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we are so delighted that you are here. The National Association of Professional Child Photographers is an association whose mission is to promote
and support the artistry and integrity of professional child photographers. To accomplish this mission, NAPCP provides the most comprehensive resources for its members, bringing together a community of passionate artists committed to growth in their skills, their artistry, and their businesses.

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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  • Jul 31, 2015

    This is Me: Selecting Your Images for Competition, by Competition Judge Jennifer Kapala

    So you have made the decision to enter into the National Association of Professional Child Photographers International Image Competition. Good for you! You have taken the first important, and sometimes daunting, step to deciding to put your work in front of a panel of judges who are as passionate and as dedicated to the art of photography as you. There is as much to learn about yourself and your art through the process of selecting, preparing and finalizing your entries as there is in seeing the final marks and comments back from the panel. Here are a few of my thoughts to keep in mind when selecting your images.

    1) Challenge yourself – Not just in entering the competition, but also to be an impartial observer of your work and examine it with a critical eye. A good image is a fine balance between the technical and the creative; neither one should overshadow the other. A great image is all that AND one that makes the observer stop and be drawn into the story – that’s the impact that counts for the highest portion of your score and the “wow” factor, so go for it. As attached as we are to our own work, it helps to take out the emotional connection and really stand back to view it with a fresh set of eyes. Select your images early, leave them for a few days and come back to them and you will often be surprised at what else you may notice, or what other pictures draw you in. Once you have had that break, really challenge yourself to look at the composition, the lighting, the perspective, etc. Are they unique or have you seen them before? Do they follow the rules, or if not, break them well? Which images are you connected to emotionally now?

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    2) Involve others – Not necessarily the ones who love you, your work or the subjects, but the impartial ones who will be honest with you and give you constructive feedback. A trusted and reputable mentor or reviewer can really help you realize the strengths you have, as well as areas for development. Be curious and take the opportunity to ask them why an image works, why it doesn’t and what would take it to that next level. It will then be up to you to use the feedback that resonated with you and made sense for your vision and your art.

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    3) Tell me a story and assume nothing – This is the hardest part. To tell that compelling story, in one image, without any of the back story. An outsider has no idea how hard you worked to get that expression or how late you stayed up finessing the image to be as perfect as you could. But they do know what stops them in their tracks, wows them or makes them curious. At the same time, don’t assume judges want to see things that are similar to what they photograph, either in style, technique or subject matter. Be clear on who you are, and true to your art and your vision. That’s what will speak volumes to the viewer.

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    Finally, thank you. Thank you for being brave enough to put yourself out there and say, “This is me, this is what I see when I pick up the camera. Here, let me share a little of myself and my view with you.” It’s an honour to spend some time with you. I can’t wait to see what you’ve submitted and I hope you learn lots along the way too … especially a willingness to keep making art that inspires you and speaks to others. Keep going and keep putting yourself out there.

     

    Jennifer is the recipient of NAPCP’s prestigious Photographer of the Year award, for 2014. View Jennifer’s full judges bio here. Visit her striking, modern website to view more of her work, and to contact Jennifer.

    About the Contributor: Award Winning Child And Family Custom Photographer living life in the majestic Canadian Rockies Serving Calgary and Area.

  • Jul 28, 2015

    50 Summer Snaps: A Personal Photography Project, from Abbe McCracken, of Abbe McCracken Photography

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    Most photographers love a good personal project. I am no exception. What’s not to love about shooting just for yourself? Capturing your own family?

    Practicing day in and day out? I’ll tell you. It’s hard to maintain! Case in point, my completed Project 52 album from 2013 (yes, I said 2013) just landed on my desk . . . and no, it didn’t take Artifact Uprising that long to print. It took me that long to find time to design it. It’s beautiful and makes me want a million more.

    It also makes me so happy that – despite the busyness that is motherhood – I’ve carved out time to start another personal project: 50 Summer Snaps. Sounds fun, right? IT IS! But I’m kinda cheating and I’m ok with that.

    This project started out with the name 100 Days of Summer Fun. Many of my photography friends are well on their way to completing all 100 days, but me, well, I got a late start. I’m blaming it on Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools because to me, summer doesn’t really begin until the kids are out of school. So right off the bat, I gave myself a 25-day handicap and called mine 75 Days of Summer. Fast forward a few weeks and the summer taxi service I seem to be running has me behind again. Thus I renamed it 50 Summer Snaps! Title revision number 3 and proud of it.

    Personal projects are just that, personal. What works for some, may not work for all. I don’t need a new picture every single day … I already do that on Instagram. For this project, I’ll be happy with as many summer pictures as I get. Just a few to document our days. I think 50 sounds about right … although if Jay’s new Tennessee shirt makes any more appearances I’ll have to change it to the One-Shirt Summer project. What can I say? He’s excited about the team’s new Nike line and I do laundry too much. Here are a few of my favorite summer snaps thus far . . .

