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Seacoast-Area Photographer Guide Roundtable

What style(s) do you specialize in? What types of shoots do you do?

I specialize in lifestyle family and child portrait sessions. I offer family, newborn, child portraits, senior portraits, head shots, and small business promotion.

What kind of gear do you use?

I use a Canon 5D Mark III and multiple lenses. My favorites are the Sigma 35mm f/1.4, Canon 24-70mm f/2.8, and Canon telephoto lens 70-200 f/2.8

What inspires your photography?

I’m inspired by what surrounds me in my day to day, whether it be my children, a unique location, beautiful light, colors, and textures. I’m often told that I see things differently than others. That they would never have noticed something so beautiful about something so ordinary. I guess I am always looking at life through my own lens.

What is the best tip for someone preparing for a shoot with you?

Prepare your children for our photo session. Get them excited because we will have fun. Make sure that they’ve eaten and feel free to bring snacks. A lot of my families plan a special outing for after the shoot which can be a great incentive for good behavior.

How did you end up becoming a photographer? What path did you take here?

I am a former infectious disease researcher turned SAHM turned self-taught photographer. My love for photography began after the birth of my son more than eight years ago. I wanted to capture his laughter, love, and everything in between. I loved how capturing these images was like freezing a moment in time. Something every mother wishes she could do. I love documenting real moments for my family and others. Authentic, tangible moments that are uniquely yours. Creating portraits gives me the opportunity to make personal connections and capture moments and emotions so they won’t be forgotten.

What motivates you to continue being a photographer?

I am always looking for the greatest shot and that keeps me motivated. I am inspired by some pretty amazing photographers from around the world. I am constantly in awe of their talent and that pushes me to do better, work harder, try new things and step outside of my comfort zone.

What is your favorite Seacoast-area location to shoot and why?

My new favorite Seacoast-area location is Fort Stark in New Castle. It’s especially beautiful in the fall. So many great backdrops from the forts themselves, to the rocky shoreline, colorful marshland, and a lighthouse in the distance.

What is the best part about your job?

I love the freedom my job affords me. Because I own my own business I can plan my work schedule around my family and personal needs. I can also choose how I want to market my business, my price point, and what services to offer. Working as a photographer has provided new and exciting
opportunities. It may have its moments, but the good always outweighs the bad and often, it feels like the greatest job in the world, next to being a mother, of course.

What style(s) do you specialize in? What types of shoots do you do?

My style is classic and natural. I work hard to make clients feel relaxed and comfortable in their session.  I think that the more you are enjoying yourself the better your photographs, because they will reflect you and your family in an authentic way.  I work with families, newborns, young children, high school seniors and professionals.  Sessions take place at my studio as well as on location. 

What gear do you use?

My bag is always loaded up with my Nikon DSLR, a variety of lenses, and spare memory cards.  One lens that I love to use for portraits is a 50mm, it’s what I learned to photograph with, but also it creates crisp and vivid photographs. When I am finished a shoot I upload the images to my iMac and process through Photoshop, and Lightroom to bring out the best in the images.

What inspires your photography?

Everything! I have learned to get low to the ground with my daughter as she plays or climbing up on a chair is a great way to get a unique angle.  Light, color, and candid moments are so remarkable to photograph.

What is the best tip for someone preparing for a shoot with you?

Relax and have fun!  Being yourself and being playful with your partner and children will create natural and spontaneous photographs.  I will coach you through and help you settle into our session.  I have over 12  years of experience working with young children so your family will also be is in great hands! Professional photography is an investment, you want to have photographs that reflect the essence of you and your family because you will treasure them for years to come.

How did you end up becoming a photographer? What path did you take here?

I have been a photographer for as long as I can remember.  My family always enjoyed taking photos, and I got my first camera when I was 12…my passion grew from there.  My college degree is in Early Childhood Studies and that took me to Singapore where I taught Kindergarten.  Part of teaching young children is documenting their journey and their growth, my method for this was photography.  When my daughter was born I left teaching to stay home full time.  I began documenting her childhood and found that time was passing so quickly and we appreciate each photo so much.  My passion for photography began to grow into a business as I started to photograph friends and family.  I started Arabella Design Studio and love helping families capture moments that they will cherish for a lifetime.

