Focusing On Moms, Keiki
Island Reflections Photography
Tell us about your business. I specialize in newborn photography, but I also do lifestyle family portraits, maternity, engagement and weddings here on Kaua‘i.
How did you get started in this business and how long has it been going? I went to Towson University in Baltimore for photography in 1994-98 and graduated with a BFA. I went on to get my master’s in education from Humboldt State University, but even as I was learning and teaching, I always had to take photography and watercolor, pottery or whatever extra art classes I could fit into my schedule. I always had to be creating. As a teacher, I always instilled creativity in my classroom. I opened up the West Side Art Academy in Kekaha the summers of 2001 and 2002. As much as I loved teaching, when I had my children I knew I wanted to stay at home with them. That’s when my passion for newborn and child photography came about. I started my own photography business in 2007.
Where are you from originally, and what role does that play in your business (if any)? I am originally from Long Island, N.Y. Growing up in the shadows of a big city really influenced me as an artist. I always loved going into the city as a kid and visiting museums. I was always surrounded by the best artists and photographers growing up, and I think being surrounded by that really does have an impact on your life. Also, my father and uncles are all photographers.
What is your speciality, and who can benefit from it? My specialty is newborns. I have a newborn portrait studio in Hanapepe. But my business doesn’t stop there. I create long-lasting relationships with my clients. I often start out photographing their engagement sessions, then weddings and then they call me to do maternity pictures. Often, when the baby comes I photograph their babies, too. I offer “grow with me” packages for my clients as well. My clients really become my friends, and I love it. Entire families benefit from my business. My “lifestyle” portraits focus more on the spirit of your family rather than just a bunch of posed images. Also, because newborns are not easy to photograph, it takes a lot of time and patience. Believe it or not, a lot of the new style of newborn portraits is done in Photoshop. Newborn safety is very important, and no one should attempt this unless they know the techniques to make these pictures happen, with safety first. I also have had the opportunity to photograph the entire 40 weeks of pregnancy week-by-week as mommy’s belly and baby grew. I have even documented a birth of a child, which I hope to get the opportunity to photograph again.
What sets your business apart? My style is very natural and organic. I try to incorporate Kaua‘i’s natural beauty in all my portraits. Oftentimes if a client asks for props, I think of the location and try to find props that fit with the portrait location naturally. I incorporate the surrounding landscapes and foliage in all my sessions. I have a studio set up specifically for newborns and their needs. I also have a gallery boutique showcasing some of my work as well as other local artists’ creations for brides, babies and art lovers.
Why do you do what you do? I love what I do. It’s always been my passion. My love for photography began long before it was digital. I love capturing memories in time.
What motivates you to get up and go to work every day? My work motivates me. My clients’ faces and their response when they see a preview. After a session, I am often so excited to see the images, almost as excited as my clients.
Do you have a business motto or philosophy for doing business? My photography business philosophy is a reflection of my life experience and my desire to conserve the spectacular places on earth that I enjoy. I tread as lightly as I can and use the following business practices: • Use 100 percent post-consumer recycled paper for all of my printed materials. • Donate to local charities and events. • Use rechargeable batteries in all of my camera equipment. • Use online Web galleries for my clients to proof their photo session. • Donate used camera equipment, printers, computers, etc., to local schools.
What is the most challenging aspect of your business? Blogging and editing. Since I am a one-woman show, during busy seasons I am the only one editing and taking pictures, so I tend to get behind and have to make clients wait longer for their images than “off season” clients. This always frustrates me, and I wish I could get it to them faster. I am not a fan of blogging, it takes so much time, but I get such positive feedback from my clients that I know it’s necessary to keep my clients up-to-date with my work. So I do struggle with that.
What is your business plan for the future? I would love to see my business grow, but I am not looking to grow in terms of more clients and more shoots. I want my business to grow in terms of my natural and artful approach to my images. I also would love to travel more from my work.
If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing? I would go back to teaching, but I would have to teach art. Life is too short to be doing something you’re not passionate about.
Where can people learn more?
Website: islandreflectionsphotography.com; blog: https://blog.islandreflectionsphotography.com; Facebook page: Island Reflections Photography; email: firstname.lastname@example.org; phone: 645-0963.
Of course, anyone can stop by my studio to chat. It is located in the courtyard by Little Fish Coffee in Hanapepe.