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  • Mar 04, 2015

    Office Share: Kate L Photography

    In March of 2014, I was about to finish grad school in Boston, and trying to run my small business from my apartment, and coffee shops. In theory, it sounds great — set your own hours, work in your pajamas, etc. But I was used to the structure that school provided, and my business was quickly descending into an unproductive slump. I looked into commercial space options and just couldn’t afford the huge jump in overhead. I remembered reading about creative co-working spaces in a plane magazine, so I did a quick Google search and WeWork magically fell into my lap.

    If I could choose one thing in my business that I’m most proud of, it’s this office. For years I imagined what it would be like to have my own space, and then I finally had the chance to make those dreams come true. Even the simplest things, such as the office address on my return labels, help me feel like a legitimate business owner. Having the space has enabled me to host in-person ordering sessions, and show product samples to my clients, which means that their images no longer live and die on their computers.

    Having the clear work/home boundary also helps keep my business from invading my thoughts 24/7. When I arrive at my office every day, it’s time to get things DONE! And when I lock up at the end of the day, I leave my computer behind and “turn off” my work mode.

    Socially, the office has really helped me with the lonely aspect of running a business from home. I’ve formed great friendships and business partnerships here — once I traded head shots for a ‘co-worker’ in exchange for business advice, which has immensely helped growth this year.

    Now that I’ve been in this space for almost a year, I can honestly say that it’s been worth every penny for me to invest in an office space. It has helped me grow from a student to a true business owner, not only in practice but in mentality. When it’s a one-man/woman-show, I really believe that the extra environmental boost is the difference needed to bring businesses to the next level.

    SO,  here’s a tour of my little space! I hope you enjoy taking a peek around!

    (C) Kate L Photography | www.kateLphotography.com

    I love seeing this vinyl logo decal on my door when I arrive at work!

    (C) Kate L Photography | www.kateLphotography.com

    These colorful frames are from The Organic Bloom, one of my favorite frame companies. I think they fit my style and space perfectly!

    (C) Kate L Photography | www.kateLphotography.com

    All the white furniture is from IKEA, and the desk chair is from West Elm. I learned a lot about furniture assembly very quickly!

    (C) Kate L Photography | www.kateLphotography.com

    Although the building has beautiful views of the Boston skyline, I chose an office without a window so that I could control the ambient lighting at any time of day. This helps me keep my photo editing consistent. When I’m not editing, the lamps help keep my space nice and cozy.

    (C) Kate L Photography | www.kateLphotography.com

    You can’t see it very well in these pictures, but the bench has several shelves and storage drawers underneath. Since it’s such a small office, I wanted to really maximize the usage of space.

    (C) Kate L Photography | www.kateLphotography.com

    (C) Kate L Photography | www.kateLphotography.com

    It’s so nice to have shelves to store everything! Sitting on top: a sample of the canvases that I offer, monograms from Anthropologie, flowers from Target and a wicker basket to store the blankets that I use for newborn sessions.

    (C) Kate L Photography | www.kateLphotography.com

    I love these little camera photo clips I found at Target.

    (C) Kate L Photography | www.kateLphotography.com

    (C) Kate L Photography | www.kateLphotography.com

    Since my last name is Lemmon, I just couldn’t resist including some plastic “lemmons” in a mason jar.

    (C) Kate L Photography | www.kateLphotography.com

    Proof boxes double as a perfect stand for this gold lomo camera I found on sale at Anthropologie.

    (C) Kate L Photography | www.kateLphotography.com

    Continuing with the silly “Lemmon” theme are the Lemonheads that I mail to my clients with their flash drive.

    (C) Kate L Photography | www.kateLphotography.com

    Here’s a sample of the gorgeous albums that I carry. It’s wonderful to be able to flip through images in my hands!

    (C) Kate L Photography | www.kateLphotography.com

    Although I can’t say the same thing about my apartment, I always leave my office really clean at the end of every workday. Having a clear desk helps me focus when I come back in the morning.

    (C) Kate L Photography | www.kateLphotography.com

    I adore this “make magic happen” print, and you can purchase your own here.

    (C) Kate L Photography | www.kateLphotography.com

    (C) Kate L Photography | www.kateLphotography.com

    One of my favorite organizational tools is this huge wall calendar, created from a Design Aglow template. I switch out the dates every month, and I add client appointments on Post-It notes. I also keep my schedule in Google Calendar, but the wall calendar helps me to see everything at a glance since I’m such a visual person.

