Photographers Who Inspire

Photographers Who Inspire | Aly Marie Photography

Week three of our Summer Series brings us out to the Midwest, featuring an insightful interview with Aly Chipman from Aly Marie Photography.  When it comes to newborn posing there are few who surpass Aly’s expertise and commitment to the art.  Please welcome Aly to the IMB Photographers Who Inspire series.


Who or what was your original inspiration when you started your business? Who inspires you now?

I found my passion for photography right after my son was born in November of 2009. I was determined to find a way to capture him in the moment and cherish these precious times! He has inspired me in every way! I fell in LOVE with photographing newborns right after I photographed my first bundle of joy! I began digging deeper into the art of newborn posing, exploring how to pose babies so perfectly and keep them safe at the same time!  Who inspires me now….? Is it okay to say EVERY pregnant mother I walk by? :-)  This has been an exciting and amazing journey so far! I feel very fortunate and blessed to have the opportunity to capture God’s little miracles!

What was the hardest part of starting your own business? What do you wish you would have known?

Building a portfolio was fairly easy because everyone wants free pictures!! lol… BUT, when I became ready to venture into actually building a business, it became harder! Structuring myself and doing constant math trying to figure out what to charge… This was a constant headache and struggle!

I finally found a book called “Easy As Pie.” I HIGHLY recommend this to ANY photographer just getting started… Or even a photographer who feels the same way I did about pricing! It helped out a lot and it was a quick and easy read! I’m not a reader, but I very much enjoyed this book and it helped me!

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Photographers Who Inspire | Tony Hoffer

Welcome to week two of our 2012 Summer Series of Photographers Who Inspire.  This week we are joined by the delightfully funny and incredibly talented Tony Hoffer of Hoffer Photography.  Great photographers are uncommon and are in a class of their own; then there are truly unique photographers like Tony and his wife Amy who raise the bar to another level with their own artistic element.  If you are not familiar with the work of Hoffer Photography, you are really missing out!  It is our honor and privilege to present to you Tony Hoffer!


Who or what was your original inspiration when you started your business? Who inspires you now?

I’m incredibly uninformed when it comes to the work of other photographers and I always have been. I enjoy creating the art much more than I enjoy looking at it. So for the most part, the only photographers I like are my friends that I know. That’s not just a current thing either. I know very little about photographers and pioneers from the past. It’s just not where my interest lies. So when I started, my inspiration was the staff of photographers that worked at the magazine where I worked. I wanted to make work that was good enough that I didn’t embarrass them with. Now, I’m much more inspired by our clients. By their ideas and hopes. Trying to give them a better looking version of whatever it is that they’re looking for.

What was the hardest part of starting your own business? What do you wish you would have known?

For most artists, then hardest thing is actually running the business. We’ve been lucky that we’ve never had to work too hard to get clients. But running a business was certainly an eye-opening experience at first. I had no idea how much it costs to have a real, sustainable business. I wish I had known that when we started. A while back we were just flying by the seat of our pants. For example, we didn’t know that we had to pay Sales Tax… Then when we finally asked about it, we got hit with a 2 year tax bill with penalties. That hurt.

You are well known for your unique and artistic style. How do you keep your work fresh in an industry that runs the risk of producing somewhat manufactured poses and looks?

The goal for us is to be different and LISTEN to clients. Those two things tend to go hand in hand. Too many people look the same because too many people are looking at too many other people for “inspiration” (aka copying). Art can certainly mean whatever we want it to. For us it means that we serve our clients in the best way possible… by listening to them. People are different and creative and their ideas are what makes our work seem different and creative. It’s really a pretty easy strategy that way.

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Photographers Who Inspire | Erin Elizabeth Photography

We kickoff our 2012 Summer Series of Photographers Who Inspire with an outstanding interview with an award-winning photographer, Erin Hoskins.  She is the owner of Erin Elizabeth Photography and is one of Australia’s finest newborn photographers.  What an honor to have her on IMB and what a great way to jump back in to our popular interview series – Photographers Who Inspire!


Who or what was your original inspiration when you started your business? Who inspires you now?

When I started my business four and a half years ago, I was a part of a very small and tight-knit photography forum. One of the members that was most inspiring (and so wonderfully encouraging) to me was Amber from Little Moon Photography. Even though newborn sessions (Little Moon’s main clientele) weren’t part of my business at that time, I admired her business sense, beautifully clean edits, and gorgeous images.

