Today we are introducing you Mascha Greuter from The Netherlands. She won the 1st place in the Professional Photographer Category at the 2nd annual international contest in Newborn Photography – NEWBORNS 2014. Mascha won best score in the entire competition and became The Grand Winner. In addition to winning the contest, she also received $500 Cash Award.
Q: Hi Mascha! We are so happy to have you here! How does it feel to win the competition?
Sometimes I still can not believe this really happened, but I feel very honored to have my work recognized by such a talented jury. It wouldn’t have been possible to become a newborn photographer in the first place without the support of my great husband and my sweet little boy as they both constantly help me remember why I find life so worth living and documenting a new life for that same reason. I love them both with all my heart.
Q: Your photograph “A soulmates connection” has just melted the hearts of our Judging Panel.Can you tell us more about this photograph and entire session?
The session took place on location at the clients’ home. In contrast to the beautiful day we had when we did their maternity session, this time, it was a rainy day. They gave me the freedom to experiment with poses and props I want. I got their trust, which usually leads to my favorite images. I started of by posing the baby alone and finished with posing with the parents. But I don’t have a standard routine and I always go with the flow.
Q: If there was one thing you would want us to know about you, what would it be?
I regret almost every day because I don’t have such a beautiful photo like this of my own baby boy with my husband and me.
Q: Where you were born and raised?
In a small town just above Amsterdam.
Q: What inspired you to be a photographer?
The realization of how powerful an image can be, and that they can create everlasting memories.
Q: Are you formally taught or self-taught?
Both I guess. It started in the classroom learning the fundamentals of photography. Once I knew I wanted to specialize in newborn photography I did a combination of workshops, books and online forums. All this helped me to get where I am, as well as learning on my own and deciding what my style is and what editing I like.
Q: Are there any photographers you admire?
There are so many outstanding photographers out there… we all need people to inspire us. Many of them inspire me for different reasons. Some are very good with the technical aspect. From them I learn how to see the light and use it to it’s fullest potential. Others are excellent in running the business side of their profession, like Ana Brandt or Julia Kelheller for example. So I just take bits and pieces of inspiration from here and there and I apply the knowledge and inspiration into my own photography to make it 100% me.
Q: What has been the biggest source of inspiration in your work?
The birth of my son in June 2012 made me realize how beautiful a new life is, and how fast these precious moments go away. That’s when I knew I wanted to capture this emotion and preserve it forever.
Q: Do you work on location or do you have your own studio?
I work on location at the clients’ homes.
Q: How long was the transition from hobbyist to paid professional?
Longer than I anticipated. When I was still working in a completely different field as a research technician at the department, Molecular Cell Biology and Immunology my love for photography started to grow. That’s why I decided to do a basic coarse in photography at the “fotoacademie” in Amsterdam. After succeeding I wanted to explore this path further and took a leap of faith. Since I knew I would learn more in practice then in school I quitted my job and arranged an internship with a local photographer. He taught me many aspects about being a photographer and an entrepreneur for which I am very grateful. We were a great team for a couple of years. And it wasn’t until the birth of my own son that I knew in what direction to take my own photography career. In the spring of 2013 I started building my portfolio and not much later my career took off.
Q: How would you define your style?
Natural, pure and timeless.
Q: Tell us more about the newborn photography market in The Netherlands. Is it developed? Do you find it hard to get the clients for this genre of photography?
Newborn photography in the Netherlands is still in an early stage of existence. There’s still a long way to go to professionalize the industry and it has been unclear where one could find a professional association to join. There were a lot of scattered associations related to photography in the Netherlands who finally decided to fuse into one association: DuPho since January 2015. Let’s hope they can provide a platform to help in this process. At this point, it’s not difficult to find clients. It seems that there is a demand for this kind of photography. I do realize that I do not make optimal use of all resources available to acquire new customers though. From the moment I started running my business, I am balancing where to put in my time and energy. Since clients came into the door regularly I decided on focusing on different aspect like developing my technique, posing, editing and style. But I do realize that my online presence needs some urgent attention in the near future.
Q: Nikon or Canon, other? Favorite lens?
Canon. I love both very much: 50mmL and 24-70mmL
Q: RAW or jpg?
RAW definitely! Although I try to nail my image in camera, it’s always good to have the possibility to fix some things afterwards, if needed.
Q: What is the best advice you’ve received about photography over the years?
Specialize. People don’t want to hire someone who can do something for a little bit, they want an expert.
Q: What is your biggest challenge when photographing?
Handling difficult lightning situations and setting-up in the small Amsterdam apartments.
Q: What has been your biggest accomplishment as a photographer?
Having the guts to actually become one.
Q: How important for every photographer is to participate in quality photography contests?
For me, it’s a great way to see where I stand comparing to other photographers and to get feedback from my peers. It makes me very conscious to want to keep growing and improving. It’s motivating.
Q: What is your message to other photographers?
Follow your own path at your own pace.