Inspiring Interview | featuring Rebecca Connolly Photography

Our Inspiring Photographer Interview for this week features Rebecca Connolly Photography. Rebecca is one of our very own talented LSI Pro Members. You can follow more of her inspiring work on her blog and Facebook. Please meet Rebecca…

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A Few Words From Rebecca Connolly Photography

I’m a newborn and maternity photographer based in Sydney, Australia. I opened my photography business at the beginning of 2011. I am passionate about photographing newborn babies and feel lucky that I love my work and it brings a little bit of joy into other peoples’ lives. On the personal side, I have been married to the most amazing man for 11 years and we have 4 kids. My house is full of life, laughter, love, chaos, drama (I have three girls!), hugs and joy.

If there was one thing you would want us to know about you, what would it be?

I like to be busy! My days are jam-packed and my life is crazy and I would not have it any other way!

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Studio, on location or both?

I shoot out of my home studio. It is set-up in a separate room in my house. It is not very big, but I make it work.

North Sydney Newborn Photography | studio

Natural light, studio light or both? Preference?

For the first few years I shot using natural light. However, at the beginning of 2013, I switched to using studio lighting as there was not enough light in my new home studio space. I actually love both natural light and studio light, however I love the consistency and control that I have with my studio lighting.

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Share with us your all time favorite image and why.

All photographers will tell you that this is really hard! It is almost impossible to narrow it down to just one favorite image. So this is my current favorite image. I had photographed this gorgeous mother’s first baby three years ago. At this photo shoot, she did not want to get in any images saying that she did not look great. I encouraged her (and then insisted!) saying that her little boy will want to see an image of her holding him ….. this images reflects how important it is for us mothers to get into the photos and now she has this gorgeous photo to remember this moment.

North Sydney Newborn Photography | favourite image

What inspired you to be a photographer?

Definitely my kids! But I have always loved photography. After my first baby was born I became engrossed in digital scrapbooking and invested my time in learning graphic design. From there my desire to focus on improving my photography grew. I was lucky to know straight away that I wanted to specialize in photographing newborns.

North Sydney Newborn Photography | Family

Would you consider yourself a hobbyist or a paid professional?

I am a paid professional.

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Is photography your full time career?

Yes. However, I am also a lawyer and I periodically teach law classes at a university. It is about 80% photography and 20% law at the moment.

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What type of session do you look forward to the most vs what type of session you most often do?

I am super lucky that the sessions that I love, which are newborn and maternity sessions, are the sessions that I book. I decided to specialize my business and market just for newborn and maternity photo sessions. I do offer follow-up 6-12 month photo sessions to my clients, but this is not the bulk of my work.

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On average, how many sessions do you have per month?

I shoot around 8 sessions per month. I have done more than that occasionally, but I have found that my happy work/life balance is best when I stick to around 8 sessions a month.

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What has been your most memorable session and why?

I would have to say that photographing my youngest baby as a newborn was my most memorable newborn photography session. She was unexpectedly born with a serious congenital heart defect, so we did not expect to be able to bring her home from the hospital in time for newborn photos. But she exceeded all of the doctor’s expectations. I will never forget the emotional roller coaster of those few weeks and the pure joy I felt at being able to take newborn photos of my baby girl.

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What has been the best source of information along your photography journey (workshop, online forums, classroom, mentor, etc)?

There is so much support and information in the photography community for newborn photographers. I have accessed it all (workshops, online forums, photography groups) and each has been vital to my development during the different stages of my photography journey. I am so happy to now be able to offer the same support to other beginner newborn photographers through my studio lighting and posing workshops. I really believe that helping and supporting each other makes our whole community stronger.

North Sydney Newborn Photography | workshops

What has been the biggest source of inspiration in your work?

I will never forget something that Robin Long (an amazing newborn photographer) said to me back in 2011 when I took her workshop … she encouraged me to not look at anyone’s work and to photograph the images that appeal to me. Over time, by taking photographs that I ‘like’, I have found my own style and my own source of inspiration. My amazing clients inspire me daily – seeing their happy smiles reminds me why I love this job.

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Nikon or Canon? Favorite lens?

I am a Canon girl. I use the 5D Mark II. However, I have recently purchased two Sigma lens (the 50mm Art and the 35mm Art) and I LOVE theses Sigma lens.

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How would you define your post processing style?

I would define my post-processing style as clean, bright, warm and natural.

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What is one piece of advice you would like to offer a new photographer looking to start their own business?

My advice is to practice, practice, practice. Invest in a good workshop that is going to teach you how to settle, pose and ‘light’ a newborn baby properly. Do not ignore the business side – for your business to be successful, you need to understand business management and have pricing and marketing strategies in place. Lastly, do not be too hard on yourself – take the positive critique and keep trying.

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What is your favorite and least favorite part of owning your own photography business?

My favorite part is definitely working with the babies – I just love babies. I also love being able to see the image that I have in my mind come to life. On the flip side, I do not really like paperwork – particularly having to do the accounting!

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Who is the most inspirational photographer in your life?

I find inspiration from a lot of photographers, but lately I really love the work of Jessica Drossin – she has such amazing vision and her retouching skills are amazing.

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Please include a funny outtake or blooper image from a session…

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And finally, please briefly describe your photography style for our readers.

I would describe my style as clean, warm, and natural.

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A Few Fun Questions:
Favorite TV show? Scandal
Favorite movie? Casablanca
Favorite musician/band? I love Nora Jones
What is your favorite food? Dessert (particularly anything chocolate!)
What is your favorite beverage? Tea
Your favorite item of clothing? Jeans
Your go-to pair of shoes? Knee-high, dark brown leather boots
What is one word you catch yourself saying too often? Can I have two words …. “It’s ok”. I find myself repeating this phrase as a bit of a soothing mantra to my own kids and to my little newborn clients!