Inspired, A Very Special Project | Mandy Haber Photography
Jumping right into our next awesome photographer in our Inspired series we have Mandy Haber Photography. The first thing that really jumped out to me was the easy connection she shares with her clients and dreamy gorgeous imagery. She is a new favorite of mine so I am completely honored to get to show her off here!!
Hi Pretty Lady!
Lets get to know you! How would you describe yourself in three sentences?
I am loyal. I talk too much. I hate confrontation.
What sparked your passion for Photography?
I have always been interested. I bought my first film SLR when I was 19. I worked as an event photographer in college photographing fraternity/sorority parties. I took some classes and learned the basics of film. I bought my first dSLR in 2004 but never took it seriously. After my son was born, I started to really learn and try to be a photographer. Once my daughter was born, I quit my day job and went full time with photography.
Whats in your camera bag?
Nikon d700, d300 (backup), F100 (film), 85mm 1.8G, 50mm 1.4G, 50mm 1.8D, 20mm 2.8, sb900 speed light
What Camera/Equipment did you start out with?
My first dSLR was a Nikon d70s. I started my business with a d300 and Tamron 28-75 2.8. I quickly decided I like primes and bought a 35mm 1.8 that I used exclusively for a while.
If you could only use one lens an entire session which one would you choose and why?
If I have the room, my 85mm 1.8 is my very favorite lens. The bokeh is so smooth and creamy. And it’s super sharp and super fast. But my 50mm 1.4 is my workhorse and I use it for probably 85% of my sessions.
What advice would go give to someone just beginning in photography and hoping to have a business of their own?
Do your research!!!! Find out every single thing that you need to do to run a business legally. Because it is overwhelming to have to backtrack and find out you’ve been doing something wrong. And price yourself for profit! There are tons of pricing calculators out there. Use them! Figure out what you need to charge to make money or you will burn out!
And just shoot what you love. You don’t have to be a jack of all trades if you don’t want to be. If you don’t love families, don’t shoot them. If you don’t love newborns, don’t shoot them. It will show in your work. And you book what you show, so show what you want to shoot!
Have FUN! Running a business is hard work. Outsource what you can so that you don’t lose the joy of the job.
Mandy was SO kind to share her starting out images!!!
What was your first official Photographer crush if you had one?
I am lucky enough to have lots of talented photographer friends. Alicia Gould actually got on a plane and flew from New Jersey to Alabama to photograph my family! That’s pretty cool!
What kind of photos do you like to take for just yourself when not working with clients?
Just of our everyday life. My kids playing and being themselves. I honestly don’t pick up my camera nearly enough outside of client sessions, but I am trying. I shoot most of our everyday on film these days.
If you could photograph absolutely anyone who would it be dead or alive?
That’s a hard one. I’d love to photograph my own kids with more patience.
Describe your style in 3 words.
timeless. connected. joyful.
Most embarrassing moment on a session would be?
Fortunately, I don’t have many embarrassing session stories. But I am terrible with names. Terrible. I am surprised that I remember my own kids’ names. So I am always terrified that I am going to call kids by the wrong name. I always just call the parents mom and dad!
Any challenges you have had to overcome to be where you are today?
Confidence. I am so hard on myself. I would never look at other’s work as critically as I do my own. I am also very socially awkward. I am still surprised that I am able to talk to clients at sessions without making a complete fool of myself.
Favorite time of day to shoot is?
Hands down, golden hour. The last 20 minutes of a sunset on the beach is just divine!
If you had to stop taking photos right now, what would you do instead?
I’d probably be an accountant somewhere.
Have you attended college or had any formal education in Photography?
I went to Troy State University for accounting, got an MBA, worked as an accountant for a local city. I have never had formal education in photography other than online classes.
What do you do to get your clients to relax with you?
I just talk to them. I am genuinely interested in my clients and their lives. I just ask them questions about their families, how the mom and dad met, etc. The dads will usually say at the end of the session that it wasn’t as painful as they thought it would be.
What are your photography related goals for 2013?
