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NAPCP.com (formally pronounced “NAP-C-P”) is a place where professional child photographers can come and connect, learn, teach, aspire and grow. It is also a valuable resource for parents who are looking for a professional child photographer in their area, and want to be inspired and educated about our specialized industry.

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  • Feb 22, 2017

    Making (Competition) Magic

    This year (Or last year, since that’s when I bought the ticket!) I made the decision to attend the NAPCP Retreat, no matter what life kept throwing at me! However, talking with lots of my fellow attendees, I was really surprised to hear that not everyone was using their 2 free image credits to enter Image Competition. When I asked them why, I was met with a the same response, just said slightly differently. “I didn’t feel like my images were worthy.” “No way are my images good enough to enter.” “I didn’t have anything I thought was good enough.” The same thing. Over and over and over.

    We still have a full day until the deadline. (Editor’s note: The 2017 First Half International Image Competition closes Thursday, 2/23, at 11:59 PM EST.) I challenge you now to pick up your notebook and plan your Image Competition entry. Submit something completely out of your comfort zone or shoot something tomorrow that you’ve been wanting to, but never got around to!

    This image won first place in the July 2016 Competition. Let me tell you something: I’ve photographed maybe four seniors in my entire career! I wanted to try something different, found a willing teenager to come play with me, and we made magic happen! (Okay, what actually happened was we pulled up to the location and it proceeded to rain HARD and storm for the next 45 minutes! But we stuck it out and I’m so glad we did!)

    So get going! Get out there tomorrow and photograph something amazing and enter it! Go through your favorite sessions, find a stunning portrait, and enter it! It’s always hard to put our work out there, but if we don’t do that, don’t get constructive criticism from peers, how are we supposed to improve and grow? You got this!

    About the Contributor: Fun loving children's and family photographer in Alamogordo, NM.

  • Feb 21, 2017

    Touring the Loft of Brandy Inkelaar

    You guys. The sweetest studio space showed up in our inbox and we couldn’t be happier about it. Brandy Inkelaar, of NicCole Photography, calls Charlotte home and we loved perusing her vintage space. Brandy shares more about her loft below:

    NAPCP: Where did you get the idea for the space? Where did you find inspiration for the design and feel?

    Brandy Inkelaar (BI): I am an outdoors, country girl at heart and the space is very much a reflection of who I am. I love things found organically in nature (the stone wash bowl) and anything with a past (my vintage cabinet and vanity). My family and I vacationed many moons ago at a little farm house in Asheville, NC that had vintage dressers in every bath as vanities. I instantly was in love with the idea of re-purposing antiques. The dings and bruises of old pieces tell a story. In my mind I imagine stories about who owned the piece, where they lived, and what they stored in it. Sometimes there are items left behind in drawers that help stitch a story together. Nerdy, I know.

    The antique cabinet that I store my newborn blankets in belonged to my builder’s grandmother. Shortly after we began building the studio, Mr. Bill (the contractor) caught onto exactly what feel I wanted for the studio and brought me the little jewel of a cabinet. I added some chalk paint and put it at the entrance of the studio for more storage. I get inquiries to buy the piece often. I am currently working with a local vintage boutique consigning some of their similar items in that spot. As they sell, we replace with new items. It keeps things fresh. I love working with others to promote our businesses.

    The barn door is one of my favorite things in the studio. It does serve as a door for us, but also a backdrop. Mr. Bill designed a few concepts and I chose the one I liked best. We added a tiny lock at the top because children do like to slide it.

    NAPCP: Where do you see your photography business in 1-5 years?

    BI: This question was hard for me. In the next year I am hoping to hire on an assistant to handle some of the backside of my business. I mean emails and early correspondence with potential clients.

    Wow, in five years? Gosh that will be a big time for our family; we will be sending our baby to college and have plans to sell our home with my sweet little loft. My guess is I will be designing myself another little space to continue shooting maternity and babies. I also have been dabbling in still life portraits for editorial work. I think I would like to incorporate that into my work by then.

    NAPCP: Tell us about your average day.

    BI: An average day …… On shoot days I get over to the loft around 9:30 to prepare props for newborn/child shoots. I like shooting children in the morning. I feel like they are happier and in general better in the early part of the day. After our session I am back over to my office, in my home, to download images. I choose my top 25, create a quick sneak peek for the blog and then I’m out the door to grab my 14 year old from school. He is going to drive next year and I am not looking forward to it. The best part of my day is 3pm when he gets in the car and we chat about his day … THE BEST!

    Late afternoon I prepare dinner, answer any homework questions and then I am back out the door for an evening shoot. I end my day downloading the images from my evening shoot and maybe returning a few emails/calls. Needless to say, I don’t have trouble sleeping. I have two shoot days a week. I may add another this year.

    NAPCP: What are your favorite small business tools and resources?

    BI: The products that help me save time are the ones at the top of my list! Here are three of my favorites.

    Hands down, 17Hats has been a game changer! One of the things I enjoy least is constantly emailing clients! I know, I can’t believe I just admitted that, but it’s true. 17Hats has made me look professional to my clients and kept me on schedule and consistent with my workflow. Clients love it too, because they become familiar with what to expect from me as far as emails, contracts, prep sheets etc. Game Changer!

