How Paying it Forward Made Me Love Photography Again, by Whitney Mara of Whitney Mara Photography
I know what you’re thinking . . . Give away free photo shoots? As in, not make any money? This girl is nuts! But hear me out for a minute!
I got started as a photographer on a whim! My sister-in-law, after complimenting me on my photographs for years, finally convinced me to start my own business. I was on maternity leave from work at the end of 2011 and it was the perfect time to “set up shop”.
Let me tell you that I was one of the lucky ones. My business picked up almost immediately. I suddenly found myself a mom of two, working a full time job and running my own business on the side. Still, I loved photography — that’s how this all got started — so I certainly wasn’t complaining!
Fast forward to August 2014. I was burnt out and miserable. I had been pigeonholed more times than I care to admit. A family photo shoot with four people turned in to a family reunion when I showed up, with grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins. Mini sessions that were supposed to last 30 minutes were taking over an hour because of client requests that I just wasn’t tough enough to say no to. I pride myself on my customer service, and so while I knew what I signed up for, I was quickly losing my love for my passion.
I found myself starting to resent photography. Something that had always been such a release for me, calming and inspirational, was becoming a chore! I had to do something to keep myself sane or I was going to snap. I was just about ready to close up shop when I learned that my dear friend had been diagnosed with cancer. She was 31 years old at the time. Married, with a 2 year old daughter.
I’m not a doctor, so what could I really do for her besides say “I’m there for you!” The day after finding out about her diagnosis I dried the tears and told myself, there IS something I can do for her! She had never done any family photo shoots, and NOW was the time to be making memories! So I offered to donate my time and talent and do a free photo shoot with her and her family.
We met at the beach a couple of weeks later, right before she started her chemo treatments. I spent hours just watching her be a mom and a wife. I watched her be carefree and have fun as if she didn’t have a care in the world. As if she hadn’t just gotten the worst diagnosis anyone could. I watched her forget, if even for just a few short hours, that she had cancer and was about to face the toughest battle of her life! And I watched all of this through my lens! I fell in love with photography again. With its purpose, it’s meaning, it’s value!
After that photo shoot I was on a path that I never realized would change my life, and my business, forever. My mind was made up though, I was going to donate photo shoots to families with a loved one battling cancer! It’s a way to create immortality in a very mortal world. A way to capture memories that can be passed on for generations to come.
By January 2015 I had partnered with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Long Island New York Chapter and was donating photo shoots to families with kids that were battling cancer. Let me tell you that I live for these photo shoots. These families are my heroes! I love working with them and the best part, I love being able to give them everything on my behalf. They are some of the most sincere, humble and amazing families.
Working with the team of ladies over at LLS – Long Island Chapter and donating time to families with a loved one battling cancer has become a mission for me. I do these sessions, at this point, more often than paid shoots. While I understand that I have the luxury to do this, since I have a ‘regular’ 9-5 job during the week, I encourage everyone to use their talent and donate their time and gift to someone that they think would benefit from it. It will renew your love of photography, your faith in humanity, and I promise it will re-energize you and your creativity in a way few other things in life can!
napcp contributor meet Whitney Schloss
About the Contributor: Hi I'm Whitney. A portrait photographer located in New York, serving NY and NJ. I specialize in Maternity, Newborn, 6-9 mos, One Year / Cake Smash and Family. I work with both natural light & studio light and am an on location photographer.
The February 2018 International Image Competition is HereSince its inception in 2009, NAPCP has created a collaborative community that educates and inspires child photographers. Our success lies ultimately in the success of our members, whom we greatly value. As you prepare to enter the February 2018 International Image Competition, make sure you review the Competition Rules & Guidelines. We could not be […]
#NAPCPNew Round-UpWe rounded up a few of our favorite #NAPCPNew Instagram submissions to inspire you get clickin’ for February’s #NAPCPXOXO tag! Elise Travis Photography Samantha Sloan Photography Cheryl Groff Photography Mandy Johnson Photography Tina Krafts Photography Jenny Perry Photography Michele Zakeri Photography Keri Jones Photography Sharon Neves Photography Visit the #NAPCPNew tag on Instagram to see […]
NAPCP is Hiring!NAPCP Friends and Members, We’re thrilled to announce we will be adding to our team! We’re seeking a positive, energetic, and highly motivated team member to coordinate our Member Community and communications. This role involves collaborating with all team members (editorial, creative, administrative, marketing, tech) to meet organization goals and metrics while keeping NAPCP’s mission […]
What to Wear – Lifestyle Newborn SessionAfter a client books a session, the first question that they ask is “What should we wear?” I really love documenting lifestyle newborn sessions because clients can incorporate themselves into the session … their home, their colors and of course their style. These sessions are candid, relaxed and if done right, truly showcase the new […]
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.
January Inspired Magazine: The Summit Recap!
This month’s issue of Inspired features all the details from the 2018 Marketing Summit in Atlanta, Georgia! Click here to see all of the beautiful details, learn more about how you can get the materials from the Summit in the NAPCP Store … and get a sneak peek at the judges for the 2018 International […]
December Inspired Magazine: Featuring Kristen Montgomery!
This month’s issue of Inspired features Kristen Montgomery of Kristen Montgomery Photography. Click here to see her beautiful work, learn more about the 2018 Marketing Summit and get a sneak peek at the 2018 NAPCP Image Competitions! Print your copy of Inspired straight from MagCloud! Share your favorite pieces with friends, family and clients. Save
November Inspired Magazine: Featuring Hannah Drews Eggert!
Click here to read our November magazine featuring Hannah Drews Eggert! See Hannah’s beautiful work, learn more about the 2018 Marketing Summit and read about the NAPCP 2017 Photographer of the Year! Print your copy of Inspired straight from MagCloud! Share your favorite pieces with friends, family and clients. Save Save
Marketing Summit 2018: You’re Invited!
You’re invited to register for our January 17-19, 2018 Marketing Summit in Atlanta, today! Registration is LIVE. We’re talkin’ setting and accomplishing goals, the best way to market yourself through blogging and email campaigns, and anything and everything you need to know about growing your social media presence organically (read: in the best possible way). […]
The National Association of Professional Child Photographers is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com