Stop comparing myself to other photographers. Remember that I have a voice that is unique and my clients come to me for a reason! I also started shooting some film in late 2012. I want to continue to experiment with film.
How do you push yourself to keep growing and learning? Any Big Aha! Moments?
I am always looking at ways to learn and improve. I have taken an advanced composition class at Clickin Moms. It really made me slow down and shoot with a purpose. And it frustrated me. And I think that’s awesome! I find that out of frustration often comes great growth. I’ve had a LOT of aha moments in my photography journey. One of the biggest was learning that I could shoot an entire family at f2.2 if I would just BACK UP and get them close to the same focal plane. That’s where the 85 comes in handy! Kelvin WB has also really been photography life changing for me.
I also do shoots for myself on occasion. I just find someone that fits the bill for what I want to shoot and offer them a session. It’s so freeing to not have the pressure of client expectations every once in a while.
Biggest Photography related insecurity?
Will clients continue to pay me for what I do?
Digital or Prints?
I like to sell prints. I do offer digital files, but it’s not my preference. I am always worried that digital files never get printed. Or if they do, that they are printed somewhere that ruins the images.
How do you set yourself apart from other local photographers?
I like to think my work sets me apart from other local photographers. But in this flooded market today, I just try to give all of my clients a one of a kind experience. I want my clients to understand that I value them and their business and that I am honored that they have chosen me to photograph their family! I hope it’s a one of a kind experience from first contact to delivery of their prints and products. And I do fun things, like branded koozies that I give out at beach sessions!
What do you think your next photography related investment will be?
I rented a 35mm 1.4 and now I want it!!!! I also want a medium formal film camera, so we will see what wins.
If you had to recommend ONE thing that a photographer needs in their camera bag what would that be?
If you are in business, a backup camera! The summer of 2011, I had to send in my d300 because it was not focusing properly. I didn’t have a decent backup at that point. I had to rent something while I sent my camera to Nikon. It worked out fine, but what if I had needed something before the rental could get here? What if my camera malfunctioned at a session? So now, I won’t go to a session without a backup.
What would you say your biggest muse is?
That’s a hard question for me. I think my family. I try to create images for my clients that I’d love to have of my own family. If that makes any sense!
Favorite Color: red
Favorite Season: fall – because it’s college football season!
Biggest Guilty Pleasure: I do love a Dairy Queen snickers blizzard
Pet Peeve: How much time do you have? Incorrect use of apostrophes drives me nutty!
Favorite Pandora Station: I think I am the only person in the world that hasn’t gotten hooked on Pandora.
Studio or On location: on location
What did you want to be when you grew up? an engineer. Then I found out you needed physics.
One thing no one knows about you is: I’m so chatty, I don’t know if there’s anything that nobody knows about me!!! Well, I did graduate #6 in my high school class (out of about 300) and for whatever reason, people are always surprised to hear that.
Pc or Mac: Mac
Lightroom Or Photoshop: Photoshop
Film or Digital: Digital for client work, film for personal but I am hoping to introduce some film into sessions in 2013
Props or No Props: very limited props
If you could travel anywhere it would be: Rome
Glass Half Empty or Half Full: As much as I hate to admit, probably half empty. But I am working on it.
Favorite photo ever taken: This is hard!!!! How can anyone choose just one?! But I guess it would have to be a film shot of my son sleeping. It was from my first roll of film in about 7 years. And it made me fall in love all over again!
Raw or Jpeg: RAW
Favorite Music to Edit to: usually the TV
Favorite Quote: ‘Be so good that they can’t ignore you’.
Most valued material possession: my wedding rings. I still love them 9.5 years later as much as I did the day I got them.
Processing Style: clean
Coffee or Tea: coffee – and lots of it
If you could photograph a Celebrity who would it be? I’d love to say Justin Timberlake. But I’d probably giggle like a little girl.
What kind of Camera bag do you rock? I have an ephiphanie ginger and a lowepro slingshot that I take to beach sessions because I don’t want my camera bag in the sand!