    Hootsuite is another time saver. I can schedule a month of social media posts to all my social media accounts in about 2 hours. LOVE LOVE LOVE!

    WordPress plugin: Duplicate Post. Y’all, this thing will duplicate your post on your blog to keep things clean and consistent. Just don’t forget to change your blog title, post wording and images on the copied post. It saves you from having to repeat tags, any links you have built in etc. I have a generic template for newborn, child, and family set up.

    NAPCP: What is the most challenging aspect of running a photography business, to you? What is the best part of running a photography business?

    The most challenging part of my business is by far the business end of things. I am a true artist and those pencil pushing type activities have never interested me; this is why I am so in love with 17Hats. 17Hats handles so much of that online work for me.

    The best, most amazing part of my photography business is the people. I am privileged to see the best in families. I believe the camera can see your soul. After every session, as I am cleaning up for the next, in my heart I always think, “ There are beautiful people in this world and I am happy to know them.” I do feel honored to be a part of their lives for a brief time.

    About the Contributor: HI! I am maternity, newborn baby and child fine art photographer in Charlotte NC. I shoot on location and in the studio. I like to think outside the box & my glass is always half full........of coke!

  • Feb 09, 2017

    14 Valentine’s Day Pictures to Take

    I can hardly believe it’s already February! I’m super excited to be on the blog today with 14 ideas for Valentine’s Day pictures! I was thrilled to take on this challenge because I think this will be great inspiration for photographers and parents alike. In planning this project, I really spent some time thinking about what direction I wanted to go with this. There are so many cute themed ideas for this sweet holiday and I decided I definitely want to share a few of those with you but I want to take this a little further! Beyond the pink and red, the hearts, and the cupids, I hope there is a bigger message on Valentine’s Day. In this list, I’m going to challenge you to capture THE CUTE, THE MEMORABLE, and THE MEANINGFUL.

    THE CUTE

    #1 Hearts Everywhere!
    We’re going to start with the cute ideas! I love a simple bag of heart confetti (available just about anywhere, unless you live in the middle of the desert like me – and then you’ll have to order on Amazon!). This is perfect for a cute detail shot or even a confetti toss!

    #2 Blow a Kiss
    Now that you’ve got that cute heart confetti, might as well blow a kiss!

    #3 The Big Red Balloon!
    Nothing says Valentine’s Day like RED and I think these oversized balloons make that statement loud and clear. This is a fun way to keep the kids moving while still capturing your Valentine’s Day message!

    #4 Tattoo
    I’m a “boy mom” and there is no way my boys are going to have anything to do with hearts, unless … I make it a tattoo and ask them to show off their muscles! These cute little heart tattoos (also from Amazon) are perfect for my fellow boy moms who want a cute Valentine’s picture of their sweet little men!

    #5 Props
    Do you have a little one with personality to the max? These simple cardboard props are the perfect accessory for some adorable Valentine’s pictures (and a whole lot of fun and laughter too)!

    #6 A Picture and a Gift!
    Turn your cute pictures into your child’s Valentine’s Day card with a mustache prop and a cleverly worded greeting: “I must-ache you a question. Will you be my Valentine?” Friends will be sure to love the personal touch!

    THE MEMORABLE

    #7 Card Making
    Whether you go with a personalized picture valentine or store bought, this is a great time to document the moments of your life. This idea is still focused on the cute themes of Valentine’s day but starts to get into the more memorable aspects of the holiday as you start capturing the real everyday love around you. When it’s time for your kids to prepare valentines for friends, family, or classmates, document that process! Snap a shot of their little hand writing or decorating or assembling the valentine. Take a picture of the finished product. Maybe even a picture of them handing the valentine to a friend? Do they need help? Hop in the picture with them and make it all the more special!

    #8 Story Time
    Photographers could easily incorporate a sweet Valentine’s Day book into a session. Parents, plan for a special story time and plan ahead for a photo op! If you need inspiration, my favorite valentine themed book is “Love and Kisses”!

    #9 Special Snack
    We all love all the cute treats surrounding holidays. Why not turn them into a memorable picture-worthy moment? I loved this heart cookie and mug (both from Starbucks) and they were perfect for a memorable Valentine’s Day snack with one of my loves. Photographers could bring along a heart mug or cookie to a session for another way to create fun moments and connection with your clients.

    #10 Just Be!
    Plan a special date with your valentine and make sure to grab a selfie or hand the camera to a friend!

    THE MEANINGFUL

    #11 Siblings
    I definitely kept a little bit of the “cute” in this one but I couldn’t resist! Valentine’s Day is the perfect time to get a sweet shot as proof that they actually do love each other sometimes. Fun themed props might just be the way to bring out their love for each other!

    #12 An Excuse for Glamour!
    If you have a little girl who loves getting dressed up and all things glamorous, Valentine’s day can be the perfect time to turn it into the gift of her own special photo session. An extra special red dress is the finishing touch. You know she is beautiful inside and out … let her see herself the way you always have!

