph my own children. I am honestly a person who enjoys the moment even more if I am photographing it! I photograph all of our everyday activities…even brushing our teeth! My kids are so used to the camera!
Name at least one thing that most would be surprised to know about you. I have a Master’s Degree…in education! Children have always been a big part of my life…Childcare was my primary job throughout middle and high-school and I was constantly involved with volunteering with children throughout college. I have always felt a big connection with them! I taught for six years before having my own children and received a Master’s Degree and Certificate in Technology (in Education).
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? My dream was to go to Paris before I had children and I did it!! I actually bought the origingal Canon Digital Rebel right when it came out, so that I could take it on my trip (but of course I still brought my 35mm gear and used both!). I was in the beginning phase of my photography journey, and although I love the pictures that I took, I look at them and WISH that I could go back with all of my knowledge, style, and equipment that I have now!
In your opinion, what makes you stand out from the rest of the photographers in your area? I honestly don’t really think of myself as standing out from the pack for any one reason….I don’t even really try to stand out…which may sound a bit odd!! I actually feel like I am in my own little world and on my own little path…I try to do my absolute best in all areas of my business…from the moment I get an inquiry, until their last order is placed. I aim to be myself and I hope that my photography, customer service and overall personality will bring that client back AND I hope that those three things will make them pass me along to their friends and family.
If we could peek inside your camera bag, what would we see? Canon equipment galore! What feels like ages ago, I started with the Canon Rebel 35mm and when the first Canon Digital Rebel came onto the scene, I scooped that up (as I mentioned above!)….and I have never looked back!! I shoot with two 5D Mark ii’s, and have several different len’s for different situations. During a portrait session, I love my 24-70 2.8, during a ceremony, the 70-200 2.8 is fantastic, and I love my wide angle for large group shots (and some other artistic moments!). I just recently purchased the 85mm 1.2 for a variety of reasons, but initially bought it for the outdoor, low-light winter weddings that I just shot.
Is there some type of photography that you haven’t done that you would LOVE to try or gain more experience in? I have done a couple boudoir sessions, but would love to get into it a bit more!
What is some of the best advice that someone has given you (either pertaining to life itself or photography)? Relax…My husband tells me this all the time…I am a go-go-go person and I am always working to get everything done. I do need to relax a bit but it is definitely hard for me!
If you could photograph ANY one person, who would it be? My husband’s mother…she battled breast cancer and passed away before I met my husband. I would love the opportunity to meet her and talk with her. If I could have just one chance to photograph her, it would be an honor…and if I could get just a minute to capture pictures of her with her boys and her grandchildren (that she never got to meet), I would be beyond grateful.
I choose photographers for these interviews because their work inspires me. What inspires you as an artist to create such amazing imagery? It is mainly a mix of two things…other photographers/photographs, and my clients (I know that sounds so cheesy!!)….I LOVE to look at photography blogs and magazines…There are so many photographers that do such amazing and inspiring work and I love to take a peek…BUT I have to say that all of those images tend to escape my mind when I am working with a family and chasing a two year old through a field! At that point I am using that child as my inspiration. Whether it be a child that I am working with or a couple that just got engaged, their movements, mannerisms and actions can really guide the session. When I am actually looking through the lens, I can see something that I don’t see when the camera is down…it honestly amazes me!!
What has been your most memorable assignment and why? That is really a tough one for me! I tried to sit here and think about the first one that pops in my mind (and why), but my mind just bounces back and forth to all different ones!
Have you ever had anything go wrong at a wedding or portrait session and if so, how did you handle it? I am happy to say that nothing stands out in my mind!! I try to be over prepared to avoid any catastophes! I have gradually built up my equipment so that I have back-up equipment for everything. I am definitely from the school of thought that you can never be too prepared!! I do have to say that I had one newborn session where the newborn cried for almost 3 hours straight. We continued with the session to the best of our ability (meaning the parents and myself), but we weren’t quite sure what was going on!! I ended up rescheduling the session, about a week later, and it was a completely different baby that day!
What is your best kept business secret that you’re willing to share? I would have to say honesty has worked for me. I have always been honest and up-front about my style and experience. I am a very open (and talkative!) person, and it works for me! In my opinion, word-of-mouth advertising can do wonders but everything will always come back to honesty…I want my clients to feel comfortable with me and to trust that I am going to be the perfect match for them. Honesty is at the heart of trust!