What motivates you to continue being a photographer?

Every session is unique, no two are the same. You cannot control all aspects of a photoshoot.  If a toddler is not feeling the photos, or the weather changes it makes me work harder, get creative, and always challenges me in different ways.

What is your favorite Seacoast-area location to shoot and why? 

My studio is located in Eliot Maine, along the river and surrounded by a large field.  There is no shortage of gorgeous outdoor backdrops that change with the seasons. We have cherry and apple blossoms in the spring, wildflowers mid-summer, stunning maples in the fall, and evergreens through the winter.  I have a warm and welcoming indoor studio. This is where I primarily photograph newborns and young children, as well as professional portraits. The seacoast offers amazing settings and I am happy to meet clients on location as well.

What is the best part about your job? 

Starting a photography studio has been a dream come true.  I have the flexibility to be home with my daughter, while capturing priceless moments with clients that they will treasure for years to come.

What style(s) do you specialize in? What types of shoots do you do?

I specialize in lifestyle photography and aim to capture natural moments with a photojournalistic touch. I shoot family sessions, weddings, engagements, lifestyle newborn sessions, maternity, and senior sessions.

What kind of gear do you use?

I use Canon DSLRs and L-Series lenses. My favorite camera is the 5d Mark IV and my favorite lens is my 85mm 1.2!

What inspires your photography?

I am inspired by my clients! Whether it is a couple’s love for each other, or the new love they have for their first child, or the love a family has for each other, I want to be there to capture it so it can be forever treasured. I’m also inspired by light. There have been many times I’ve been driving down the highway and have wanted to stop and find a family to meet me at that mile marker because of the way the light is filtering through the trees!

What is the best tip for someone preparing for a shoot with you?

The key to a successful shoot is to have fun! I try to make my sessions as low-stress as possible. Everyone should wear something they love and feel comfortable in. I have lots of tricks to help sessions go smoothly and we can absolutely take our time and ensure that everyone is happy, so just relax and we will do our best to have a good time!

How did you end up becoming a photographer? What path did you take here?

I have always had a passion for art and became interested in photography in college while pursuing a studio art degree. My boyfriend at the time (now husband!) proposed to me with my first DSLR and from then on I’ve loved documenting love stories and growing families.

What motivates you to continue being a photographer?

There are always more things to learn, more families and couples to meet, and more beautiful places to shoot. Every session feels fresh and new to me and I love the experience of creating something brand new for every family.

What is your favorite Seacoast-area location to shoot and why?

I adore Wagon Hill Farm. It has a huge variety of terrain, including walking paths, fields, gorgeous hills, trees, gardens, and water.

What is the best part about your job?

I love getting to watch families grow! Photographing a wedding and then documenting that couples’ children a few years down the road is such an awesome experience. Being a photographer also allows me to spend lots of time with my own son, and I cherish that gift.

What inspires your photography?

I am most inspired by love and light. I adore working with Seacoast families to create custom sessions that capture their unique personalities and spirits. The most important thing is to document all of the beautiful and intimate moments that naturally unfold during a family session. I just love those cute little kisses, big hugs, and amazing giggles and laughter that parents share with their sweet little ones. I love playing with light and finding amazing backlit areas to create beautiful highlights in my images. I am always looking for the sun and trying to filter it through trees or sea grass to create that glow effect you see in many of my images. Light is so important when choosing a location for a portrait session.

What is the best tip for someone preparing for a shoot with you?

Parents are always concerned that their kids will not cooperate or have meltdowns during a family portrait session. It is so important to offer parents advice ahead of time so they are well prepared for what is to come. I always suggest building up the session about how much fun it is going to be! I suggest parents take the kids out for ice cream after so they have something special to look forward to. It’s always a good idea to make sure the little ones have full bellies before the shoot, and try to avoid bringing snacks to the session. Most importantly, just relax. Always leave yourself plenty of time and prepare to arrive 15 minutes early in case things do not go exactly as planned. My sessions are always fun and relaxed–it’s not your typical “look at the camera and smile!” I have many tricks for photographing children; parents need not worry about a thing!