    #13 Hand Holding
    Find ways to capture the love in a family in big ways and little ways. Sometimes the little details like hand holding are what tugs at your heart and speaks volumes about the amazing love you can barely put into words.

    #14 Snuggling
    Last but not least, capture a sweet hug or snuggle. I love to focus in close as if the picture is of the hug itself and not the people. Nothing tells the story of love like a sweet snuggle.

    After you take some cute shots with hearts and balloons and lots and lots of red, let Valentine’s day serve as your reminder to notice, capture, and appreciate the real, every day love all around you. Don’t forget to share your images with NAPCP by using #napcp!

     

    Southern California photographer Marisa McDonald loves to make beautiful images that reflect your unique personality! It is her goal that your photography session will capture you and your loved ones in this unique moment in time. She is also passionate about helping her clients display these beautiful photographic memories in their homes so they do not languish on a CD in the junk drawer for years to come!

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    img Website: www.napcp.com Email: katie@napcp.com

    About the Contributor: Katie, our Editorial Manager, is our wordsmith and communications extraordinaire!  After college and graduate school, she worked in the nonprofit world, and briefly in politics. She realized she'd be quickly burned out, and started writing for various lifestyle websites. Before landing at NAPCP, Katie shot product photography for Etsy shops and other small business owners. Katie also works with Pinterest, as a member of their Pinfluencer team. She is passionate about making the world a happier, more beautiful place! Katie lives for her husband and two children, updating their totally 90's home, and finding joy in the small things. Even washing dishes.

  • Feb 08, 2017

    February Newsletter: 2017 NAPCP Retreat Recap!

    Click here to read our February 2017 newsletter featuring a complete recap of the 2017 NAPCP Retreat in Santa Barbara, CA!

    Don’t forget, Inspired is now printable! Print your copy straight from MagCloud, and share your favorite pieces with friends, family and clients.

     

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    About the Contributor: Deanne is a graphic designer and photographer. She graduated in 2005 from Northern Illinois University with a BFA in Visual Communication . Before joining the NAPCP team, Deanne worked at a small advertising agency for ten years where she grew as an artist. She also started her own small photography business in 2010 and has a passion for photographing children and documenting life. Currently, she is working for NAPCP as the Design Production Assistant and is excited for new opportunities to bring her love of design and photography together. Deanne resides in the Chicagoland area with her husband and three year old son. When she is not working, you can find her photographing or doing multiple home improvement projects.

  • Feb 07, 2017

    Love Bugs: Free Coloring Sheet Printable!

    Just in time for Valentine’s Day, we are sharing these two adorable Love Bug themed printables! Each sheet includes intricate, patterned bugs to help your kiddos get creative. Share the love and download your FREE printables now! (And if you color them yourself, we want to see that, too. Use #napcp on Instagram!)

    love bugs(1) | love bugs(2)

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    About the Contributor: Kristen Smith is a graphic designer and illustrator residing in Augusta, GA with her fiance Jon-Michael and two fur babies, Desmond and Penelope. She knew from a very young age that she wanted to do something creative and began taking design classes in high school. After receiving a BFA in Graphic Design from the University of Georgia, she worked hard to establish a freelance career and officially launched her own company in 2011. Kristen is an award-winning designer, a celebrated creative for Minted.com, and has been working with NAPCP since it's inception in 2009.  She has a passion for fresh and beautiful designs with subtle feminine hints and a dash of whimsy.   Her passion for design is rivaled only by her passion for animals. She has been an avid animal rights supporter for many years and presently works with a local rescue organization fostering and rehabilitating cats. When she is not designing or sketching, you can find her crafting or in the garden!  She is also an entertainment junkie and watches entirely too many movies and television shows. Kristen looks forward to the extraordinary possibilities each new day brings!  


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  • February Newsletter: 2017 NAPCP Retreat Recap!

    Click here to read our February 2017 newsletter featuring a complete recap of the 2017 NAPCP Retreat in Santa Barbara, CA! Don’t forget, Inspired is now printable! Print your copy straight from MagCloud, and share your favorite pieces with friends, family and clients.   Save

  • Free Custom Wallpaper: Talent. Goals. Work. Success.

    Whether you’re an Image Competition pro or are entering for the first time, relying on your instincts and hard work is a must. Our design team wants to encourage you this upcoming weekend, and help give you the motivation to take a leap and enter your photos in the NAPCP 2017 First Half International Image […]

  • Free Custom Wallpaper: You Go Girl

    It’s the first week of the New Year, friends! The time when everyone is making (and hopefully sticking to) their resolutions for 2017. It’s always wonderful to set new goals and be excited for a fresh beginning, but we frequently break our resolutions when we realize we’re still feeling just as burned out and overwhelmed […]

  • December Newsletter: Featuring July 2016 Image Competition Winners!

    Click here to read our December 2016 newsletter featuring the winners from our July 2016 International Image Competition! Don’t forget, Inspired is now printable! Print your copy straight from MagCloud, and share your favorite pieces with friends, family and clients.   Save