Today’s interview is with Bethney Backhaus!
Hi, Bethney! Congratulations on being the CMpro of the Month and thank you for being here with us today! To get started, I’d love to hear a little more about you.
Hi everyone! I’m Bethney and I live just outside Orlando, FL with my handsome hubby and two sweet girls. I was a second grade teacher for four years before deciding to make photography my full time career in 2012. At the beginning of 2015 I made the choice to specialize in newborns, maternity and babies up to one and I have had an AMAZING year cuddling all my sweet babies. When I’m not shooting for my business I love torturing my girls with my camera, watching FRIENDS, online shopping, and planning pretend vacations (that we will go on once our kids are grown haha). I love getting lost in a good book and I have a slight obsession with taking my girls to Disney World.
The majority of your work on social media is of newborns. What is it about newborns that makes you love photographing them so much?
Yes, I love me some babies!! When I first started my photography journey I found newborns to be the most challenging subject to photograph. My stubborn streak caused me to work and focus in this area until I was happy with the results I was producing. Through all of that shooting I fell in love with newborns and I can say without a doubt they are my favorite sessions. I mean, who doesn’t want to cuddle babies for a living? I love the pureness a newborn exudes and it makes me really happy to be able to capture that for new parents.
Most of your newborn work is of sleeping babies. Do you have a special trick up your sleeve to get sleepy newborn pictures or do you just go with the flow if they refuse to sleep?
I definitely prefer sleeping shots at the newborn age since eye contact can be hard to get, and without control of their limbs, arms and legs can be flailing about. I only shoot newborns in my home studio and most of my clients have about a 45 minute drive to get to me. At first I thought this was a negative, but that long car ride does amazing things to put the babies into a deep sleep. The car ride, lots of milk, a space heater, and some loud white noise almost always does the trick to knock them out for a while. I’ve never had a baby not sleep for me (I always win in the end), but I have been known to send the parents and baby for a car ride around the block if the baby is being unusually unsettled.
Speaking of newborns, I’m sure you get a lot of requests for particular poses. Can you share with us what your most requested newborn pose is and how you achieve it?
I’ve been really lucky to have clients who come to me because they love my artistic vision and style and most of the time they tell me “I just want natural looking poses like what’s on your website”. These types of images are where my heart is so it makes me so happy when my clients love them as well. To achieve this look I place the baby in some beautiful light, curl them up with a wrap, and then shoot away from above.
You’ve said that you love shooting outdoors but also love the simplicity of your studio sessions. How do you determine if you shoot outdoors or in the studio?
I let my clients decide! I’ve found most clients like to have their 3,6, and 9 month sessions in the studio and then the 1 year session outdoors. I love doing the milestone sessions indoors because these sessions are very simple like my newborn sessions so I can seen the images flowing seamlessly in a wall gallery or album.
You’re a minimalist. This is a statement you’ve declared and will even be the topic of your upcoming Breakout. Why is it you’re drawn to a minimalistic approach with your photography?
I have always felt strongly that I wanted the baby to be the focus in my images. These sweet blessings do not need anything to enhance their beauty, and by eliminating all distractions and enhancing the negative space, I feel that I can evoke a stronger emotional response in the viewer. By keeping the image simple and letting the baby remain the focus, the image will remain timeless and resemble a work of art when hung on the wall.
You welcomed a beautiful baby girl into your family last year. What are some ways you balance your photography business with your family life?
It’s not always easy to balance work and family life, and I am convinced that working from home is one of the hardest things to do, but for me being present with my children is my priority. From a practical standpoint I will give the baby some toys and set my timer for 20 minutes. I speed edit, respond to emails, or schedule social media posts during that 20 minutes and then focus on her the rest of the hour. I do this a few times a day and then work the rest of the time during naps and after bedtime. You would be surprised the amount of work you can get done during uninterrupted 20 minute spurts! I don’t work on weekends so we always spend that time together as a family.
The Canon 135L lens is a favorite of yours but it’s very much an outdoor lens. Do you have a favorite indoor lens and why?
Oh yes my 135L is my hands down favorite for outdoor images, but indoors I rely primarily on my 50mm and 35mm. I use my 50mm when shooting the baby straight on and the 35mm when shooting from above. I also frequently use my 100mm macro during newborn sessions. I lovvvveee detail shots!
Your images have always have beautiful and subtle colors to them, somewhat reminiscent to film. Do you have a favorite tool or technique when shooting or processing to help you achieve those lovely tones?
I have always loved the way film renders color, especially greens, so I like to replicate this in my outdoor images. The HSL panel in Lightroom is a great tool that I use to give the grass/foliage in my images that pretty green/blue hue that is reminiscent of film. I also add some grain to get that softness and film-like quality in my images. I’ve recently purchased my first film camera and I’ve been dabbling a bit into the world of film so it’s been a fun experience to try to get my digital images to match my film scans!
Before you go, what would be one piece of advice you would offer up to others finding their way in the world of photography?
Never compare your work to others, and if you find something challenging for you, work hard until you master it!
Thank you, Bethney, for the fantastic interview! Make sure you head over to Bethney’s website, facebook, twitter, pinterest, instagram, and google+ to view more of her gorgeous work and keep up with her happenings.