The next photosanity workshop is coming up starting January 31st! Yes, I know, I just had a baby and am supposedly on "maternity leave"... but the great thing is that the content really is complete this time and will just need to be released weekly and I'll be able to focus on the facebook groups.
Yes, groups - plural. Photosanity is going national! Ok, obviously as the workshop is online, we've already had participants from around the country and the world, but up until now, the focus has been on NYC participants.
This time, I have four professional family photographers from around the country who helped to mentor the fall workshop continuing on with their own facebook group for their city. The cities are: Austin, TX, Chicago, IL, Los Angeles, CA and San Diego, CA as well as, of course, NYC.
I thought it would be fun to interview each mentor before the workshop starts so you can all get to know them. Today's interview is with Alison Eden Copeland of Alison Eden Photography. She will be mentoring the Austin, TX group.
Alison Eden Copeland (Austin, TX)Alison Eden Photography
(also on facebook)
Based in Austin, Texas, Alison is the mother of two crazy boys, ages 3.5 and almost 6! She’s been in business since her first was born, and photographs mostly babies, kids, newborns, and families. She also LOVES to teach and has spent quite a bit of time teaching parents how to photograph their children. 1) How and why did you decide to become a professional photographer?
Like a lot of moms, I didn't want to go "back to work" after having my first baby. So, my grandmother gave me a DSLR as a gift, and I started practicing on my baby. I taught myself photography and Photoshop, and I took my first paying client when my son was 6 months old--in my dining room. The whole career has been a very hands-on learning experience for me, and I've been incredibly lucky, in that my business really exploded right from the beginning. I've barely been able to catch my breath!
2) How would you describe your style?
I was once asked to describe my style in three words, and I choose funky, intimate, and humorous. I've tried other styles at the request of clients, and I've learned that I'm just not great at uber-classic or frou-frou stuff. I tend toward bright colors and wacky prints, and I like a bit of humor in most of my work, since I think kids are inherently funny. I think the most important thing about photographing a child is getting the eyes to sparkle, because that's what parents are going to remember most about the child. I also like to commemorate their little hands and feet, and the qualities of their skin.
3) What do you most enjoy photographing?
The absolute easiest stage of life for me to photograph is the sitting-up-but-not-yet-crawling stage. Babies in that stage are full of sparkle and personality, they're usually chubby, and they can't get away from me! I also LOVE to photograph newborns, but that can be really unpredictable and difficult. Of course, the only thing that gives me a real, sustained high is a birth. Birth is obviously the coolest thing in the whole world, and to be present at one is always an honor. But it's also such a naturally beautiful and emotive event, it's a total joy to photograph.
4) Which is your favorite lens?
My favorite lens right now (for Nikon) is the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 lens. When I shot Canon, it was the Canon 50mm f/1.2. Both of them give incredible bokeh and gorgeous colors.
5) What have you most enjoyed about being a photosanity mentor so far?
I've really enjoyed watching people grow over just a few weeks from total beginner status to understanding light and composition and making the most of their equipment.
6) What is your favorite photography tip for parents?
To turn off the flash. If you're looking at a scene and you think it would make a great photo, you're going to completely change the feel of it when you add a flash. You never see your child the way a camera with a flash sees your child. It's just an unflattering look to me. Obviously, sometimes it's necessary, and sometimes photographers use flash for artistic reasons, but I think for a parent who is learning to photograph his or her children, turning off the flash makes a photo instantly more emotive and real.
7) Share three of your recent favorite photos (personal and/or professional) - why are they favorites?
The first two photos are recent favorites because they're professional photos I took of my best friend's brand-new baby boy. I love the colors and the light in the first one. In the second, I just love all his fuzz. The third photo is one I took on my iPhone of my own two sons. I love it because it's genuine. It's just them holding hands, running down the street, after a particularly fun day of sliding down a grassy hill in homemade sleds. I love it that, even though they're 2.5 years apart in age, their feet are perfectly in stride.
8) Choose one photo from a fall 2011 participant that you particularly like and explain why.
I love this photo (by workshop participant Lisa Pelavin) for a few reasons. I love the composition, and the fact that the boy is back-lit. I also love the depth of field, and the interest the chain-link fence adds to the image. But mainly, I probably love this because it reminds me of my oldest son. He's sensitive and deep, and I always want to capture that, along with his beautiful blue-gray eyes. But he's also self-conscious and won't allow himself to be natural in front of the camera. So I love it that this photo captures what I wish to capture in my son.
nyc baby, child and family photographer & architect alethea cheng fitzpatrick is based in brooklyn. she specializes in baby photography as interior design & interior design for babies. view her portfolio of babies, children or families or send her an e-mail here!