Redefine | Timeless featuring Grace Hill Photography



“There is only one sun. We can’t all claim to only have one way to use the light, but we can REDEFINE how we choose to express it. “

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Why are you passionate about this topic?
Where to begin?! For as long as I can remember, I’ve been naturally drawn to fashion and decor that have classic and elegant elements, with a slightly vintage flair. Today, I can clearly see how that natural inclination manifested itself in my art from the beginning, and how it influenced the subsequent development of my specific brand and photography style. Primarily a maternity and newborn photographer, I tend to style all of my sessions with a timeless elegance, creating heirloom artwork for mamas and their families that I hope will be as relevant 100 years from now as it is today.

When did you first learn this technique? Or, when did you first realize you liked this topic?
I don’t know that this is a technique or style that I learned anywhere specifically…I think it’s been more of an extension of my personality and personal style that I’ve allowed to infiltrate the brand I’ve worked to build as a high-end newborn and maternity photographer. Certainly there are other artists and styles that I admire and that I definitely think have inspired my creativity, growth, and approach today, two HUGE favorites being Erin Tole Photography and Jenny Cruger Photography. But I think some of the biggest drivers in the development my specific photography style have been 1) learning to stop listening to the negative voices of fear and inadequacy, and 2) challenging myself to look less at what everyone else is doing, and be true to what I personally find inspiring, beautiful, and uniquely “me” when styling a session.

What are the tips you would share with anyone trying to achieve this technique?
If an elegant and timeless photography style is something you’re striving toward, consider a few tips to help guide a re-branding process:
1) First, consider creating a handy dandy Pinterest board. This is your brainstorming and soul searching step, so pin away! Pin clothing, decor, poses, fashion, etc. that speak to you and that all embody the brand you’re hoping to develop for your business. This board will be an invaluable source of inspiration and launching pad in the development/tweaking of your brand. Are you seeing a lot of neutrals, creams, grays, muted pinks, golds, lace, soft textures, for example? Maybe those would be great elements to then pull from for a revamped web design, logo, business card, etc.

2) Do a few portfolio building sessions for free, where you style every last detail of the session, particularly wardrobe, until you get a few sessions completed that perfectly reflect the ideal look you’re going for. Then, place these images all over your website, facebook, and other social media and marketing outlets, and remove previous work that doesn’t look consistent with the vision you’re building. This will help attract your new ideal clients, who value this particular style of photography.

3) Consider investing in a few articles of clothing to begin building your “studio wardrobe” that you can make available to your mama and baby clients. Do they love the dress that mama wore in the last session you posted, or the romper baby wore in the last milestone session you blogged? If it’s something you own in your wardrobe line for your business, you can make it available to other mamas and babies, or you can encourage them to shop for something similar. Then you’re shooting the look that you love and that reflects your brand, and mama clients have some of the headache and guesswork taken out of the very time consuming process of selecting wardrobe for their session. I have a very extensive line that I’ve developed over the years that, nine times out of ten, my clients pull from for their session. So I get to shoot the look that I love, my portraits look consistent with my overall brand, and clients seek me out specifically because they want that “look” in their artwork. Many even tell me they want to book specifically because they want to wear the clothes in my studio closet! :)

4) For newborn sessions, go back to your pinterest board of inspiration, and then shop for a few key pieces you can incorporate into future sessions, pieces that look like they would fit with the look you have going on in your pinterest board. The right layering pieces, posing blankets, wraps, tiebacks, hats, and bonnets can all help create that soft, simple elegance you may be seeking in your newborn sessions. And you don’t have to spend a ton of money on these items. Some of my very favorite items I pull into my sessions are scarves from Target that I use as wraps, blankets from Home Goods, or even lace or tulle I’ve cut off the bottom of old dresses or skirts! Be creative and you’ll start finding inspiration in the most unusual places. :)

5) If you have a studio, even if it’s a small room in your home that you’ve converted into a studio, consider decorating it with textures, colors and furniture that reinforce that airy, timeless elegance you seek in your portraits. I have a tiny home studio, maybe 10 x 15 square feet. My walls are painted eggshell from Sherwin Williams, but there are an endless variety of wonderful neutral creams and grays that would make an excellent backdrop for the timeless, elegant studio. Think about how your curtains/sheers can also reflect that feel. I have simple cream sheers from Target hanging over my large studio windows, with a layer of tulle strips clipped on over top of the sheers, that pool into fluffy billows on the floor for a little extra softness and elegance in my portraits. Consider a bed, sofa, or futon that you can layer with vintage quilts, soft textured blankets, and ruffled, neutral pillows to create an elegant feel in your maternity and baby milestone sessions in studio.

6) Take a good hard look at your post processing, and ways you can bring your vision to life in post. For example, I tend to go for a fairly clean, warm edit that has a creamy feel, the finishing touch to my timeless, elegant styling of the session. The majority of my post processing happens in Adobe Camera Raw where I have developed a preset that gets applied to every session (and tweaked as needed), so that everything looks consistently “me” if that makes sense. One of the greatest compliments I get is when someone tells me they knew an image in their newsfeed was mine before they even saw my name. That kind of consistency and individuality in your finished images goes a long way in cementing your brand!

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About the photographer:

A natural light photographer specializing in bellies and babies, I serve mommas-to-be and their families in Houston, Texas and the surrounding areas. When I’m not behind the camera, I can be found playing super hero in the backyard with my two little boys, helping them catch frogs, kissing boo boos, eating sushi, or antiquing. I love Christmas, rainy days, and anything with cream, lace and soft textures!

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