Welcome Sarah! Please tell our fans a little about yourself.
Hey everyone! First off, my name is Sarah. I’m 30 years old and am a born and bred Hoosier. I’ve been married to my hot hubby for almost seven years, and we have three amazing kiddos. Ethan, Harper and Maddox. I’ve been a registered nurse for eight years, currently working part-time as a trauma nurse at a hospital downtown Indy. I sort of fell into photography about three years ago now, and have been in business for two years.
My favorite things? My kids. Coffee. Lots of it. Music. Reading a good book. Impromptu date nights. Shenanigans with my girlfriends. Long road trips by myself. Scentsy. My pajama pants.
What is your go-to gear right now? And what is something that is on your wish list.
I’m pretty simple when it comes to gear. I’m a Nikon girl, shooting with a D700. The two lenses you’ll find on my camera are the 50 mm 1.4g and the 35 mm 1.8g. I also use a 60mm macro for newborn shoots. On my wish list? Most definitely the 35 mm 1.4g lens. Hoping to trade in the 1.8 for that bad boy sometime soon!
How important is it you to incorporate lifestyle photography in with your already beautiful family sessions?
It’s extremely important. Most importantly, it’s my favorite style to shoot. So of course, I need to incorporate it into every shoot to remain true to myself. I think anyone can pick up a camera, master manual, and create solid clean images. But I think it takes a special eye, talent, and relationship with your clientele to create real lifestyle moments. It’s extremely important to me to create one-of-a-kind moments for my clients, and lifestyle sessions do that. I want them to look back on their sessions with me and not just see pretty light, pretty outfits and pretty smiles. I want them to be able to remember the way that moment felt. I think it’s those moments that keep them coming back.
What is the best piece of advice you have for educating clients on lifestyle portraits?
To say “be yourself” isn’t enough. You have to take it further. The problem is our generation, I think. We’re of the generation that schlubbed on our khaki pants, stiff white polo sweaters, hair sprayed our poofy bangs to sit uniformly in a 6×6 studio square and were demanded to “show me your pretty smiles!!” Which, let’s face it, was pretty hard to do! So even though we’re all older and wiser with families of our own, if a photographer holds a camera in your face and says “smile!!” our subconscious selves are back to when we were ten years old, sitting in a portrait studio with fake grins plastered on our faces. So, I send a pre-session questionnaire to all clients, along with a welcome packet. Once I receive the answers to their questionnaire, I feel I’m already steps ahead of where I would be, because I know much more about them, their style, and their family dynamics. At the actual shoot, I’m very simple in direction, but very precise as well. People look for direction in lifestyle shoots, because it’s still kind of “unknown” work. So, I give direction and guide the sessions the best I can for the best results.
How do you set your goals for your business and make them happen? Do you believe in setting 5 year goals?
I haven’t even thought about setting a five year goal, honestly! My first main goal was to go from full-time nursing to part-time, which I did in May of last year. That’s been amazing for me both personally and professionally. It’s allowed me to spend more time shaping my business into what I want it to be, so that was huge for me this past year. My business plan is pretty simple. Make money doing what I love. I don’t want to give my time and talent away to those that don’t appreciate me, and I refuse to be a “shoot and burn” photographer, cramming in ten sessions in a week. I want every session to be as personal and customized as possible, which results in higher prices, but a much more successful photographer-client relationship and result. I worked in nurse management for six years, which has been pretty helpful in me running my photography business. I’m a good delegator (I hired on an assistant last year), I’m pretty “by the book,” and don’t bend the rules for anyone, and I don’t find it hard to say no. Those things keep a business running and running well. My business mantra has always been “If it stops being fun, stop doing it.” I just shoot what I love, when I want, as often as I feel fit, and it keeps me feeling fulfilled, successful, and happy. That has been a wonderful business plan for me, so I stick with it!
Do you have upcoming secrets you can tell us??
Maaaaybe. (insert evil laugh here)
I’ve been tossing around the idea of a family/children photography guide with an emphasis on custom sessions and back-light photography. For right now, it’s just notes and ideas, with no actually idea of when it might happen. But, stay tuned! 🙂