At FOTO, we are committed to helping our fellow creatives flourish. In our new Q&A style blog series, Coffee with Creatives, we are highlighting the unique expertise of some of our favorite professionals, sharing tips and information on relevant topics to bring you some practical insight and inspiration for the important work you do.
Today, we are uncovering how to be true to your craft and cultivate your own success with professional photographer of motherhood and Fount Collective Founder, Tiffany Farley.
First things first, how do you take your coffee?
Tiffany: I am a self admitted coffee SNOB. I like really, really GOOD coffee. Freshly roasted, strong, and smooth. I most often drink it black, but I recently started adding a "bulletproof" style coffee to my morning routine for an extra kickstart to my day!
Tell us a bit about how you started your business.
Tiffany: Photography was always a love of mine. I was lucky enough to have a darkroom photography class offered at my high school as an art elective, and looking back it was the only class I enjoyed. I never thought I would pursue it as a profession. Back when I was in high school, the only professional photographers I knew existed were the ones with stuffy studios with backdrops. I myself was most drawn to the candid and unposed. Social media didn't exist really as the internet was still fairly new, and so I didn't know the kind of possibilities that could be out there.
After graduating from college, and as businesses began to use Facebook, I started to see photographers sharing their work. I had never seen family pictures in the way that I was seeing them. It wasn't long before the idea of owning my own photography business was all I could think about. I read every blog post from my favorite photographers religiously, I scoured the internet for anything to self teach my craft- I was so hungry for knowledge! After purchasing my first "real" dslr, I began asking friends to model for me to start a portfolio. I fell in love, and never looked back!
Your work beautifully captures motherhood. What is the most special part of working with new and expecting moms?
Tiffany: Thank you! It is an absolute privilege to photograph motherhood. The wedding industry has long been hailed as the "serious" industry- while family photography always seemed to be viewed as more casual. But I always saw motherhood as an even more meaningful milestone than walking down the aisle. After years of photographing anything and everything, I began to recognize my love for photographing connection. I love hearing the stories of motherhood- each one so unique. From the wait, to the birth story, to how that first week has forever changed her life. Photographing motherhood is so natural. You never have to tell a Mom how to adoringly love on her babies. I just get to document it.
Why do you choose to shoot with film in our digital age? And why has black and white become a signature of yours?
Tiffany: Black and white photography has always been what I was most drawn to- for as long as I can remember. Over the years I have made decisions in my business that has created a defined niche. When I stopped looking at what everyone else was doing every minute of the day- I was able to step back and ask myself what it was that I really wanted to create. I only show black and white photography in my portfolio because I believe it attracts the client who values photography in a similar way that I do. I always want to better myself in my craft, and so re-learning how to photograph on film was a very natural part of that process. It slows me down and reminds me to enjoy the art of what I do.
Most memorable moment from a photo shoot with a newborn?
Tiffany: One of the most popular newborn portraits I have ever taken was during one of my first newborn sessions. We did the majority of her session in her home, like most of my newborn sessions, but my client really wanted to take some at the beach which was very close to her house. It was a warm summer evening, but it was very windy at the beach and the baby was not happy about it! As a brand new Mom, she was really giving her all in trying to console his tears. It created one of the most beautiful portraits I have ever taken- with far more meaning than I could ever fit in a paragraph. He was her miracle babe, and it was the moment I knew motherhood was the connection itself that I had been longing to photograph and didn't quite know how to define.
Any advice for aspiring photographers?
Tiffany: Make your own rules. In a social media driven world- that is easier said than done! The benefit of starting your own business is being your own boss and making your own rules. But so often, you take that jump and leave the 9-5 and then scramble to ask everyone what the rules are. If you want to run your business by only working Tuesdays- then do it! If you want to only photograph at the beach and nowhere else- then do it! Unfollow anyone on social media that makes you feel less than, or like you will never be as good as they are, or produce as much content as they do. Garbage in, garbage out! Discover what inspires YOU beyond someone else's Pinterest board and cultivate that! Define your own success and don't let anyone tell you it isn't good enough.
And for fun, what Fotostrap(s) do you wear?
Tiffany: The James!
Looking for more inspiration from industry creatives? Check out these other Q&A's:
Coffee with Creatives: Misty Rodda's Tips on Keeping a Fresh Perspective
Coffee with Creatives: Katie Lamb's Tips on Finding that "Mompreneur" Work/Life Balance
Coffee with Creatives: Caroline Jurgensen's Tips on Running a Business with her Spouse