We want to congratulate you one more time for winning our 5th Annual International Photo Competition in Newborn Photography – NEWBORNS 2017!
Q: How did you feel when you receive the happy news?
A: Excited and grateful :-).
Q: Can you tell us more about winning photograph?
A: I had this idea in my mind for a few months before the shoot. I must say, it was not easy! As you can imagine, trying to coordinate two sleeping babies and several sleeping ducks was quite the job. These babies belong to a friend of mine, and she was able to get her toddler to sleep first so that I could get him in position and posed while she fed the youngest one. The toddler was the easiest baby of the bunch! Once the newborn was asleep, I posed him sleeping on his brother and took a “safe shot” of the two of them sleeping together. I had to move very quickly, as I did not want the babies getting too warm sleeping one on top of the other in their knits. Once I had the shot of the two babies together, I removed the toddler and photographed the ducks sleeping on the newborn baby’s back. I then merged the two shots together in PS.
Q: How do you like the winner’s gallery this year?
A: It is a wonderful gallery. 🙂
Q: If you didn’t take the first place in Professional Photographer Category and if you had a role of the judge, who would be the winner in your opinion?
A: Ooooh, this is a tough one. There were so many images to love. I was really drawn to Crystal Mercredi’s image, “Sacred Things”. It was full of meaning and cultural relevance.
Q: You’ve been part of our community for a quite some time now. We had a chance to see and feature your marvelous work so many times so far, but can you tell us more about Cassandra?
A: Thank you :-). Hmmmm, what can I share about me? I was born and raised on a farm like no other. It was the most stunningly beautiful land. My parents made a living from growing many varieties of fruits, flowers, shrubs, and trees. So, I guess you could say that my love of all things nature started very young. I think my upbringing has had an enormous impact on my work. Even though I now live in the city, my heart remained in the forest. This is where you will almost always find me shooting. Even when I take my camera indoors, I am always trying to bring nature in with me.
Q: When did you start doing photography? How did you decide that you want to be one of the world’s most famous newborn photographers?
A: This question made me chuckle because I really do not consider myself one of the world’s most famous newborn photographers. I never had any intention of being a photographer at all. I have a master’s degree in psychology. Psychology was my passion for many years. But, life had other plans for me.
I lost my daughter, Ava Maria when I was working on my master’s degree. She was born into the world without ever taking her first breath. I cannot articulate the immense sorrow that followed. But, I can say that I was broken and living in darkness. I needed something to help me find the light again. I had taken a six-month leave of absence from my master’s program. During this time, I bought my first camera. I thought it might benefit me to have something to force me to get out of the house and look for beauty in the world again. So, this is what I did. I guess that is where it all began. I just did not know it at the time.
Q: Where did you learn the art of newborn photography?
A: I have taken workshops over the years and had lots of practice early on with my own babies 🙂
Q: Who were your role models in newborn photography?
A: There are so many newborn photographers that I admire. I think Luisa Dunn was one of my earliest obsessions. Hehe. I remember seeing her work for the first time years and years ago and I was just blown away by her creativity and use of colour.
Q: How did you develop your recognizable whimsical style?
A: This is a tough question to answer. I have gone through my oldest work and this style was there right from the beginning. Right from day one, before I had any training, I was editing whimsical photos and finding my inspiration in sleeping babies (before sleeping older babies were a thing). I have refined my work over the years, but it is so interesting to look back and see that “my roots” have not changed.
Q: Where do you find all that cute wardrobe for the tiny models you are photographing?
A: I have most of it custom made. I loooooove handmade traditional knits on babies and I am always coming up with new ideas for outfits. Luckily, I have access to some very talented knitters that are able to bring my ideas to life for me. I have such respect for those that can knit. It is an artform in itself.
Q: Can you tell us with which photo equipment do you work? (camera body and lenses)
A: Of course. I use the Canon 5D Mark III right now. I have the 200 2.0, 70-200 2.8, 135 2.0, 85 1.2, 50 1.2, 24-70 2.8, 14 2.0, and the 100 2.8 macro. I tend to use my longer focal lengths most outdoors (200, 135, and 85) and my wider lenses indoors (24-70 and 50).
Q: What about your editing style? Which photo editing software you are using?
A: I do a bit in ACR and the bulk of my editing in PS.
Q: You are very popular and followed photographer on social media. It seems like you successfully incorporated social media image with your high-quality work. This is something that many good photographers struggle with. Can you tell us how you managed to build such a strong social media presence?
A: Oh my goodness, I feel like social media is a challenge for all of us. I really do not have the answers when it comes to social media. That being said, for myself, I strive to share high-quality content, engage with those that so graciously support my work, and be personally congruent in my work.
Q: What’s your opinion on current newborn photography scene?
A: There is an enormous amount of talent out there and so many different options for newborn photos (documentary, lifestyle, studio, fine-art, composites, exc.). I have a 15-year-old and this level of choice did not exist when he was little! I think it is wonderful.
Q: The quote you live life or life principles you live by?
A: This is a tough one to answer. I have never really thought about a guiding principle. But, I guess if I had to choose, I would say that I have learned to trust my own inner voice. It seems to always know the right thing to do.
Q: What inspires you?
A: My children. Everything.
Q: What would be your advice for other photographers?
A: Do what you love and be yourself. Life is too short for anything else.