First, I adore your work! So much beauty! As any other photographer, I love to talk gear and am curious what your favorite lens is?
First of all, Thank you so much!! It really warms up my heart when someone can identify with my work. As far as lenses, I own the 35L and the 50 1.4, they are both equally great! I love to use my 35 indoors and the 50 outdoors. I love the compression of the 50 better though!
In the industry, there is so much inspiration and support, if you could choose one of your biggest supporters and one of your biggest inspirations, who would they be?
Wow, that is really a very very tough one! I have had SO many amazing photographer friends help me in my journey, they have become almost like a second family, from the very beginning the amazing women running, Tiffany Mae Photography, Inspired by Three Photography, Lilies and Lions, Justine Di Fefe Photography, among so many others from our group really helped me from the ground up. One of my biggest supporters is Kelly from Kelly Akers Photography. I know it’s very hard to keep up with all the amazing photographers, especially when they are all friends, so it means a lot to me to see it when my friends support my work. Her work is incredibly inspiring, especially her freelens work, it is truly to die for. I have been trying to pull in inspiration from outside sources, such as music, movies, nature, architecture, drawings, books, poems, my babies. It is extremely difficult to stay true to yourself, and not get burned out comparing your work to others, we are all so unique and bring a certain work essence to the table, so this year my goal has been to draw in from everything around me. I feel much happier as an artist that way.
If you could travel anywhere to go on an all out photography adventure, where would you go and why?
Oh, I am always talking about this, and it would most definitely be New Zealand. Wow, that place is incredibly beautiful, like a heaven on earth. I also would love to shoot in the dessert, and back in my country in the Dominican Republic. I am such an island girl, and there is so much culture I want my babies to know and remember. We have never been since they were born; I need to change that!
You have the cutest little subjects in many of your photos and a new one on the way, congrats!! Did your kiddos inspire you to begin photography? To push yourself? In what ways?
Thank you! We are so excited to add another little turkey to our family! And thank you :) I am completely biased, but I absolutely think they are just so cute :) and they most definitely inspired me to begin. My drive comes almost 100% from wanting to capture their childhood, their innocence, their lives. I had to choose between client work and doing photography just for me, and of course I chose doing it for me, because of them. It’s where my true passion lies. This might sound a bit morbid but one of the reasons I do what I do is because sometimes I think, IF I or my husband, or one of them were to lose their memory, how would I want them to see, would they see all the love? The struggles? Their lives? Would I be able to see a glimpse of what life was and really understand it? But the biggest and main thing that pushes me is love. They are so small now but that will change, so much will be out of our hands, such as how they feel about themselves, about each other. I hope that if one day whether they are struggling with self doubt or not, they can look back and see how much they are loved, how beautiful beings they are, that they were made by God and by that, truly perfect just they way they are. THAT is what pushes me to never stop. I know more than likely we won’t lose all our memories, but even so, capturing their childhood as it comes – the good, some of the bad, all the in-betweens – is what I strive for and why I do what I do.
Clearly you have mastered your technique and style, but what got you to where you are in regards to technical aspects? Are you self taught?
Well, I never went to school for photography BUT I have had an amazing group of women who have helped me “see”. You know when you first begin, you are blind to bad technique, or have “mommy goggles”, which by the way I still have most the time! I am not a very “technical” photographer. I find myself taking a photo that is technically correct and when my heart tells me to stop editing and I start feeling something, I have already made it technically incorrect. I am okay with that and it took me a while to put myself out there.
And on the subject of how you learned..what was your journey like? What inspired you to dig deep and take your passion of photography to another level?
My beginning journey was painfully frustrating. I think I wanted to quit about 5 or 6 times….a month! There were many tears, many many tears. I remember once I “got” it, you know, learned to expose properly, knew how to use my lighting, stopped crying while editing, I decided to open up for business. It went okay, then it made me completely and utterly miserable. It made me hate this passion of mine and left me feeling empty. I think that was the deciding moment for me as an artist. I loved my clients, but doing it as a business just made me feel very limited in what I could do, my style, and my time with my kiddies. When I made the decision to stop is when I felt like my photography was “me” and I finally felt free. I still push and have daily struggles, doubts, and fears just like every other photographer, but I am happy with the core of what I am doing and the daily struggles only help push me harder.
Since we aren’t too far into the year, although it’s going by quickly, what are some of your biggest photography goals this year? Or your little ones?
Little ones is to organize my photographs. I am sure most photographers can relate to the thousands of photos to go through, organize, PRINT. Oh boy, I need to print photos dating back to 2009. My biggest goal this year (although baby number four definitely had bigger plans for me) is/was to start prepping and submitting my work to art galleries. That is a HUGE step, that I am utterly afraid to take, but I will regret it if I don’t.
Your black and whites are so beautifully emotive. What draws you to black and white?
Simply because when you take all the color out, you are left with a soul, and a story. And nothing could be more beautiful in my eyes. I always say that a black and white photo is like a love letter that never made it onto paper.
Looking through your portfolio, it’s so easy to get lost in the beauty and depth of the images. How do you capture your little ones in a way that they always seem like they’re in their element, enjoying life and happy and carefree…aka, they never look like they’re suffering from Photographer’s child syndrome? ;)
Thank you! And we do have our fair share of PCS ;) But I guess I have become very stealthy. Also, I am not a very good caretaker of my camera (much to my husbands demise). It’s usually near me, settings done and when I see a sweet moment I want to capture I grab, shoot and put it away. I rarely tell them to look at me – I think they are used to it by now. I also don’t take photos if they really say no photos or are upset that I am taking them. I *try* to respect that. But usually they don’t mind. There are times when I want more of a classic portrait/planned shoot of them, I tell them lets take some photos, and then ask them questions. Even then I rarely have to tell them to look or to smile. With my two oldest, if I really have a project in mind, I tell them they can earn money and they are all for it. Both Gabe and Emma (oldest two) wanted a pink stuffed dragon so I told them they could earn some money to buy them. Of course they each only earned 2 dollars from photos, and I already ordered their dragons. I think I might have to lower their pay a bit :D
Another thing that pops out to the viewer after looking through your site, is that you love little details! The hands of your child playing, or their tiny curls in just the right light, little feet in the grass…such small details, but so meaningful to remember. What draws you to those little details?
Those are my absolute favorite things to capture! They grow up so fast. Too fast. I love their little bodies, and dimples on the fingers. My 6 year old still has them and it makes me so happy! It’s just another way to freeze all those little things that I know fade from your memory with time. It goes back to love. When I take a photo of them, any photo, I take it FOR them. When I pick up my camera and I am looking through that little hole, my emotions are pouring in, hoping they will see and feel what I feel at the moment. I tell them how much I love them, I show them how much I love them, capturing those little details is part of telling them many of the reasons why I love them, why they are unique, and what makes them who they are and why I am so happily blessed and also tired, and filled with joys and frustration and in love with our happy chaotic little life.