How long have you been a photographer?

My interest in photography started in high school, and I am so blessed I was able to make it my profession when I went into business in 2008. It was during the planning process of my own wedding that I realized I wanted to start my career as a wedding photographer. I worked for a company that eventually moved me up to a lead photographer before I ventured out on my own in 2008. In 2007, I was inspired by the birth of my first child to build my portrait portfolio. My daughters are now six and eight, and probably the most photographed children in the Seacoast-area. I adore photographing children of all ages.

How would you describe your style?

I adore creating colorful, soft, and whimsical images infused with love and light. I specialize in natural light photography, both in studio and outdoors, and it is my goal to create one-of-a kind images for families to cherish and pass on to future generations.

What motivates you to continue being a photographer?

What fascinates me most about photography is being able to capture the individuality, spirit, and beauty I see in each face I photograph. I enjoy working closely with my clients and making their artistic vision come to life. Whether I am photographing the simplicity of a sleeping newborn or the excitement and romance of a couple’s most intimate day, my goal is to create beautiful memories and preserve life’s special moments.

What is your favorite New Hampshire-area location to shoot and why?

I have so many favorite spots in the New Hampshire and Seacoast area for beautiful family photography. For most of my sessions, outdoor, open-air environments are always my first choice. I love shooting in wide-open natural spaces because the light is amazing, especially during golden hour. There are so many beautiful beaches to take advantage of and downtown Portsmouth, NH is always a really cool spot. I’m not sure if I can pick a favorite location, as I love testing out new areas that hold special significance to my clients, and I am always learning of new spots.  

What is the best part about your job?

The best part about my job is that I get to go to work everyday and love what I do. I am able to be creative, have a ton of fun, and build amazing relationships with Seacoast families. I adore seeing the journey of a family starting with a couple at their engagement session and on their wedding day, and then reconnecting when they start their own family. There is nothing better than making a wonderful connection with a couple and then watching their children grow over the years. I am truly blessed.

What style(s) do you specialize in? What types of shoots do you do?

I’m a lifestyle portraiture and wedding photographer, and shoot a range of people and events – from weddings and engagements, to families and seniors. My style is emotive, earthy, and honest. I utilize a lot of natural light, and at the end of the day, I aim to focus my work on storytelling.

What kind of gear do you use?

For family sessions specifically – I typically bring a Nikon camera body, and (depending on location) anywhere 2-4 Nikon & Sigma fixed-focal lenses.

What inspires your photography?

My clients and their love for their families and each other. Nature, especially New Hampshire’s ever-changing landscape and seasons. More recently, I’ve been influenced greatly by other photographers, and truly believing in the idea of community over competition. I’m very passionate about continuously learning. Social media and blogging has made it so incredibly easy to discover and learn from photographers from around the world, and there are some crazy talented individuals out there that really inspire my work.

What is the best tip for someone preparing for a shoot with you?

Communicate! Don’t be afraid to share who you are, your story, and any expectations or concerns. I’m an open person; I don’t want my clients to hesitate in contacting me if they have any questions or need any help prepping for their session. I understand things better when they’re visually laid out, so I create a lot of mood boards before my sessions. If you have a vision, or any ideas and inspiration, send it on over!

How did you end up becoming a photographer? What path did you take here?

I grew up in a household that really cherished art and storytelling. My mom’s oil paintings are hanging on the walls, and my dad’s voice is always booming throughout the house telling stories from his day. I spent my childhood with my nose in a lot of books, and was convinced that I’d grow up and become an author. But I quickly learned that I’m not the greatest with words, and it wasn’t the writing part that I found intriguing – it was the storytelling. The rest of my path, of how I got here today, is actually quite boring: I took some classes in high school, went to business school, and ended up taking a ton of photography and design courses while I was there anyway. I graduated in 2015 and started working in corporate marketing and advertising. I still work a regular 9-5 in marketing today. I’ve wanted to open up my own photography business since I was 14, but have spent the past 10 years waiting until I was “good enough” to really be confident in my work and put my name out there. This past Spring I bit the bullet, stopped doubting myself, and started booking portrait sessions and weddings.