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    About the Contributor: Abbe is an award-winning Charlotte, NC based natural light photographer specializing in joyful baby, child and family photography. Her style is a combination of Modern family lifestyle photography and traditional children\'s Portraiture.

  • Jul 27, 2015

    July 2015 Newsletter featuring Amanda Holloway!

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    Click here to read the July Newsletter!

    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!  

  • Jul 23, 2015

    The Story: Submitting Your Images for Competition: Tips from Competition Judge Michael Howard

    One of the hardest things you can do as a photographer is to edit your own work. When I say ‘edit’, that means to choose which images are successful and which images need to go away. It’s almost impossible to do this yourself. The reason for this is because we are too close to our own work. We know the stories behind every image we took and we know how hard we worked to get a particular images. To put it simply, our personal bias clouds our judgment. We can’t see our work clearly for what it often is. So the challenge is to narrow your work down to a select few of your best images to submit for a photo competition.

    My advice for this little venture is summed up by the following:

    Suggestion One: Have 2-3 other people look at your work. Don’t do this alone, but don’t ask just anyone.

    There is a strategy to this…

    Figure out who the people in your life are who will be brutally honest with you. Ideally, these people should have decent knowledge of art history and photo history. They must have a ‘good eye’. This means you respect what they value as ‘good art’. They don’t have to be photographers. They can be anyone that understands and loves art.

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    Suggestion Two: Ignore the story.

    When you take a photograph, you know the story of the day, you know how hard you worked to get that shot, and you know what was going on behind the scenes. You know how hot or cold it was that day. You know how rushed the entire shoot was. You know how challenging that child was, and how this image is of your favorite client of all time! We don’t know these stories. All we can judge a photo on is what’s actually in the image. None of the back story is there for us, so don’t submit images that move you because the back story is compelling in your head. You’ll more than likely be disappointed with the results from a detached viewer.

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    Suggestion Three: Make small prints.

    This is always the best way to narrow down your portfolio. Print 4×6’s or 5×7’s of your top 20 images and lay them all out on a table at one time. Then start rearranging them and comparing them to each other. Include your selected 2-3 trusted people to view the prints as well (if possible) and have them do the same thing. You’ll naturally find your best images a lot faster this way then going through them in Lightroom or Photoshop.

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    Suggestion Four: Soul > Pretty

    It’s easy to fall into the trap that the best photos are the most idealized, but throughout photo history that has been far from true. Usually the best photographs are the ones that draw you into the human soul. When you look at these images you get a sense of what it means to be human, to be flawed yet to have worth. Technical mastery is great, but if there is nothing in the image to connect the viewer to humanity then it’s a pretty boring image in my opinion. Give me heart and soul over pretty every single time!

    I hope these four suggestions help you choose which images are best for competition. Each of us are looking forward to viewing your work and giving you feedback on your art. Make sure you enjoy the editing process, because you’ll learn a lot about your work by simply analyzing it and making decisions about what is your most successful photographs.

     

    View Michael’s judges bio here. Visit his beautifully essentialist website to view more of his work, and to contact Michael.

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

    About the Contributor: Alice is a passionate creative who loves photographing childhood, planning meaningful events, and dreaming big. Kyu is a an entrepreneur who believes in living a life full of integrity and serving others. Since starting Alice Park Photography in 2006, Alice and Kyu's business has blossomed into one of the premier boutique studios in Buckhead and the Atlanta area. They consider themselves to be especially blessed having the freedom to run a business they love while raising their two young children, Lyon and Elise. In 2009, the couple’s love for the photography industry sparked them to create the National Association of Professional Child Photographers (NAPCP) – bringing together a community of passionate artists committed to growth in their craft and this unique industry. The thriving organization is their way of giving back to the global network of specialized child photographers that have supported Alice and Kyu so kindly over the years.

  • Jul 20, 2015

    Studio Share: Michelle Anderson, of Mango Mahalo Photography

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    NAPCP: Tell us more about yourself. Where are you from? Tell us about your family, hobbies …

    MA: My name is Michelle Anderson and I am a Newborn, Child & Family Photographer. My business is called Mango Mahalo Photography and I am based out of Knoxville, Tennessee. Although I now call Knoxville “home,” I spent all of my life, up until 6 months ago, in Southern California. It was in California where I grew up, pursued a career as a pediatrician, married, and had my three children. It was in California and after the birth of my third child that I chose to step away from my medical practice and stay at home with my children. During that transition, I started exploring photography as a hobby. The more I learned, the more I fell in love with it.

