Located in Oshawa, Ontario CA

Name: Tara Graham

Representing: Tara Graham Photography

# of Years Experience: 13

Learning proper techniques and pricing for profit are two areas that many of us struggle with in the beginning, and you can really fast-track your success by getting advice from someone that’s been there before.

What is the most meaningful part to you in being an APNPI Ambassador?

I love being an APNPI Ambassador and sharing about how belonging to a professional organization can help you in all areas of your business. The more we elevate ourselves as artists and business people, the more the industry elevates as a whole. I wish I’d had access to this organization when I was just starting out, as it can be so helpful to find a community of photographers all raising the bar together and supporting each other.

Tell us about yourself. What do you love doing in your spare time? What inspired you to newborn photography and do you photograph other genre’s in your business?

I am mom to one wildly creative and stong-headed little boy. I started photography long before he came along though, having gone to college for Creative Photography, and then working in various studios doing portrait, commercial/editorial, and wedding work. One day I decided to tell my husband we were moving so I could have a home studio, and that really allowed me to grow my newborn business, having a dedicated space for it. I also love to photograph families! I love the interactions and being able to get those photos that parents say really captures their child’s essence or personality.

What is one piece of advice you’d give to someone starting a newborn photography business?

Watch your expenses! Don’t spend every dime you make on props and fabric, and outfits. It’s so easy to fall into this idea that you need one of everything in every colour, but if you figure out what you actually love to photograph, and plan out your larger investments for versatility and longevity instead of jumping on every trend, you’ll keep more money in your pocket and turn a profit much faster. Also, get a mentor! Learning proper techniques and pricing for profit are two areas that many of us struggle with in the beginning, and you can really fast-track your success by getting advice from someone that’s been there before.

What camera do you use? What are your favourite lenses and what’s typically in your camera bag?

I use the Canon R6 mirrorless camera. Having the exposure simulation for natural light sessions is so helpful, along with all the focusing options like facial recognition and eye tracking! My favourite lenses for outdoor sessions are the Canon 35mm 1.4 for getting in close, and the Canon 85mm 1.4 for getting that creamy bokeh shooting wide open. In studio I use the 35mm, and also a 50mm 2.5 macro lens.

What is your favorite place to hold sessions and why? Where do you photograph most of your sessions? (in studio? on location?)

I love photographing outdoors! In the last few years I started even doing newborn sessions outside in the warmer months (we don’t have too many of them here in Canada!). I love incorporating the textures and colours of nature in my work (and try to bring those elements in the studio during the colder months), and everyone just feels more relaxed outside surrounded by nature!

Tell us about starting your business, and what played a key role in developing a profitable income.

I started my business while working for other photography studios, which was helpful. But I also coasted in my business for a long time. Personal development courses and working with coaches has helped me to see where I was standing in my own way, and helped me to dream bigger and see the possibilities that were available to me. For example, just a couple of years ago I never would have imagined I’d be speaking at a large conference like Shutterfest! I also feel like the intentional curation of my portfolio has been a huge factor in having clients hire me for my style instead of just asking about price.

Growing pains: tell us about some of your challenges you have faced in your business, and how you overcame them.

One of the biggest challenges I faced was when I decided to start my own family. We struggled with infertility and early losses, including a very expensive and time-consuming round of IVF, and later on, an ectopic pregnancy as well. It was tough to photograph other families’ little bundles of joy, while experiencing heartbreak behind the scenes. I used the opportunity to raise my prices because it became crucial that any time spent working was worthwhile, and I also used my clients’ stories to give me hope. Now that I’m on the other side of it (with my son born somewhere in the middle of all the struggles), I talk openly about what I’ve been through, in person as well as on my website. I’ve had many clients say they reached out to me because they resonated with my story and they felt comfortable sharing their journey with me too.

Find out more about this photographer at: https://www.taragrahamphoto.com/