Design Aglow's Baby Week 2014: Meet Rachel Vanoven

Continuing Baby Week 2014, we’re lucky to be getting to know Rachel Vanoven.

“Hi” Rachel, thank you for joining us!

Rachel Vanoven is a portrait photographer residing in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Describing her style preferences as “gritty” and “imperfectly-perfect,” she finds joy in capturing the raw essence of new life and teaching others to do the same.

Bursting with personality,  Rachel Vanoven ever so kindly contributes our sixth Baby Week 2014 interview.

Hello Rachel! Welcome and thanks for joining us on Design Aglow’s Baby Week.

Tell us a little bit about you.

Hey! I'm like so many other photographers, starting out as a mom with a camera some 8 or 9 years ago, and it just snowballed into this crazy fun business that I just love.

I've had my husband supporting me every step of the way, and my three slightly insane kids who constantly help me remember to put them and their daddy first, and photography second!

I live in a suburb of Indianapolis, with my studio being downtown, and I just love having the best of both worlds: a little, small town life with my family and an urban shooting space!

How do you describe your style?

I'd like to think that my style is a little grittier than most newborn photographers, my light is a little moodier, my shadows darker, my processing a little imperfectly-perfect.

On the other hand, I also prefer clean poses, shades of cream, and simple set-ups. Buuuuuut, I also love color, especially yellow!

So if that isn't a confusing style, I'm not sure what is!

What or who really inspires you?

My all time favorite photographer is Sally Mann, and I'm inspired daily by emotions (more than tangible objects or pictures). Raw joy, gloomy moods and the feeling of frustration can turn into some pretty awesome inspiration if you learn how to channel those emotions into your thought process before shooting and during editing!

What are your top tips for photographing babies?

My top three tips for photographing's always SO hard to narrow it down! Gosh, I'd say first and foremost to focus on the simple poses, simple set ups, simple processing-- and nail all three of those, really nail them, before moving on to more skilled poses, intricate set ups and fancy processing. Because if you don't get the basics right and rush the process, then you'll end up shooting yourself in the foot before you even start!

Secondly, remember to balance what the clients’ wants and needs are with your "you-ness." There's no point in being a professional artist/photographer if you sell out and become a dancing puppet for your clients and leave your passion at home. On the other hand, you aren't going to go far in this business if you forget that you are being paid by your clients, and if they show up with a giant crocheted hat with a silk gerber daisy that grandma bought, put the dang thing on the baby's head and photograph it! It won't kill you and you've made your client happy!

Lastly, don't be afraid to overdo the safety aspect, if you don't have an assistant, make sure you give mom and dad clear instructions on how to properly spot a baby!

Want more inspiration from Rachel Vanoven?

Visit her site here:

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