    (C) Kate L Photography | www.kateLphotography.com

    The most recent addition to the office is this competition print that recently arrived in the mail from NAPCP!

    (C) Kate L Photography | www.kateLphotography.com

    Now that you’ve seen my office, here’s a little tour of the rest of the building. This is where my clients hang out when they first arrive.

    (C) Kate L Photography | www.kateLphotography.com

    Out of all of the beautiful decorations at WeWork, this poster is my favorite.

    (C) Kate L Photography | www.kateLphotography.com

    (C) Kate L Photography | www.kateLphotography.com

    Every floor has complimentary citrus water, coffee, tea, and beer on tap. I never drink when I’m working, but it comes in handy for my head shot clients to help calm their nerves a bit!

    (C) Kate L Photography | www.kateLphotography.com

    My office is located on the 7th floor, and this is a picture of our floor lobby.

    (C) Kate L Photography | www.kateLphotography.com

    The hallway that leads to my office.

    (C) Kate L Photography | www.kateLphotography.com

    The kitchen on my floor, where I usually bring my lunch every day.

    (C) Kate L Photography | www.kateLphotography.com

    Every floor at WeWork has conference rooms with amazing window light. This comes in handy when the weather is bad because we can shoot indoors.

    (C) Kate L Photography | www.kateLphotography.com

    This is one of my favorite rooms because it’s where I meet with my clients to view their photos for the first time. Always a happy occasion!

    (C) Kate L Photography | www.kateLphotography.com

    (C) Kate L Photography | www.kateLphotography.com

    I leave you with a couple of views of Fort Point, as seen from my floor.

    (C) Kate L Photography | www.kateLphotography.com

    I hope you enjoyed the tour of my space — I can’t wait to show you in person! Please stop by for a coffee the next time you’re near South Station. And if you’re interested in joining WeWork for your own business, use this link to receive a discounted first month of membership! There are WeWork locations all over the world, so you can join even if you don’t live in Boston.


    headshots_01_squareBoston family photographer Kate Lemmon has been photographing families, babies, and children since 2008. When she’s not behind her “big camera,” you can find her snapping away on Instagram, eating lots of chocolate chip cookies, or spending too much money at Anthropologie.

    About the Contributor: Based in Boston, Kate Lemmon believes in creating fun, happy, colorful, and REAL images for her clients. She photographs families, children, and babies both on-location and in their homes using natural light.

  • Mar 02, 2015

    Session Share: Tracy Gabbard Photography


    Immediately, when mom and dad arrived to the studio in white, I was instantly drawn to this simple, clean and classic look that would essentially inspire the whole session. This specific look resulted in minimal props and harsh colors as I attempted to capture a natural and innocent feel.





    Favorite Element:
    One of my favorite elements of the session was the connection between mom, dad, and baby. The joy on their faces for their new baby boy is so priceless and it made for really great, emotional images. I loved that dad had such a genuine smile and fascination with his son.





    Biggest Challenge:
    Even though this little guy slept like a champ, I had to be careful when I was trying to get him to give me a smile. Most of the time, I’m happy just to get a happy baby.





    For more light-filled inspiration, and to see Tracy’s portfolio, visit her website and blog, and Like her Facebook page.

    About the Contributor: Tracy is the Bay Area's premier photographer for newborns, children and families. She has a natural light studio in Clearwater, FL and loves to create sessions for newborns, children and families that are fun and interactive.

  • Feb 26, 2015

    What’s in Her Bag: Marilyn Edwards


    My camera bag is a backpack with rolling wheels, and handle up top, which works well for me. I am not sure of the make, but I do know it is not marketed as a camera bag. I lined the interior with padding to protect my equipment.

    I am still searching for a stylish bag to meet all of my needs, especially to replace the backpack for formal sessions, such as weddings. I am currently eying the Libby, and Jude, by Kelly Moore.



    For outdoor sessions, this is what you will find in my bag:

    1. Camera: Nikon D3S, and backup: Nikon D600
    2. Lenses: Nikon 70-200 mm f2.8, Sigma 85 mm f1.4, and Sigma 24-70 mm f2.8
    3. Accessories: Hoodman (love this tool on bright sunny days), reflector, speed light, extra batteries and cards for camera, business cards, water bottle, and phone.
    4. If sessions involve children or babies, I am sure to have candy, a noisemaker, and small toys, Band-Aids, Kleenex, and Motrin.
    5. Quite often my bag acts as a place to house my keys. I learned years ago not to keep my keys in my pocket, as I was known for losing (and searching for) them. I also sometimes keep clients’ keys, sunglasses, and even baby pacifiers!
    6. Lastly, but certainly not least, my notebook. I use my notebook for session reviews with clients, to ensure I capture all of the shots my clients have mentioned in consultation as priority in their vision. I love all of my tools.

