Welcome back to our blog, everybody! Today, I have the pleasure of introducing Traci from Pink Toenails Photography. She has some incredibly wonderful things to say about valuing your own talents and your time. Read on to find out more.
1) Who are you and where are you located?
My name is Traci and I own Pink Toenails photography based out of Eau Claire, WI
2) Do you have a home studio, rented space, or are you on location?
I photograph outdoors in the non-winter months, on-location and have a small in home studio for newborns.
3) What subjects are your primary focus and which do you enjoy shooting the most?
I mainly photograph newborns through the toddler age. I also photograph births and maternity.
4) There are so many different kinds of camera’s out there! What do you use and how did you decide on that particular one?
I used to use a crop sensor 60d, that’s a canon. :) I made the switch to a canon 5d markIII. I needed a camera that was great in every lighting situation…especially low light. When photographing births, this camera is a MUST as sometimes you are photographing at an ISO of 12,000. This helps so you can still deliver your clients beautiful photos of their once in a lifetime event.
5) While we’re talking about equipment, what lens do you prefer to use and why?
I currently use a 50 1.8, but will be upgrading that to a 50 1.4. There are a lot of lenses I would love to have, but the cost of them is a little more than I can currently afford. One of those would be a 35mm and another the 100mm macro.
6) We hear a lot of debate on natural light vs. studio light, what are your thoughts on the subject?
I use both. I love both. Sometimes you need to use studio light. When I photograph newborns I use natural light and enhance that with studio because the light coming in is never enough ( small window). I do prefer natural light and love photographing outdoors because of this.
7) How did you learn to be a photographer?
I bought a point and shoot camera about 6 years ago and loved taking pictures. I then got a job at CPI studios…otherwise known as sears. I began loving it, especially that toddler age. I started my own business about 3 years ago, while working a full time job in the medical field. I now only photograph…and stay home with my children of course!
8) What or who inspires you? Do you have a photographer you look up to?
I look up to quite a few photographers. I love Stephanie Cotta and her style for newborn, children, and family. Like many others, my children inspire me. I currently have a daughter, birthday is coming up and she will be 6, who loves to help me come up with ideas. She often comes with to sessions as she wants to be a photographer and artist. I have 2 boys as well, ages 1 and 3, who inspire me to love that toddler age even more…no matter how “curious” they may be.
9) When you’re doing a photoshoot or working an event, what is your favorite part?
I love getting smiles from my little clients. I sometimes have to work hard, but I have never had a session without at least 1 smile or smirk….newborns included.
10) What have you struggled with the most while having a career as a professional photographer? Any tips for somebody who is just starting out?
My current struggle is working in an extremely tiny space. My indoor lighting is a challenge because of this. I really have enough room for a beanbag and 1 light, I use a reflector, but it stays against a wall providing a little extra light.
When I started, I did not know what I wanted to specialize in. I did a little of everything and did not value my time. After my third, and final, child I realized my time and skill was important and I needed to charge appropriately for that.
My biggest thing for people coming into this industry is to start off valuing yourself and your time. Do not undercharge or give super cheap sessions because as you grow as a business, people will still want those prices and you will be considered a cheap photographer. Something some clients do not understand is they are not just paying for that hour or 2 of your time, but they are paying for: your set up, clean up, use of your props, use of your camera equipment, use of your time for the session and editing, and use of your continuous learning/expertise.
11) Do you have any unconventional tips or tricks for getting your little clients to cooperate during a shoot?
To get my little clients to give me a more natural smile, I go back to my voice training days and have them say words that give a natural/relaxing smile. examples: “ice” “me” “peace”. try them, I guarantee there will be no forced smile with any of these words.
When I photograph outdoors, I will often go shoeless. Why? because I choose areas where I hike up my pants and will hop in the stream with kids. splashing is always fun!
12) Where would you like to see your company in the next five years?
I would love to do more teaching to other photographers. I currently teach a class on photographing your toddlers. I would love to take this to other towns/states and continue doing these workshops.