FEATURE: Memories by Chantelle | Woodinville WA Newborn Photographer

I am SOOOO excited to get our featured photographers back up and rolling and couldn’t be more thrilled to introduce our next Featured Photographer, Chantelle Schreyer of Memories by Chantelle | Live Love Laugh. She is an incredible person, talented photographer, and amazing artist. Along with being a photographer, Chantelle also has a fantastic line of newborn props at Trinket & Pixie | Knits n Purls for Wee Ones. 

Thank you, Chantelle, for giving of your time to share about newborn photography!
1.)    How did you get started as a newborn photographer?
I’ve had a passion for photography ever since I can remember. But I began seeking out newborn photography three years ago.I started learning everything I could get my hands on, and studied light and safety techniques, & posing, and then just practiced and practiced till I staretd to see improvement. As an artist there’s always a period of time where we struggle to be where we want to be, but that time frame is usually one of huge growth!

2.)    What would you say was your biggest struggle when first starting out?
My biggest struggle was probably posing but also learning to “see light”. I notice even now with new photographers, that is where their struggle is too. Photography is really all about light, and all the factors that come with it. And once you “get it” everythign else seems to fall right into place!

3.)    How did you land on your style?
I landed my style by really beginning to listen to my self and by focusing on what colors and props suited me, rather than “following” trends or what was going on, on Facebook etc. I started out with all sorts of loud props and bright colors, which is totally fine and really nice, but I really didn’t feel it suited me or who I was. I personally like more neutral and narural tones in my own clothing, and therefore I simply allowed myself a more “organic and earthy” style to follow in my photography as well. But most importantly, I personally want the newborn to “take over” the image, not the prop, or backdrop, or hat, etc. Simple and natural is best for me.
4.)    What advice would you give aspiring newborn photographers on discovering their own identity within the industry?
Follow your heart and listen to your very own creative intuition about things. Stop comparing yourselves to others and just truly do what ignites your creative passion. The rest will follow. Oh yes…and also….love one another in this industry. Love your neighbor, love your competition, and love your teachers. We are all striving to do basically the same thing, and that is to capture and deliver amazing images of such a precious moment of time in the lives of new parents. Let’s support each other in that. We were all beginners once, and we are all always still learning, no matter how long we’ve been doing this. And……We all learn from inspiration, and lifting each other up. There’s more than enough babies to go around!!
5.)    When it comes to safe newborn poses and practices within a session, how do you handle that?
Safety is priority number one in my studio! I have actually just recently hired an assistant to be present at every one of my newborn and milestone sessions. Prior to that, I have always asked for a mom or dad’s help or I have asked another local photographer to come and assist. I will never do a pose if I feel it is uncomfortable for the newborn, and I always have a hand on the baby. I shoot with a 35mm 99% of the time, and I was blessed with really long arms! This allows me to always have a hand either close to or on baby, before and right after the shot. If there is a pose such as the “froggy pose” I will always, always, always do it as a composite. And in all honesty…it took me a really long time to build up to feeling comfortable with this pose. I didn’t try it until the end of my second year, when I truly felt comfortable and had enough experience to do so. And…even now…I will only do this pose if it gets requested by parents. It is not in my normal workflow. I also don’t do hanging poses for the same reason. I know they can be done safely, and are very beautiful, but I just prefer not to involve any risk with a newborn. I just personally prefer more natural, comfortable set ups and poses, done safely on a posing beanbag, or in a secure, weighted basket or bucket with my hand on baby at all times. I also always make sure baby is in a very deep sleep, before posing a newborn in a prop. and……when shooting from above, I always secure my camera strap over my neck.

7.)    You provide 1:1 and 1:2 mentorships for aspiring photographers, which is fantastic! What are some things that they will learn at this mentorship?
I do provide intimate 1:1 or small group mentoring a few times throughout the year. During a mentoring session, photographers will learn newborn posing on the posing beanbag, as well as in floor props. I discuss business aspects, session set up and styling, how to prepare and interact with parents, newborn soothing techniques, safety discussions and examples, as well as share my post processing secrets! All of this is done while teaching studio light, either with my softbox or my 86″ shoot through umbrella. Students will come away with a posing workflow and style guide, and a wealth of information, allowing them to go back to their studio and immediately apply new found techniques and ideas to help build their newborn photography business. Here is the link to find out more about my mentoring;  http://www.livelovelaughphotographblog.com/dreamy-studio-light-newborn-mentoring/
Website & Blog: http://www.livelovelaughphotographblog.com/
Photography FB Page: https://www.facebook.com/live.love.laugh.photograph
Newborn Prop Shop: https://www.facebook.com/trinketandpixie
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