What do you feel is the most challenging thing about photographing weddings and/or children? For weddings, I think that it is the time constraint when you are doing all of the formals…There is usually about an hour to get bridal party shots, family formals and the “formals” of the newly married couple…I have SO many things that I want to do with them and a limited amount of time!! In terms of children, there isn’t one specific thing that pops into my mind…For some little ones, it is tricky to get them to look at you when they are so curious about the flower that they just picked, and for other little ones, it is finding the perfect time for the session that will allow him or her to be at their best (and also allow for good outdoor lighting!)!
If you didn’t become a photographer, what do you think you would be doing for a living? At this point, I would probably be a stay-at-home mom. I had always envisioned myself staying home with my children full-time. Although, I do get to spend a lot of time with them, I am up all hours of the night working on sorting, editing and posting pictures!
Most photographers network with other photographers, well-known or friends with other photography businesses. Who do you consider great inspirations to you? I owe a lot to my friend Sarah Kristiansen. She is trully the person who got me started in this business. She was kind enough to give me tips on where to get started with a website and a professional photo lab etc. She has a great artistic eye too! I also love to look at blogs…a few that I regularly visit include Lauren Clark, Jasmine Star, Tara Whitney, The Image is Found, Bobbi & Mike and Cheryl Muhr.
What or who is the greatest love of your life? My husband is by far the greatest love of my life…He is honestly the most loving husband and father. He has always been supportive of everything that I have done in both photography and in my everyday life! Although he is not involved in running my business, he is my sounding board, daycare provider and support system….I could not do it without him!
What is your greatest fear(s)? Not pleasing people…I am definitely a person that wants to make everyone happy and that can definitely be overwhelming at times!!
Do you have a guilty pleasure? Chocolate, ice cream, candy….anything sweet….It is a strong addiction!
Name 5 words that your friends & family would use to describe you. Energetic, Talkative, Smiley, Passionate and Obsessive
What goals have you not yet achieved but hope to in the future? I know this may sound kind of funny, but I am not a BIG dreams type person. I always have little goals that I am reaching for, but I am a person who wants to attain my goals and fast! I don’t really have any large goals that I am reaching for (at this time anyways!)! My constant goal is to make each client happy. I want to keep growing my business by word-of-mouth and just keep on rolling! I enjoy every session and every wedding that I do and I just don’t want that feeling to stop! Now that I think of it I do wish to become a better book-keeper…I am definitely unmotivated in that area!
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. My first wedding was a bit terrifying…I am a thinker and I couldn’t stop thinking about it the whole day/night before…I woke up the morning of the wedding and found out that there is truth behind those that say stress can cause you to lose weight…I was down 5 pounds on the scale (but do not worry, it was back the day after!). As soon as I got there and started photographing the bride getting ready, the butterflies in my stomach went away…I was officially in “go” mode! Everything went very well and with each wedding that followed my pre-stress seemed to go away!
What advice do you have for individuals interested in pursuing a career in photography? Go with your gut…There is so much information out there and so many people that have opinions…I think you should take it all in, sleep on it, but go with your own gut instinct in the end. You need to do what works best for you!
Tell your funniest, scariest, most bizarre, most touching story from a photo shoot! I have a funny, scary and embarassing moment all rolled up into one!! I was shooting a wedding with my friend Sarah, and I was photographing the bride and groom as they were coming back down the isle. I was walking/jogging backwards while clicking away. We were in this adorable church with all wood floors, but for some reason they had a large piece of carpet on the floor at the entrance. I understand that it was there for the purpose of wiping your feet, but I learned first hand that it was just a random piece of carpet and not a door mat! As I stepped backwards onto it, the carpet flew out from under my feet…for a split second, I was actually in the air and I could see that I was parallel to the floor! Amazingly, I landed on my feet but the rug slid again and I landed half in the church and half on their front step! Luckily, I was fine and so wasn’t my camera! The bride and groom were laughing and Sarah and I haven’t stopped laughing since it happened! Luckily, there was a BIG floral arrangement at the back of the church, so only a few of the guests actually saw my tumble! Thankfully I won’t end up on America’s Funniest Videos – but I bet I could have won some money with those moves!!
Is there anything you would have done differently in your photography career so far? So far, I am happy with the path that I am on…I started slowly and have continued to grow. I would never say that my path is the right path for everyone, but it has worked for me. I DO struggle with finding a balance of my personal/family life and my work, but I am TRYING to find ways to make it work!
Do you have any website(s) you would like me to link to from this interview?
Main website: www.heatherchickphotography.com