    Thank you for sharing with us, Marilyn! For Marilyn’s work, please visit her website and blog, and Like her Facebook page.

    About the Contributor: I am totally committed to quality portraits and constant personal growth in all areas with respect to what I do. I have discovered that I love photographing people and capturing those moments that will become their "Treasure Box Memories".

  • Feb 24, 2015

    Session Share: From Belly to Baby: Erin Shepley Photography

    I put out a call for volunteers for the project in March 2014 and I received lots of interest from various parenting groups, friends and family members. I ended up with 20 amazing moms (and one dad!) who gave their time and commitment to me, and opened their homes to me not just once, but twice. I am eternally grateful to everyone who participated in this project. I enjoyed meeting and talking with all of these outstanding women and am appreciative of the time they gave up with their other kids to make these photos happen.

    My intention with this project was to shoot something different and fun and to challenge myself with natural light and on-the-spot creativity … matching before and after scenes as best as I could – all in 20 different environments. Plus, my toddler came with me for most of the shots so I learned a lot about multitasking. That is, ensuring I could take an in-focus photo and then match that with another in-focus photo, all while my toddler was needing me and begging for my attention. That proved to be challenging at times, let me tell you. But I was determined to make it work, and I did.

    I learned something with every photo I shot, which was, of course, the point. When I look back at the images, there are definitely things here and there that I didn’t notice at the time or that I thought about changing in-post, but I decided that I didn’t want to ‘fake’ or Photoshop anything about the images. So, what you see in every photo is straight out of camera with only colour correction done. The odd floor register or electrical socket might have been removed but that’s it. All photos are in colour to showcase the unique details of each family’s home. I asked all women to look down for every shot, to show the bond between belly and mother, and then baby and mother.

    What I learned the most was to embrace the imperfection of things. There were things that changed the scene for some after shots, lenses that were broken that changed how I shot some second photos, unrecoverable files that caused some re-shooting, things that happened beyond anyone’s control that delayed second shots being done … and things that, in the end, really don’t matter. I’m proud of this project as it is and I wouldn’t change a thing about it.

    All 20 sets of before and after images are below. I would love to hear what you think about this project – please feel free to comment at the bottom of the post!



    Jen & Adam :: Adam’s date of birth {April 6, 2014}

    Jen was the first person I photographed for this series. I caught her just before she was due and she ended up having a beautiful home birth just two days after I took the first photo. I was so glad I met her in time – she is such a lovely person and was so kind to me.

    Justina & Rayana :: Rayana’s date of birth {April 10, 2014}

    Justina welcomed me into her home right away. I was immediately drawn to the colour in the painting on the mantle and found out that Justina’s two girls had painted it. I thought it was perfect to include in the photos. And I love the way the light fell on Justina’s face for the shot as well.

    Kelly & Theodore :: Theodore’s date of birth {April 11, 2014}

    Kelly’s home had many beautiful spots, but when I saw the staircase, it pretty much took the cake. I loved the bright light and curvature of the stairs, and the angle from where I took the shot. Kelly’s 4-year-old daughter also “helped” me take the images by being my rock star assistant.

    Erin & Luke :: Luke’s date of birth {April 12, 2014}

    I met Erin when I worked at Dairy Queen, over 15 years ago. I was so happy when she volunteered to be a part of my photo series as I knew it would also be the perfect excuse to catch up. I loved the books on their townhouse wall so I decided to do the shot with them in the background.

    Claudia & Lucas :: Lucas’ date of birth {April 12, 2014}

    Claudia is a talented photographer and clearly an amazing artist, as she created and painted the stunning artwork on Lucas’ nursery wall. It was obvious that his room was the right place for the photos.

    Theresa & Jude :: Jude’s date of birth {April 23, 2014}

    Theresa is one of those people that makes you feel like you’re best buddies when you first meet. While looking for the right place to do the photos in her home, I immediately knew we would use her bedroom as the background as the LOVE banner was the perfect touch for the images.

