Located in Ashburn, Virginia US

Name: Rebecca Danzenbaker

Representing: Rebecca Danzenbaker Photography

# of Years Experience: 15

For photos taken from above, I stand behind the girls heads and flip the images around in post. This allows me to shoot down the nose for a better angle.

The best thing I ever did for my business was learn about SEO and take the time to implement best practices on my website.

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 started my photography business in 2008 and have been a full-time photographer since 2013. When I had to briefly shutter my photography business in 2020, I took advantage of the ample spare time to finally write the young adult novel I’d been making notes on for 10 years. Now I’m balancing my photography business with writing and loving both!

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

Focus on simple, neutral props that can be used for any gender and in a multiple of ways. Though I have dozens of bowls, boxes, and buckets, I use the same 8 or so in almost every session.

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

I finally switched to a mirrorless (Canon R6 mkii) this year, and wish I’d made the switch sooner! The focus is tack sharp in 99% of the photos I take now. For newborn sessions, I cycle between a 35mm, 100mm macro, and (to a lesser degree) a 50mm.

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

The best thing I ever did for my business was learn about SEO and take the time to implement best practices on my website. More than half of my website traffic comes from Google, and I rank #1 across many keywords for my local area (newborn photographer, family photographer, etc.). This helps me keep a full-schedule without doing a ton of social media marketing, so I have more free time to edit photos and work on the next novel!

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

I’m a low-volume photographer (2-3 sessions/week), so if one client decided not to buy a package, it was hard to pay the bills. After a client decided (despite loving her photos) not to purchase a single thing after her maternity session to “save money for her newborn session” with me, I made the decision to switch to all-in pricing. I do the same amount of work for each client, so I deserve to get paid the same amount from each client. This has SIGNIFICANTLY helped my family better budget and pay the bills! If we have added expenses one month, I add a session to help out. I’ve had many photographers point out that I’m leaving money on the table by not doing in-person sales, but I’m much happier having that extra time back and knowing how much I’m going to make from each session. Moral of the story: This is YOUR business. Do what works best for YOU! Just remember to price your work to fairly compensate yourself for the time spent away from being with the ones you love and all of the training you’ve put into honing your craft.

I love macro shots, but only ever do hands, feet, and lips. Have tried ears and belly buttons over the years, but those just don't appeal to me, so I stopped. If the baby has a bunch of hairs on their shoulders or ears, I try to capture those for the parents, though!

I always try to get at least one pose with back lighting for a different effect. Be sure to position the light so it's still coming from above though (not up the nose).

My studio occupies about half of our spacious basement, including a small room for the newborn and sibling photos, an all-white bedroom, and a corner for backdrop sweeps, where this was taken.

I use a mixture of strobe and constant lighting for my images, but prefer constant light when newborns and small children are involved so I don't have to wait for the light to recycle. Their expressions can change in a blink and I don't want to miss out on a smile or that split-second where the older sibling actually looked at the camera.

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