What motivates you to continue being a photographer?

I like to think that a beautiful portrait can change someone’s self perception. We’re humans, we have flaws, but I ultimately think we’re all just a bit too hard on ourselves. I’ve had clients who were feeling insecure about their appearance, felt frustrated as a parent, or embarrassed sharing a little PDA in front of the camera. There’s nothing wrong with that. It’s part of my job to cut through frustrations, gain your trust, and capture you and your family’s true beauty. Lately, I’ve been super motivated to make people feel confident with their appearance, their families, and their relationships.

What is your favorite Seacoast-area location to shoot and why?

I feel like my favorite changes weekly, but lately (because I’m missing summer) it’s been our beaches! There’s nothing like it at golden hour, and I’m a huge fan of windblown hair, golden light reflecting off blue waters, kids running around in the sand, and the waves crashing in.

What is the best part about your job?

At the end of the day, it’s all about capturing human connection. When you ask people what possessions they would rescue from their burning house, one of the most frequent answers is their family and personal photographs. I find it incredibly powerful that our human impulse is to save our recorded memories. Photographs are our personal story, a timeline of our lives filled with faces and places that we love. I like being part of that.

What style(s) do you specialize in? What types of shoots do you do?

I specialize in lifestyle photos for families and newborns. This allows me to have a closer connection with families during their shoot since we are working in a natural environment without a studio. For my family sessions I work on an agreed upon location and for newborn sessions I work right in the comfort of your own home!

What kind of gear do you use?

I am a Nikon girl!

What inspires your photography?

I love real moments and being able to freeze those moments in time. Everyone says time goes by way too fast and kids grow up in the blink of an eye, I love to be able to capture real life moments for parents and families to look back on.

What is the best tip for someone preparing for a shoot with you?

Relax! We will go through the details of your shoot beforehand so all you have to do is show up and be yourself! I will work with you to make your session as comfortable as possible.

How did you end up becoming a photographer? What path did you take here?

I have always enjoyed photography and once I got my first DSLR things evolved from there. I loved taking photos of anything and everything and decided to make a business out of it. As time went on, I grew to have a passion for families and newborns.

What motivates you to continue being a photographer?

I am motivated by the connection with clients starting from the moment we begin to plan the session to the delivery of the images. There is a feeling that cannot be explained when I get the images on my computer and begin editing images that continues all the way until I deliver the final images to my clients. That is what keeps me going!

What is your favorite Seacoast-area location to shoot and why?

The beach!! I have always had a connection with the beach so any day I can work with my clients with my toes in the sand is a good day in my book.

What is the best part about your job?

Creating connections with my clients and doing what I love!

What style(s) do you specialize in? What types of shoots do you do?

I am a boudoir photographer. When people ask me “what’s boudoir?” I joke and tell them I shoot boobs and butts, haha! But in all seriousness, I focus on making women feel special. As a woman myself, I know how easy it is to put yourself LAST on the priority list. Whether you are a mom, wife, girlfriend, daughter, employee, business owner, dog-mom, whatever, it’s all too common to neglect yourself and your well being. I believe boudoir is the answer to finding yourself love again. All women want to feel beautiful and see themselves as beautiful. That is what I offer.

What kind of gear do you use?

I use a variety of photography equipment and lighting equipment.

What inspires your photography?

I have days when I look in the mirror and pick myself apart. Other days, I take 100 selfies because I am slaying the hair game. It’s a rollercoaster for me, just as it is for every other woman on the planet. I like impacting people’s lives. When I show a client her images for the first time and she cries tears of joy, and thanks me for helping her love herself again, I feel good about what I do. I love reading the things my clients write to women in my Facebook group inquiring about a session, saying it’s “the best thing I’ve ever done for myself” and “I see myself as a beautiful person now”. I like that I am able to help women in that way through my passion of photography.