I also gleamed a spectacular amount of knowledge from my all-time favourite photography forum: Some of the most talented and inspirational child photographers in the world are there offering free advice and guidance out of the goodness of their hearts. It’s amazing. I owe most of what I know today to ILP, and will continue to be a part of that community for as long as possible.

Today I find inspiration everywhere! I’ve discovered so many talented and creative photographers over the years and truly enjoy watching the industry grow and thrive.

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Business Profile: Froken Fokus

We recently received a lovely email from Martina Thalwitzer of Froken Fokus introducing us to a promotional video she created, uploaded and translated to English. I invited her to share her business approach and advice with Inspire Me Baby readers, and here it is! Enjoy!


Having worked as a photojournalist for newspapers and magazines for 9 years, I like the natural approach to portrait photography. Instead of posing too much, I try to let the people I photograph start doing things (playing, talking, hanging out) and I try to ”just observe” with my camera as much as possible. It is their personality I want to show in my photos, not my posing skills.

I mix that observing approach with some light interaction where I take their ideas and combine them with my own wishes regarding background and light. Especially children love having their ideas being listened to, so that makes me their instant best friend. In turn, they relax and feel confident and they don´t want the photo session to end.

Of course, this requires that I know everything technically very well, so that I don´t take my attention away from my subjects to fiddle with my camera. This also enables me to relax while on a photo shoot, something that is much harder when working under time pressure. The absence of time pressure is the reason I choose family sessions over weddings. Finally, my motto is to show ”inner beauty”. Meaning that if I focus more on the person behind the smile, he/she will feel that and let go of their insecurities about their appearance.

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Photographers Who Inspire | Jenny Watts Photography

by Liz LaBianca
Wow!   This intimate and enlightening interview with Jenny Watts is a great addition to our Photographers Who Inspire series as she reveals what many of us feel and aspire to as professionals. Thanks to Jenny for sharing her ideas, inspirations, successes and humility. The images included with this interview are simply amazing and showcase some unique poses, compositions and presentation possibilities. Please enjoy, share and leave your feedback below!

Jenny Watts: family portrait

baby portrait by Jenny Watts

newborn photography Jenny Watts


Who was your original inspiration when you started your business? Who inspires you now?
I guess I’d have to say Beth Jansen. I was extremely drawn to her use of color, texture etc.  Although my style is nothing like hers now – there was something that intensely drew my eye to her work.  I’ve also always been a fan of the clean look of Andie Hamilton – an amazing local photog in dallas that i’ve had the opportunity to work with and more importantly become friends with.  She’s tremendous and has a great eye for portraits and a great mind for business.

Currently, I’d have to say that I’m inspired by some of the following artists most are polar opposite from what I do but that’s why I can appreciate them – Stephanie Piscitelli with Bellini Portraits (love her clean playful imagery); Deb Schwedhelm (adore her raw honest view from behind the lens) ; Ann He (a young artist in Dallas – simply amazing); Brooke Shaden (wow – her vision for each shot blows me away everytime.  her ability to create something in her mind and then excecute it flawlessly is amazing – on top of that they are self portraits!  i genuinely appreciate her process); Stephanie Rausser – really does that need any explanation??  I could keep going as there are bits and pieces of so many artists that i love.

What was the hardest part of starting your own business? What do you wish you would have known?
Time management for sure!  Balancing it all is still difficult for me – i’m in awe of those people that can do this and have a family.  Secondly I had a hard time being ME – it’s so easy in the beginning to want to be like all the people you admire.  What do I wish I would have known -??  Well that it’s a lot harder than it looks.  Owning your own business, being an artist and a business person, having the backbone to know who you are and not apologize for it, stick to your guns, price without apology, really LOOK at life through the camera – don’t just take a photo. so so so much – but you simply learn that as you go along.

Tell us about your favorite lens and why it is #1 in your camera bag over your other lenses
Well I only have 3 – so I allow myself to love them all.  (All Nikkor: 35mm 1.4, 50mm 1.4, 85mm 1.4 )  Right now – I’m LOVING my 35mm.  I really enjoy being super close to my subject – especially smaller kids so it allows me that luxury with still a bit of room and shooting at 1.4 with it is amazing when i nail it.

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