THE BEAUTIFUL IMAGERY of Simply Newborn Art is a joint effort between two talented photographers, Laurie and Krista. Laurie and Krista took time out of their schedule to share some insight into their Essexville, Michigan studio with us .
Q: Tell us a little bit about yourselves.
Laurie: I am a wife of 17 years and I have two wonderful children, Jacob who is almost 11 and Grace who is 6. I started my photography business almost 9 years ago and my main focus has always been children and families. In the past few years my love of newborn photography
has grown and together with my partner, Krista Green, I created Simply Newborn Art Photography Studio. I live with my husband, children, and pets in Bay City, MI.
Krista: I started my photography business about 3 1/2 years ago specializing in babies, children and weddings. In October of 2012 I decided to focus my business on newborns,
and thus created Simply Newborn Art with Laurie. When I am not working, I spend my time with my boyfriend of 9 years and our 2 dogs, Allie and Rocky.
Q: How did you get into photography?
Laurie: With the growth of technology I started to make online creations with my images. Announcements, cards, invitations, anything and everything I could use images for. After doing that for a year or so I decided I wanted those images I was using to look better and so my photography career started from there. My son was 2 at the time and of course he became my muse much to his dislike. I started off slow and worked very hard to learn what I needed to know to start doing photography as a business. It has grown into much more than a business for me and is now one of my biggest passions.
Krista: I got my first camera from my dad when I was 5 years old, so I guess you could say I’ve been in love with photography for most of my life. In 2010 I started this journey by creating Krista Renee Portraits and fell in love with newborns from the very start. I currently still own Krista Renee Portraits for all of my wedding photography, and now own Simply Newborn Art for my newborn photography. My biggest inspirations are my nieces and nephew who make this world a more beautiful place.
Q: How did you become Simply Newborn Art?
A: We met each other in a Facebook photography group. When I (Laurie) started hiring local photographers to come in and assist me with my newborn sessions Krista was one of the photographers who came in to help out. She (Krista) was already a skilled newborn photographer so together we could create beautiful poses safely that would be so much harder to do on our own. We worked so well together and our love of the vintage, natural, and rustic style made teaming up such an easy decision. We respect each other and each other’s work so much and we have become very good friends throughout this process.
Q: What is your favorite part about being newborn photographers? Do you have a least favorite thing?
A: We have so many favorite parts of our newborn sessions. One of our favorite things is seeing the looks on the parents faces as we are posing their sweet newborns and seeing how much happiness it brings them. Also knowing that we get a be a part of creating these lasting memories for the parents is so amazing. Seeing the end result of our hard work is so rewarding and we of course love snuggling those sweet babies too. We honestly don’t have a least favorite part. I know that sounds like a fib but we just love everything about newborn sessions.
Q: I understand that Krista prefers natural lighting, while Laurie prefers studio lighting. How does this difference in shooting style impact your business? Do you ever experiment with lighting?
In the beginning we thought that we would stick to our favorite lighting and only each do that but throughout this process of teaming up we have learned from each other and now we both do natural light and studio light set ups. We love both styles of lighting and we feel offering both to our clients is something not a lot of other photographers can do.
Q: Let’s talk sessions. Do you typically ask the parents what their favorite images in your portfolio are and stylize the session according to their preferences? Or, do you stylize sessions based on your own artistic vision?
A: We do both. We know that our clients have hired us because they like the images they have seen on our Facebook page and our website. They hired us for our knowledge and expertise about what looks good and they trust us. But we also ask for their input because we want them to love all of their images. We like to ask what images they have seen on our Facebook and website that they really love and would like us to try during their session. We think a collaborative effort is the best way for everyone to be happy.
Q: I have found with newborn photography, parents aren’t always educated about the best time to photograph their newborn. Do you have an age limit in regard to newborn sessions? How do you relay this info to your prospective clients?
