I hope you enjoy my interview with Lindsey Motley of Lindsey Motley Photography. Lindsey is super sweet, incredibly talented, and a delight to be with: I feel honored that she shares space with us at Vino & van Gogh-- she shoots her sweet little babies in the morning before I arrive at the studio.
Where were you born?
I was born and raised here in Greenville, SC. The best town around, don’t you think?
What is your professional background?
I have an undergraduate degree from College of Charleston in Early Childhood Education. I’m certified to teach up to the 3rd grade. I have spent my whole around in the world of photography, as it runs in the family. My grandfather, Ernest Rawlins, was a portrait photographer here in Greenville for over 50 years. In fact, his studio is still up and running, although it is no longer in the family. My uncle, Pat Rawlins, is also a very well known photographer in Greenville. My mother owned Mohawk Color Lab and developed film for photographers in the area when I was growing up. Although I have no “degree” in photography, I’ve attended workshops and seminars for professional photography training. An interesting tidbit is that I have been trained in the art and safety of newborn posing!
How did you start LMP? What prompted it?
After finishing college in 2009, I went on the hunt for a teaching position. Luckily (I say that now), I didn’t find one and opened up the door for me to combine both of my passions - children and photography! During my job hunt, I was a nanny for two newborns and I took photos of them often. Also during this time, I saw newborn photographers, Kelly Ryden and Tracy Raver, on the Today show. Those converging moments are what really got my wheels turning. In 2010 I started Lindsey Motley Photography!
How long have you been in business?
I have been in business for two years. Wowzers! I can’t believe it.
Have newborns always been your focus?
While I’ve always photographed more that just newborns, I’ve always been most passionate about newborn portraits. I absolutely adore this time that I spend with families, as they come to me when their baby is just 5-10 days new. It’s a truly unique time. I’m smiling just thinking about it!
How do your clients hear about you?
Most of my clients hear about me “through the grapevine.” Word of mouth has been my best friend, I would say. Although, Google is a close second. :)
Is there any style (pose, lighting, accessories) that seems to be a best seller?
I use natural light only, which creates what I like to call model light - those natural easy shadows that fall across the face creating a very soft and warm feel. While studio lighting equipment can surely be used to create the same thing, I just prefer the natural light. My clients tend to favor the sweet simple posed images of newborns on natural backgrounds like the two below. I love these, too, as it really puts the baby at the focus of the image at hand.
What, in terms of marketing, has been a success for LMP?
I’ve found that the best way to market myself is through social media and word of mouth. Think about it: when you go to hire someone for a type of service, be it house cleaning, a doctor, etc, what’s the first thing you do? You ask friends for recommendations, or you refer back to something that you read or heard about! Facebook has been my key tool in marketing. This world is all about knowing what others are up to, and seeing precious one-of-a-kind portraits of your friends children really gets folks smiling and interested.
What, in terms of marketing, has not worked for LMP
Most paid advertisements have been a total bust for LMP. Every now and again I still will submit something here or there. However, I always end up with the same outcome - little to no business directly from the ad. Again, word-of-mouth rules! The key is to get people talking!
What has been the best thing that you have implemented to grow your audience at for LMP?
I'm so very terrible at updating it and keeping it current, but blogging is definitely an audience grower. Everybody loves to read blogs these days!
You are very creative and crafty: does your photography work feed your creativity?
Absolutely! Although you won’t find me knitting the sweet little hats that I use for my newborn sessions, it’s not rare to find me crafting up some other type of prop to use. For example, the little hair pretty in the photo below I made from twine. I also crafted the hat in the other photo from the sleeve of an old sweater. Isn’t it darling? I’m constantly revamping and freshening my selection of props, hats, and colors used during my sessions. I love trying new things and photography certainly lets me do that!
How do you turn on your ‘creative fire’? How are you inspired?
These kinds of questions are always hard for me to answer, as I sometimes don’t even realize when that “creative fire” has been ignited! I love looking through Pinterest, of course, and seeing what other photographers are up to. However mostly I’m inspired by the child I’m photographing. Each newborn always brings some sort of uniqueness to the studio. It may be that they have long delicate fingers or super curly hair... no matter what, I’m posing and shooting to capture that uniqueness. This is the same for older babies and children as well. I get inspired by the mood and personality of the child. You won’t hear me say “sit here” or “put your hands there” during my sessions. We play - bringing out those raw and natural expressions! The creativity happens during the session... as you surly can’t predict how a session will go. The kid is running the show! :)
What music do you enjoy listening to while working?
While at the studio, I always have Pandora playing. My favorite stations during my sessions: Adele, Norah Jones or Will Hoge. Now, if you come into the studio before a session while I’m setting up... you may hear something a little more upbeat like: The Avett Brothers, Jason Mraz, or Taylor Swift (and no I’m not embarrassed to admit that!)
Who is your favorite artist? photographer?
There are many photographers that I love: Kelly Ryden, Baby as Art, and Heidi Hope are a few of my top favorites. What I love about every artist, not only photographers, is that they each have their own style. No artist is the same, and that’s what we should all be proud of.
What is your favorite color?
Any shade of blue/green. If I had to pick one - Robin’s Egg.
What would you tell someone trying to get into a career in the arts?
Believe in yourself, find your own style and run with it, and don’t give up on your dreams.
Who has been your best mentor and why?
I’ve had a team of supporters in the past two years to get me to the point of where I am today. I couldn’t do any of this without my loving husband, of course. The person who I have learned most from, talked a lot with, and bounced a ton of ideas off of would be YOU! Marquin, you’re the bomb. Seriously people, this girls got it goin’ on! Even though we don’t specialize in the same type of art, I’ve always felt like I can learn so much from you as a fellow small art business owner and friend.
What is the hardest part of your job?
The hardest part of my job balancing home and work. I work from home mostly, which to a lot of people sounds like the ideal scenario. Believe me, I love it, but it is incredibly difficult to “step out of the office.” Every day I have to make a conscious decision to end my work day and switch from photographer to wife.
What is the best part of your job?
Hands down, the best part of my job is getting to know all of the wonderful families. Seeing my little clients grow up is truly wonderful. I’m amazed each time at how fast they develop into tiny little people! They all hold a special place in my heart.
What do you shoot with?
I shoot with a Canon 5D Mark II. I almost always use my 50mm f/1.4 lens.
What do you edit on? (Computer & Software)
I edit on my 27’’ iMac, and I use both Adobe Lightroom 3 and Photoshop CS5.
What do you spend the bulk of your time working on? (Editing, shooting, etc...)
Most of my time is spent on editing. Client contact and follow-ups are a close second, though. I strive really hard to have fast and excellent customer service quality.
address . 317 Jones Avenue, Greenville, SC 29605