After becoming a mother to my sweet Adam, documenting memories has been a very important task, this is why I started this blog in the first place. Time was/ is slipping through my fingers while I watch my baby boy becoming this big kid, and knowing that yesterday will never come back is a very sad feeling that makes it very hard to enjoy the “now”. So that’s why I write! I created this little window to take me back on time every time I needed to. With the blog came the need to take plenty of pictures, to make the posts complete. I take an immense pleasure taking plenty of pictures everyday, because I know how happy it makes me to scroll through my phone and find these forgotten and long gone but very much cherished moments. I am no professional photographer though, but I try my best ;), and you can imagine my excitement every time I plan a professional photo-shoot, with photographers who capture magical moments and transform them into forever lasting memories. However, personally, I find it very hard to be myself in front of a camera, in front of a stranger who wants me to look at the camera, smile, pose and I don’t know what else!!! I feel so awkward, and I suddenly don’t know what to do with my arms, hands and …. Myself in general. I also find it very hard to “act natural” how can I act natural??? Some photographers though have this special gift of being almost invisible, which makes you almost forget their presence. One of these special gifted photographer is Makenzie! I worked with Makenzie once and I watched closely how people were slowly feeling relaxed and themselves under her gaze. I also saw how warm and sweet she was which makes you fee like you’ve known her for a very long time. So when I had a chance to be one of her “models” I couldn’t wait to see the results!
We invited Makenzie over to take some pictures of me and my son, and we were so excited. She instantly connected with my son, who wanted her to take a picture of “Zang” his favorite toy, to which Makenzie happily obliged, and Adam couldn’t be happier! She told us to go on with our day, and just do what we usually do, which is a little weird, because we usually have no audience in normal days, but we still pretended that we were alone. Few minutes later, Adam and I were all over the place, reading books and doing our morning school work, we couldn’t even hear Makenzie’s footsteps! She was gracefully moving doing her own thing, without asking us to pose, smile, move shoulders or chins! And guess what: It was AMAZING!! When she finally said “I think I’ve got plenty of pictures”, we were pleasantly surprised. Few days later I received a folder full of beauty, magic, and love! The pictures were so amazing! She managed to capture more than just a mother and her son taking few pictures together, she captured feelings too. The pictures were so vivid and alive in a very beautiful way. She has this unique style in taking the most mundane pose and turning it into an unforgettable moment! I will happily share some of these treasures with you , in this post, and you can see for yourself.
I also had the chance to ask Makenzie few questions, to know a little more about her, and what she does. Here is what we talked about:
First please tell us a little bit about yourself? Who you are, where are you from?
I am a wife and mom to two amazing girls, 4.5 and 2.5 years. We moved from Washington DC to Bahrain last July, so we’ve been here for almost a year and a half. We are really enjoying living here and hope to stay for another few years! Before becoming a photographer, I was a teacher for 4 years, and then worked for a textbook publisher as a sales manager for nine years.
How did your relationship with the camera start?
When my oldest daughter was born 4.5 years ago, like most moms, I wanted plenty of pictures of her so I bought my first DSLR camera. I quickly became interested in going beyond just the basics of what my camera could do and read all I could online about different lenses, settings, and so on. Lots of practice, reading online tutorials, and watching YouTube videos about editing got me to here.
How long have you been taking professional pictures for?
I did my first paid shoot in October 2016. Before that I had taken photos for friends’ families a few times, but never as a paid job. With the encouragement of friends, I decided to start the business about a year ago and started regularly taking clients.
Do you have a favorite style, field, things to take pictures of?
My style is lifestyle and a bit of documentary. I like to do minimal posing, and gravitate towards very natural images. I love working with families. We are all so busy with work, school, and other activities: how often as families are we all in the same place to just relax and hangout with no distractions? I feel so honored that I get to share that together time with my clients’ families and to document it. I love sessions that are joy-filled with lots of laughter. I want clients to look back and not just say “the photos are nice” but also think “that session was a lot of fun!”
I love to take pictures, yet I hate to pose, would you like to give me and the other mamas tips on how to look great on camera?
Relax, relax, relax. Relax and be yourself. Connect with your child, and that emotion will be the first thing you notice in the photo and not what you’re wearing or if your hair was perfect.
And how to get more natural pictures?
See the above answer 🙂 Focus on connection, having fun, laughing together. Focus on the people around you and forget about the camera.
Many moms love photography; what advice would you give them in case they want to pursue a carrier in this domain?
Take pictures every day! The more you practice, the better you will get. The more you’ll figure out what you like and don’t like. You’ll start to notice which settings on your camera give you the results you are looking for. There are lots of great free resources online. Use those to your advantage, but nothing can replace 1:1 instruction and mentorship. I love working 1:1 with moms to help them learn how to take better photos day to day of their children with whatever camera they have available. Besides lots of practice, also follow photographers whose work you love and notice similarities in the images you connect with. It will improve your eye for what makes a great image.
How do you see yourself and your photography in few years from now?
I would love to start doing more documentary sessions. Right now most sessions I do are at locations around Bahrain. I’d really love to add in some at-home documentary sessions. Much like the time I spent at your house, a documentary session means I come to a client’s home and take photos of the family spending time together doing a favorite activity together, whether it’s snuggling on the couch together with stack of books or making breakfast together on a weekend morning.
How do you balance your work, and duties as a mama of two?
This is a great question and something I’ve been working on the last month. In this first year in business I was saying yes to doing sessions at all days and times. I was in business building mode and didn’t want to turn down any opportunity. Over the last couple months though, I started to resent weekends when I was gone all day long or weekdays where I’d miss dinner rushing back from a sunset session. So a few weeks ago I came up with a list of specific “yes” days and times when I will take sessions, and “no” days and times when I won’t take sessions. I do a lot of my editing and computer work in the mornings while my oldest is at school, and in the evenings after my girls go to bed.
Do you do maternity and birth photos?
Yes! I love, love, love all things baby and motherhood. I would like to be doing even more maternity sessions. I have not shot a birth yet but I really would like to. I recently put together an investment guide for birth photography so that I will be ready when more inquiries come to me.
Any advice on which camera to buy, to take normal (not professional) pictures?
Oh this is a tough one! There are so many good entry level cameras on the market. I started on a Nikon D3200 and I still think that is an excellent series to start with. (I now shoot on a Nikon D750 for all client sessions.) Canon makes a comparable entry-level series which is well regarded. If you travel a lot, check out Fuji mirrorless cameras which are lighter and more compact and produce fantastic images. I travel with a Fuji XT10.
What are your favorite spots to take pictures at, in Bahrain?
Bahrain Fort is probably the most popular location with clients. I’ve been loving the Sheikh Isa House in Muharraq lately. Al Jasra Handicrafts Center – when the shops are closed – is a green-filled hidden gem (although the watchman there last time didn’t look pleased I was taking photos ;)). The Royal Camel Farm is super fun. The grounds of the National Museum are filled with beautiful and interesting architecture. Tree of Life is still on my wish list, haven’t done a session there yet. The Bahrain skyline over the water at Prince Khalifa Park, off Hidd Bridge, is amazing at sunset. I could go on and on! I’ve really enjoyed exploring all over Bahrain so far.
I Hope you enjoyed this super cool interview with Makenzie, and the super cool pictures too! And guess what……That’s not it….. We have a great giveaway for you guys!! Check out my Instagram account and follow the steps, to win a fantastic mini-session with the very talented Makenzie!!!! YAAAAAAAY!!!