Why did you choose children as your specific subject matter?
I love working with kids. Children are so genuine and unapologetic – there’s no walls. They give you everything. Newborns, especially, are amazing, because you’re working with new life!
As a new mom, those first couple of weeks are fuzzy because you’re exhausted and I didn’t get to photograph my daughter as a newborn, and it’s really important to me to be able to give that to new parents – those little details, like little toes and little fingers and hairy ears.
What sets you apart?
With newborns and toddlers, you need a lot of patience. It’s not like regular photography with models that you can pose and adjust and command. You can’t just post a two year old! A lot of parents get caught up in the perfect image, but my question is “Is that them?” I really like to capture who they are at this very moment in time – whether that’s a little dirt on their face, or a smile – I want their essence to come across.
We forget sometimes that children, no matter how young, have their own personalities. Any parent can tell you that – even newborns have their own unique way of being them. As a photographer, my goal is to capture that – whatever it may be.
You have a boutique studio – what does that entail?
I consider us a boutique style portrait studio because we’re low volume and high quality. I only photograph one session per day. It’s all individually tailored, and not rushed. It’s important to me to give each client something that’s really personalized to them – an entire experience that leaves them feeling really accommodated for.
How do you customize the experience for each client?
We have a pre-session discussion about everything, from their favorite colors, down to what props they’d like to use. Each newborn and each family will have their own idea of what they want, and I take those ideas and put them into action in the best way possible.
You have a toddler of your own, do you use her as a little subject as well?
Absolutely! One of my biggest regrets, though, is that I don’t have newborn pictures of her. That’s such a hectic time for families – you’re not sleeping, you’re dealing with crying, and you’re in a constant state of awe that you brought this precious little thing into the world – and then suddenly a few months have passed.
I really wish I had those pictures, of the first few days or months of my daughter’s life – but that’s what makes me want to give it to other moms.
As an Astoria resident herself, Shawn is offering an exclusive offer to any Astoria residents: 10% off any session for all of 2015 – you just have to mention Give Me Astoria!.