|Meg with her two girls and her favorite dolphin|
1. Tell me more about how you got into photography.
Honestly, I sort of fell into the business. I used to work for the zoo as a marine mammal trainer. When the Colts went to the Super Bowl, myself and some of my staff members worked together to make a video to help promote the zoo. It's not a fancy video in the least, but we started doing a series of videos to help promote the zoo and different aspects of our job:
In theory, I could have continued on with videography. But photography was much more suited to my interests, so thus began the spark. I'd always loved photography, always taken tons of pictures as a hobby, but never had any formal training. When I first began, the plan was to be primarily a wedding photographer so that I could just work one day per week and would still be able to stay at the zoo. (Because who would want to leave a job swimming with dolphins and petting walrus every day?!)
I went out and purchased my first DSLR camera and all of the gear I needed to get started in late 2007. In February of 2008 I began interning with a local photographer in the area, Stuart Meyer, who literally taught me everything I needed to know. How to shoot in manual, what equipment I needed, how to do formals, album design, lighting, EVERYTHING. He got me in touch with a larger company, Bello Romance Photography, so after I was finished interning with him I started working with Bello as a lead photographer.
After a year working with Bello, I began branching out on my own and soon had my business running full time. I continued working at the zoo and running my business until May 2010, when I left the zoo after the birth of my first daughter. I continued the photography business while being able to stay home with my daughter; it was the perfect solution.
2. Your nursing photos are beautiful! You've nursed both of your own two children. Please share more about your breastfeeding experiences.
I remember when I became pregnant with my oldest how scared I was to breastfeed. I came from a very breast-feeding friendly family; my mom breastfed all three of us (me and my siblings), my sister breastfeeds all of her children, my aunts breastfed, my grandmother breastfed. . . . I honestly felt a lot of pressure and worried I wouldn't succeed.
But with the pressure came a ton of support, which I soon realized how important that would be in my journey. Having my family, especially my mom and sister, there to support me, offer advice, answer questions, and assure me that "You DO have enough milk!" or "It is totally normal for them to eat for 3 straight hours every night!!" really is what made my breastfeeding story a successful one. I went from just wanting to make it past the first 6 months, to planning on going to 1 year, to nursing a toddler and researching tandem nursing when I become pregnant with my second.
Now, it is such a huge part of my life. I love it, I think it's such an amazing gift we can give our children AND ourselves, and can't imagine doing anything else!
3. How do you combine your work with mothering two young children?
Hahaha. Sometimes I do feel like I'm teetering on the edge!! As every mother knows, life is a balancing act. Over the past 3 1/2 years, I've learned through trials and failures (and some successes) what works and what doesn't.
I quickly learned more than 15 weddings a year is too much. Scheduling sessions both days of our weekend is now a "no-no". I work when the girls are asleep, which leaves me very little time to myself but that's what I do to get things done! I force myself to NOT work one day/week, otherwise I would go crazy!! Luckily, I am my own boss, so I get to pick my schedules, I set the hours, and tweak it to suit our family. It's still not a perfectly running machine, but it's getting there :)
4. What are your favorite events/people/things to photograph?
Newborns! Lifestyle photography newborns, whenever possible. I do love the newborn posed photos, but what I REALLY love are the pictures in between the pictures. When mom stops to nurse. When dad and big brother are playing in the corner. When grandma is snuggling with her new grand baby while everyone else is getting ready. Weddings are a big, important, and magical day. But seeing the dynamics of a family with a fresh new family member is beyond words.
5. Tell us about the most unusual or exotic location you've done photoshoots in.
I had a wedding this summer in Turks and Caicos -- it was beautiful!! Such a tough job, huh?? I also did an engagement shoot at the Motor Speedway and we had a special guide who took us to all of the coolest locations on the track. Those are probably my two favorite :)