    Chris, Maribeth, Adelaide & Emalene :: Adelaide & Emalene’s date of birth {May 2, 2014}

    Maribeth and I met while taking a darkroom photography class at SAIT. The following year, I had the honour of assistant shooting at her gorgeous wedding in Canmore. When I found out she and Chris were expecting twin girls, I was thrilled for them, and so excited to include a set of twins in the series.

    Alexandra & Bodhii :: Bodhii’s date of birth {May 14, 2014}

    When I first met Alexandra, she was all smiles and super friendly. I noticed her wall of family photos right away and decided to include them in the background of the shot. I also loved the way the light was so bright behind her.

    Lisa & Marley :: Marley’s date of birth {May 23, 2014}

    I was so in love with the front bay window in Lisa’s home – it provided us with beautiful light and a relaxing spot for Lisa to sit for the photos. When I went back to do the second photo, Lisa gave me a bottle of wine as a token of her appreciation. I was blown away at this kind gesture as I was the one who felt appreciative of her time and dedication to my project.

    Jody & Violet :: Violet’s date of birth {June 4, 2014}

    Jody is an incredible photographer – her work is simply stunning. I was so happy when she volunteered to be a part of my series. To get this shot we moved her kitchen table and chairs and it was definitely worth it. The light combined with her dress, hair, curtains, wallpaper … I love the way the final look came together.

    Jen & Arden :: Arden’s date of birth {June 7, 2014}

    Jen and her family live on a gorgeous piece of property. When I drove up, I knew I wanted to do the photos outside. When I returned to do the second photo, the grass had grown quite a bit but I loved that it looked a little different from the first photo to show the time passing.

    Katie & MacKenzie :: MacKenzie’s date of birth {June 23, 2014}

    Katie’s family lived next door to my family for years. I was looking forward to seeing her again and chatting about life. I caught Katie just in the nick of time for the first photo – she went into labour later that night. I was very happy that I could still include her in the project.

    Diana & Tristan :: Tristan’s date of birth {June 26, 2014}

    I was all about the colours in the banner above Diana’s front window, so I included it for the photos. I also loved her beautiful dress; it was the perfect colour to bring everything together. I moved several things out of the way for the shot so she would be the focus of the image and I think it paid off.

    Emilie & Léa :: Léa’s date of birth {July 1, 2014}

    Emilie’s home was so warm and welcoming and there was a ton of light to work with for the photos. Emilie has such a calm nature, it was so easy to capture both the before and after shot in hardly any time at all.

    Jenn & Nolan :: Nolan’s date of birth {July 9, 2014}

    I fell in love with Nolan’s nursery the second I saw it, so of course I wanted to use it for the photos. Jenn decorated it so perfectly with such a beautiful colour palette, and the light in there during the day is heavenly.

    Andrea & Rhys :: Rhys’ date of birth {July 12, 2014}

    Andrea is such a great soul – when I discovered that my second set of photos I originally shot of her could not be recovered, she opened her door to me again and let me come back for a third round of photos. Rhys was a few months older at this point but I decided that it didn’t matter – I wanted to include everything, to tell the full story of the series. And in the end I loved that they had moved some furniture around in their house to show the time that had gone by.

    Kristen & Jasper :: Jasper’s date of birth {July 25, 2014}

    The yellow lights in Kristen’s bedroom were unique and fun, and with the light from the side window coming in perfectly on Kristen’s face, I loved this shot. I sadly broke the lens I shot the first photo with so I had to use a different cropped sensor camera with a totally different lens for the second photo to be able to capture the same wide angle. In the end it worked out just fine.

    Shannon & Chloe :: Chloe’s date of birth {August 2, 2014}

    For this first and second photo set we had to switch it up a bit. The spot in the backyard where we shot the first photo was completely washed out with harsh sunlight when I came back for the second photo. So we moved to another cute little corner of the yard for the after shot and I love the way it turned out. The skirt was MIA the second time around but I love that we had a bit of a different outfit and location together which made it all perfectly imperfect in the end. And little Chloe’s dress is so adorable.

    Kim & Leo :: Leo’s date of birth {August 16, 2014}

    Kim is married to my cousin Mark, and I’m so happy she was expecting at just the right time, so she could be included in the series. She is the loveliest of people and I’m lucky she’s my family. I’ve always loved this chair of theirs, so naturally I wanted to use it for the photos.