    I officially opened my business doors in 2012. I transformed my formal dining room into a newborn studio, but a 10×12 foot space was just never big enough for me. Of course I desired a bigger space, but since I was operating as a part-time photographer (and a full time stay-at-home mom and wife), I never wanted to have to pay rent for a studio space, or work outside of my home. So I just made do.

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    NAPCP: How did you come to have your own studio space?

    MA: In 2014, my family decided to move to the South and while searching for a new home, I dreamed about a bigger, better studio space. I definitely found it! Our home has a fully finished basement, where my newborn studio is now located. I have a 15 x 15 foot room dedicated to my sessions, an adjoining 12 x 15 room to store props, a kitchen, living room and bathroom to make clients feel comfortable and “at home” during those long newborn sessions. Now that my studio space is an enclosed room, I can effectively use a space heater to keep the room warm for the little ones, and parents can wait comfortably in the cooler living room and even catch up on some much-needed sleep on the over=sized couch! As a newborn photographer who has to withstand the heat during a newborn session, my studio’s stained concrete floors provide a cool surface to sit on.

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    NAPCP: What’s your favorite thing about having your own space?

    MA: Having an organized studio is so very important to me and saves me time when setting up for or putting items away from a session. Here is where and what I keep in my studio:

    closet – studio lights, backdrop stands, space heater, to blankets and my growing collection of vintage baby dresses
    glass storage cubbies – flokati, furs, photography magazines and other small props
    wall-mounted mail sorter – wraps
    wooden ladders built from Southern tobacco sticks – mini quilts
    curtain rods – headbands and bonnets
    old desk drawer – newborn diapers, and pacifiers for easy access

    My studio space has natural light pouring in thru three windows, but to achieve consistency in my editing, I installed blackout curtains behind sheer linen curtains and I use off-camera flash. I have not yet experimented with photographing in front of those windows when soft, diffused natural light pours thru the sheer curtains.

    Over the years, I have collected some trinkets and props that are near and dear to my heart. My studio is where I get to showcase my vintage cameras, old roller derby skates, a tree stump from my childhood neighborhood in California, and a couple trunks gifted to me by friends along my journey as a photographer.

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    NAPCP: Do you have any advice for fellow photographers who want to move into their own work space?

    MA: For my fellow newborn photographers who long for a studio space of their own, I encourage you to first decide if an in-home studio space or an out-of-the-home studio space is the best financial decision. At first, I never wanted to have to work to pay rent. I never wanted to leave my family (to set up the studio, for example), or cart my kids with me to an off-site studio in case childcare could not be arranged. Having an in-home studio was always the only option for me. My advice to those starting out is if your dream studio is unavailable, work with what you have available. It will still allow you to grow your skills and your clientele. It will also help you truly know what you need in a studio space, should the opportunity arise to build an addition, move into a storefront, or even move across country!

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    See Michelle’s work via her website, and Facebook page!

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

    About the Contributor: Alice is a passionate creative who loves photographing childhood, planning meaningful events, and dreaming big. Kyu is a an entrepreneur who believes in living a life full of integrity and serving others. Since starting Alice Park Photography in 2006, Alice and Kyu's business has blossomed into one of the premier boutique studios in Buckhead and the Atlanta area. They consider themselves to be especially blessed having the freedom to run a business they love while raising their two young children, Lyon and Elise. In 2009, the couple’s love for the photography industry sparked them to create the National Association of Professional Child Photographers (NAPCP) – bringing together a community of passionate artists committed to growth in their craft and this unique industry. The thriving organization is their way of giving back to the global network of specialized child photographers that have supported Alice and Kyu so kindly over the years.

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  • New in the Store: Original Artwork Seal!

    We are excited to share a brand new download in the NAPCP store this week! Our latest addition is a set of template files that can be used across a range of products to certify your original artwork. The download includes templates that can be printed on a 5″x5″ card, a circular 3″x3″  or 2″x 2″sticker, as […]

  • New in the Store: Client Flowchart + Giveaway! (Closed)

    Brand new to the NAPCP store this week, our completely customizable client flowchart! A great way to stay organized and keep all your tasks and to-dos in one place. It includes 14 unique task columns with corresponding symbols that can be moved, switched and updated to reflect your perfect workflow system. Colors and fonts can […]

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    Helpful Tips for Entering Competitions, from Competition Judge Barb Uil

    I’m going to be completely honest here – I have never, ever entered an official competition. Oopsie daisy! Now before you throw in the towel and think, “Well, why should I enter,” I’m going to contradict myself. I’ve always been one of those people who just do whatever I feel, on a whim, to do, […]

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