What is the best tip for someone preparing for a shoot with you?

My team does a really excellent job of making sure our clients are fully prepared for their sessions. We are a full service studio, you literally show up and we take care of every-single- thing.

How did you end up becoming a photographer? What path did you take here?

I used to steal my grandmother’s camera as a toddler and take blurry pictures on film of her flower garden. The woman has a serious green thumb. She would print the images and put them in an album for me. My mother told me I should pursue photography, but of course as a rebellious teen I said “NO I WANT TO BE A MARINE BIOLOGIST”. Once I realized I had to take calculus to get my marine bio degree, I quickly switched into photography and never looked back.

What motivates you to continue being a photographer?

I love that my career brings new friends into my life, and that I get to do things like travel to Italy and Greece to photograph professional models and paying clients. I have designed a life that I love, I am renting a dream studio, I have an amazing team, I honestly wouldn’t change a single thing in my life. I know I am doing exactly what I was put on earth to do.

What is your favorite Seacoast-area location to shoot and why?

July and August we close the studio and only offer outdoor sessions. We do sunrise and sunset boudoir sessions in awesome locations, but my favorite is on the beach. I can’t give away the exact locations for privacy reasons, but these sessions truly fuel my fire. Something about the ocean and being naked is so freeing for my clients, they really let loose and embrace it. The images are STUNNING.

What is the best part about your job?

Um, if I haven’t gotten the point across yet that I am absolutely in love with what I do then you weren’t paying attention.

What inspires your photography?

Being part of families’ biggest moments and major milestones are what inspires me! Capturing life, love, and family–especially in it’s beginning stages–is what it’s all about for me. My ultimate passion is newborn photography, as there is something so extraordinary about documenting the very beginning of a child’s life. You are able to freeze a parent’s most special moment, and because of how sleepy and malleable newborns are, you can create art using the most special person in their life. It’s artwork that will tug at your heartstrings forever!

What is the best tip for someone preparing for a shoot with you?

Clothing can make or break a portrait, so this is where they should spend the most time planning. (1) Simplicity is key to creating a timeless portrait. Everybody in the portrait should wear items that complement each other in style and color. It is not necessary for all clothes to match, but they must make sense together. If dad wears a suit and tie and mom wears shorts and a t-shirt, the portrait may look unbalanced and poorly planned. (2) Pick clothes appropriate to the portrait’s setting. Think of the color tones at the location of the portrait and dress in complimenting colors. For example, the beach has lots of cool tone and the woods in autumn are filled with warm colors. For newborn portraits, a simple white t-shirt and jeans are all you need! (3) Stick to solids and subtle patterns. Bold stripes, large designs, and polka dots stand out and tend to draw attention from the portrait’s subject. A mix of patterns can clash and reduce the quality of a portrait. (4) Dress in timeless clothing for your family portrait. Let your age, rather than the clothes you wear, date the portrait.

How long have you been a photographer?

I would consider myself a photographer since the very first roll of film I developed (yes, I am dating myself) in 1998, so…18 years. I opened my studio in 2005 after returning from college at Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, CA.

How would you describe your style?

Two words: organic and vintage. I love using organic materials such as wood, burlap, wool, fur, etc. to create layers with different natural textures. The vintage style in general has a sweet spot in my heart, as I feel it’s just timeless. I would definitely consider myself to be more of a posed photographer rather than candid, as I build scenes for my clients to be photographed in based off the interior decorating in their home.

What motivates you to continue being a photographer?

The fact that I get to be creative everyday and turn my creativity into a business that preserves people’s biggest moments.

What is your favorite New Hampshire-area location to shoot and why?

My studio for sure! I have an indoor and outdoor studio all in one location. This allows me to give my clients two completely different looks in one session. My indoor studio is where I build scenes based off the interior decorating in my client’s home, and my outdoor studio has such a classic New England feel with tall fields of grass, a rustic barn, and beautiful old pine trees.

What is the best part about your job?

Being my own boss and, of course, getting to snuggle with babies all day long!

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