A: We strive to get our newborns in within 5-10 days after birth. Most of our clients book way in advance and we tell them when the best time to bring their newborn in for their session. There are special circumstances however which require hospital stays and we work with the parents and allow them to bring their babies in when it’s best for them and for their family. As soon as we tell parents that getting their babies in soon after birth is very important to getting those curled up sweet poses they are always more than happy to do that.
Q: What’s in your camera bags? Do you have a favorite lens for newborns?
In Krista’s bag:
Canon 5d mk iii
Canon 5d mk ii
Canon 100mm 2.8L
Canon 50mm 1.4
Canon 35mm 2.0
In Laurie’s bag:
Canon 35 mm 2.0
Canon 50mm 1.4
Canon 85mm 1.8
Q: What piece of equipment can you not live without?
A: We obviously couldn’t live without our 5D and 5D Mark ll cameras. However, we feel like we really couldn’t live without our 50 mm 1.4 lenses which we love for newborn sessions.
Q: Laurie, what lighting equipment do you use? Do you have a standard set up you use for your newborn sessions, or does your set up vary between sessions?
A: I have one large soft box and light that I use for every session. I like to use only one light so there is dimension to my images and it creates the look I am going for. I love the one light set up.
Q: Krista, Michigan winters are long and dark. How do you overcome this challenging lighting situation?
A: We have a huge window in our studio that lets in plenty of natural light. So far there hasn’t been many complications with getting enough light, and if there ever is, I will switch over to studio light.
Q: What’s involved in your post processing? Do you have a standard procedure for newborn sessions?
A: We make sure we get our images right in camera so we don’t have to spend hours on editing. We like the natural look to our newborn images and our post processing reflects that. We want to keep our props, set ups, and post processing cohesive so it reflects our natural style. We love the vintage, rustic look to our images so we carry that over into our editing too. We have our favorite actions but each one of our images is edited by hand. We don’t batch edit our images. We take special care with each and every image but getting it right in camera helps us enhance our images rather than “fix” them.
Q: What marketing strategies are essential to your studio’s success?
A: Since we just teamed up in October of 2012 we are a new presence in the photography world. Social media has been a huge asset to getting our name out there. Since we both have fans on our individual pages we were able to connect those fans to our Simply Newborn Art page. We LOVE our fans. They share our images on their pages and it has helped our fan base grow very quickly. Word of mouth is also one of the best forms of marketing. When our clients tell their friends how much they enjoyed their session with us and then show them the images we created for them it creates an interest in us and our work. We are so thankful to our clients and Facebook fans for helping our business grow. We couldn’t do it without them.
Q: When photographers are starting out, they often struggle with deciding on how to invest their start-up funds. What do you think is the most important investment a fledgling photography business can make?
A: Education and camera gear are first on our list. You don’t need a ton of props and backdrops to make beautiful images. You need the right knowledge of lighting, camera settings, and editing techniques to create one-of-a-kind images that your clients will love. Invest in education and equipment first and build your props, backdrops, and set up elements over time.
Q: What advice do you have for photographers starting out in this business? What do you wish you had known back in the day?
A: We wish we would have known how challenging it would be. We have invested not only a ton of time but also a ton of money into creating a successful business. Some advice we would give to up and coming newborn photographers would be to focus on newborns and not try to be a jack of all trades. Specializing in newborns will help make you succeed much faster then trying to photograph everything. Also, try not to compare yourselves to other photographers. Strive to do the best job you can do and make yourself and your clients happy. Figure out a style that will set you apart from the masses. We work in an over saturated market and we need to be unique and offer our clients something they can’t get from any other photographer. And last but definitely not least, PRACTICE! Practice, practice, practice because you can never be too safe when it comes to handling newborns and the more you practice the more comfortable you will get at creating beautiful art.
I wanted to take this opportunity to thank Newborn Photography Magazine for choosing us to be featured in their first issue. We feel so honored and we just appreciate it so much. We look forward to reading this issue and the many issues to come. – Krista & Laurie (Simply Newborn Art Photography)
Thank you, Krista & Laurie. You are an inspiration! – NPM