    Heather & Rhys :: Rhys’ date of birth {September 1, 2014}

    This is one wall of the playroom in Heather’s house, and it’s awesome. I love that she has so many unique vintage items and art pieces, I didn’t hesitate to use them in the background of the photos. I loved wrapping up the series with this final set of images.


    Thank you, Erin, for sharing this stunning labor of love with us!

    View Erin’s original post on her blog. For more inspiration, be sure to Like her Facebook page, and follow her on Twitter.

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

    About the Contributor: Katie, our Editorial Assistant, is the newest member of the NAPCP team. 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 23, 2015

    Capturing Your Everyday, with Abbe McCracken

    It’s the end of February. Time for a resolution redo or two. This is the time of year when we start seeing which resolutions are working and which ones are not. We abandon some and pick up new ones. I’m here to tell you it’s never too late to start. Do you want to get in better shape? Take a walk tomorrow. Do you want to drink more water? Walk to the sink and fill a glass {… talking to myself here}. Do you just want to take better pictures and document your family life? Hello. I’ve done that two years in a row and you don’t need to wait until next January. You can start documenting every day today. Here are five tips to help you get started:

    1. Simplify.

    Use your iPhone. It is the most used camera in the world and for good reason. It takes really great pictures and it’s so easy. Simply point, shoot, edit and share … all within minutes of pressing the shutter. It’s this ease and convenience that appeals to me most. Sure my professional camera shouldn’t even be in the same sentence as the iPhone but they are totally different tools. When it comes to capturing “happy snaps,” the iPhone rocks.


    2. Experiment.

    Literally sit down and play with your iPhone camera. Some tips:

    Shoot in good light. It’s my number one photography rule, iPhone or not. It’s hard to make a photograph shine without it.
    Press anywhere on the capture screen to activate a blue square – a combined focus and exposure tool that gives you more control. Tap the square to grab focus on your subject and adjust your exposure.
    As of iOS 7, we can all now shoot in “square” mode. It’s perfect if you publish to Instagram. My favorite editing apps are PicTapGo and A Beautiful Mess.

    3. Commit.

    Commit to a family photography project and invite friends to join if you need support. I’ve done two photography projects in that last two years. My Project 52 was one picture every week for one year. I completed it with my Nikon D610, though a few iPhone images snuck into the mix. After that I started an Instagram 365, one picture every single day of 2014, 365 days strong with only my iPhone. I adored it. You can see my whole collection on Instagram at #abbemccrackenphotography365 or just check out my favorites in My iPhoneography Top 10. I’m currently on my second year of the 365. That’s how much I love it.

    Figure out how much time you have to document your family and commit to it daily, weekly or monthly. Publish it somewhere to hold yourself accountable.

    4. Let It Go.

    Yes, Elsa inspired me to just let it go. Let go of perfection and move on. Did I really just write that? My family is cracking up. But seriously, my Instagram collection is a mixed bag. Some are silly, some are beautiful; some are happy, some are sad; some are selfies, some are usies; some mark special occasions and some were taken at 10 p.m. scrambling to document just about anything.

    5. Document YOU too.

    Jump in a selfie or two. Photograph things you love. We’ve all heard the phrase “we were there too” so really show your kids that you were an active, fun part of their everyday too.


    Last but certainly not least, a huge part of capturing your family is actually getting a professional photographer to help. At least once a year, you need to get every.single.family member in the picture. That includes you. I took a ridiculous amount of pictures last year and I’m in about 1% of them. Don’t be me. Take the pressure off yourself as family documentarian and hand over the reigns to someone else. NAPCP is an amazing resource for finding local family photographers. Every photographer here has to meet really high standards to even be a part of this national organization. Just click the “find a photographer” box above.

    I hope these tips help you start documenting your everyday. Each month, I make an Artifact Uprising Instagram book with my iPhone pictures. These books get a smile, a laugh, a story or a question daily. For me, that makes the scramble totally worth it. If you start a personal project, please tag me. I’d love to watch you shoot and grow.


    About the Contributor: Abbe McCracken is a natural light portrait and lifestyle photographer serving Charlotte, North Carolina and the surrounding areas of Matthews, Ballantyne and Weddington. She specializes in joyful children’s photography and modern family photography.

    For more inspiration, visit Abbe’s website, Like her Facebook page, or follow her on Instagram.

    About the Contributor: Abbe McCracken is a natural light, on-location portrait & lifestyle photographer serving Charlotte, NC and the surrounding areas. She specializes in newborn, baby, child and family photography.

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