We are so excited to announce our partnership with NAPCP to celebrate and reward successful photographers in the Child Photography Industry. Fotostrap will be sponsoring the prestigious 2014 Photographer of the Year, and we can't wait to see who the winner will be! As the International Image Competition just launched, we had a chance to visit with Alice Park, Co-Founder of the National Association of Professional Child Photographers to find out more about this fantastic organization.
1. How did you get started in photography?
My interest in photography peaked when I was young, following my family around with my dad's Nikons and shooting whatever I thought was worth capturing. Like a good daughter, I went off to college to study engineering per my parent's suggestion, but I later found myself in my first year as an Industrial Engineer, staring outside the windows and yearning for something more with my life. I soon met my husband, a brilliant visionary & entrepreneur and together, we started a photography business focused on creating gorgeous coffee table books for children and families. I was 23, incredibly optimistic, and had nothing to lose. It was the perfect adventure.
2. How did you start NAPCP?
About 3 years into our business, we realized there was a hole in our industry. A lacking sense of community, very few resources dedicated to child photographers, and an incredible need for inspiration for us as creatives. Child Photography was a genre that was growing quickly… We also felt parents needed a place to find a credible child photographer in their area while learning more about what we do and why it is so different from other styles of photography. About 6 months later, NAPCP was born.
3. What is your "elevator pitch" for NAPCP?
Our Mission Statement describes it best: We promote and support the artistry and integrity of professional child photographers around the world. To accomplish this mission, NAPCP strives to provide the most comprehensive resources for its members, bring together a community of passionate artists committed to growth in their skills, their artistry, and their businesses.
4. What has been the most challenging obstacle you have had to overcome since starting NAPCP?
I think keeping up with the growth and changes of our industry here and around the world. Child photography has evolved and changed so much in the last 5 years, recently blossoming quite a bit in South America, Europe and in Asia. One of our challenges is staying innovative with those changes and consistently providing our members what they need to succeed in their businesses.
5. What has been the most rewarding experience since starting NAPCP?
By far, connecting with our members. The NAPCP community has become my circle and family over the years. Not just as photographers and peers, but as fellow mothers, business women, and creative artists. I'm so proud of the supportive and passionate group we are, and I know that this amazing positive energy will be essential as we continue to grow over the next few years.
6. What is your favorite thing about NAPCP?
Our Retreats! Unlike the bigger conferences and conventions, we intentionally structure our Retreats to be intimate and full of good juju so that each of our attendees leaves with an incredible sense of who they are as artists and why they do this (as well as 50 new friends!) It's such an impactful experience both for myself and everyone who attends - so, so good for the soul. You guys really need to come out to the next one we have planned this January in Whistler! We promise lots of campfire chats & amazing discussions.
7. What has been the most beneficial tool in spreading the word about NAPCP?
I believe it's our members and are our parent audience! We keep the content we release on our blog and social media channels fresh and inspiring, so that keeps our audience engaged. We've also focused quite a bit on our SEO over the last few years so that NAPCP is hitting the top pages when Parents are searching for a child photographer in their area. And our loyal members have been so active with us that spreading the word about this organization happens so organically and naturally. It's been beautiful watching it all happen...
8. What have you learned about newborn and child photography and the direction it is heading in the industry? (Thinking of how this used to be a more studio art deal than now it is today).
Newborn and child photography has changed so much over the years. And it has grown tremendously! With the advent of social media, Pinterest, and accessibility of high quality digital cameras, our clients' expectations in us have grown as well. Photographers have to continue to create innovative products, powerful imagery, and exceptional service to stay ahead (and even survive) in this industry. We also have to focus a great deal on maintaining strong relationships with our clients so that they stay loyal to us instead of finding someone new who is less experienced, less expensive or more hungry for their business. But although it's become a lot more challenging to stay ahead in this industry, it's what pushes us to continue learning, growing, and taking our businesses to the next level.
9. What are the benefits you see from how child photography is evolving?
I have loved seeing new artists surfacing in the industry that are not fearful of introducing something new that is ground-breaking and inspiring. Photographers who look past the trends and continue to produce work that continue to take our industry to the next level. I have also loved witnessing our industry grow because of our leaders' and members' willingness to share and be translucent in their success. This industry and organization makes me so proud to call myself a child photographer because what we have collectively done over the years as a group. It's been so amazing to be a part of this movement.
10. What is your favorite thing about the Fotostrap?
Well! First - I LOVE the people and philosophy behind the company! You guys have always inspired us all to stay innovative, fresh, with a beautiful mindset of continuously giving back. That's an incredibly powerful thing. I love my new gorgeous blush fotostrap because it blends perfectly in my shooting workflow, is functional and high quality, and of course - because it's pink! Did I mention my favorite color is pink? My friends gifted me my recent Fotostrap as a baby shower gift, and I couldn't be more in love with it. It's all set to help me record all of the new adventures ahead for my family, and I can't wait!