We thought it would be fun to interview the newest of the MCP Actions Team. Learn how Tracy became part of MCP and how she can take your newborn photography and editing to the next level. Tracy is an experience, talented photographer specializing in newborn portraiture. Read along as Tracy provides you with helpful bits of information, shares her equipment choices, and tells you more about herself in the Q & A.
Jodi: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
Tracy: My name is Tracy Callahan and I am the photographer behind Memories by TLC. I live in Cary, NC with my amazing husband of ten years and our two adorable boys, Matthew and Carter. I primarily photograph newborns, but I also photograph young children and recently began doing maternity sessions. I LOVE children and I admire their purity and respect their innocence. I think of my style as fun, creative, simple and clean!
Jodi: What do you have in your camera bag?
Jodi: What is your favorite lens?
Tracy: My go to lens is my 50mm. My second most used lens is my macro. I love it not only for close ups but also for outdoor portraits. It gives me amazing bokeh!
Jodi: Do you shoot with natural light or studio lighting?
Tracy: I use natural light when I am outdoors but use studio lighting indoors. Most of the time I use one light (AB800) with an extra large softbox along with a white reflector. I feather my light to mimic natural light. I always shoot wide open during newborn sessions even with my lights. I generally have my lights on very low power and tend to shoot at f/2.0 for bean bag images and f/2.8 for prop shots.
Jodi: On average how many images do you take each session?
Tracy: For newborn sessions I usually take between 125-175 images. I usually edit and show my clients 20-30 images per session.
Jodi: What is one piece of advice you would like to offer to photographers who are just starting out?
Tracy: Avoid getting caught up in the gossip and bullying that seems to be so prevalent in the photography world today. Remember, we all start somewhere and we were all “new” at some point. Photography is a journey and we all travel through our own journey at a different pace. Don’t ever let anyone make you feel bad about being new and try to avoid comparing yourself to others. Instead, seek inspiration from those you truly admire and work hard to grow and improve your own skills. We all have room for improvement and we can all use a little dose of humility now and again. Remember that we all have to start somewhere and Rome wasn’t built in a day. Don’t rush the process and don’t jump into business until you are ready and have all of your ducks in a row.
Jodi: How long do most of your sessions last?
Tracy: My newborn sessions generally last 3-4 hours. Believe it or not the sleepier the baby the longer the session can take since there are so many more setups that we can do. My six month and one year sessions generally take 45min-1 hour. Most children lose interest after 45 minutes or so. It is best to move fast and keep it fun and when children have had enough it is best to call it quits.
Jodi: How much time do you spend on editing?
Tracy: I am a firm believer in getting your images exposed and composed correctly in camera. I believe that photoshop should be used to enhance images but not to fix them. That being said life happens and sometimes our lights don’t fire or we make a mistake and we are so lucky to have photoshop to help us out in those situations! I usually spend no more then 2-3 minutes per image when I am editing. I use MCP’s Newborn Necessities Photoshop Actions for all of my sessions and they have literally cut my editing time in half.
Jodi: What is your most memorable session?
Tracy: I have had many but one that really sticks out in my mind is a recent newborn session that I had. I had done the parents maternity images and a few short weeks after that session the Dad was deployed. The Mom came to the session with her Mom and Mother-In-Law. The baby was an absolute angel and during one set up when we placed an image of her Dad on her chest with an extra set of dog tags that he had made for her, she began to smile. I had trouble holding my camera and focusing and when I turned around to see everyone there wasn’t a dry eye in the room including me. It was a magical moment.
Jodi: What is your favorite part of your job?
Tracy: Honestly, I love meeting so many amazing families and their adorable children. I love absolutely everything about babies and I love that I get to snuggle these sweet precious, innocent little ones. I love capturing their images but I also love getting to hold them and sooth them. It is also so much fun when they come back again and they are sitting up and then again at one year when we celebrate their birthday.
Jodi: What is your least favorite part of your job?
Tracy: Invoicing and taxes, need I say more…
Jodi: Tell readers how we came up with the idea to have an online Newborn Workshop.
Tracy: I was a fan of MCP Actions and was selected to be a tester for their Newborn Necessities action set. As a tester I helped fine-tune the results of the actions to be the perfect newborn editing solution. In the process, Jodi and I had conversations which led to me doing some guest posts on the MCP Blog. Eventually we started talking about how we could offer a one-of-a-kind, interactive online workshop for newborn photographers. Our Newborn Photography Group Mentoring: The Start to Finish Workshop came together as a result. We put together a comprehensive class that leaves no stone unturned. There are so many vital details that go into each newborn session and we created a class that would put everything together. It’s the perfect solution for those unable to travel to attend an in person workshop, due to time restrictions, family obligations and cost factors. We’ve already received several glowing reviews from the class.
Jodi: Share the class times and dates for the upcoming Newborn Photography Start to Finish Workshop:
Tracy: We have two more classes scheduled for this summer. One is August 7 at 8pm EST and one on August 22 at 10am EST. The class lasts 4+ hours and while the live class is not recorded, attendees can access many posing and studio videos after the workshop. Additionally there is an ongoing private Facebook group where I will share tips, answer questions and work with participants going forward.
If you are interested in photographing newborns and babies, this class is a must.