By Oscar Perez
Rebecca Garcia, a Newborn Photographer, took her passion for capturing everyday moments with her phone to a full blown photography career in a matter of 5 years! I met up with her during the month of May to talk about her journey through the photography world!
Oscar: Thank you Rebecca for meeting up with me! Let’s get started! How would you describe who you are?
Rebecca: Well, first and foremost I am a mom who decided to start documenting my kids’ life by taking photos of them since they were newborns. This is where the love for doing this professionally came from and it grew into my career. I am now a Professional Newborn Photographer.
How did you start this journey with photography?
I always knew I liked photography. Back in the day, I had my point and shoot camera everywhere I went! I have always loved taking photos I just didn’t know to what extend I could actually do photography until I became a mom.
Did you go to school to study photography?
I studied psychology and once I graduated I still felt lost, stuck in between “what do I do now?” and “Do I go for my masters?” It was during this time that I was was blessed with my first son, Nathan. When he was born I was taking photos of him all the time with my phone. Then it got to the point where I wanted professional photos and so I picked up the camera!
When was the first time you remember being creative?
When I was young I would draw all the time. I used to paint all the time! I had an easel! Hahaha! I always felt I needed a creative outlet and photography came in to do just that! I started creating headbands before photography to get this creativity out of me.
How did the headband business lead to photography?
I was creating these headbands that photographers from around the state wanted to buy for their photo sessions and I thought I can take up photography. I had no money and I needed money to buy my first camera. I sold my motorcycle for $1,500 and bought supplies to make headbands. I didn’t know what I was doing, it was just happening! It was the money I made from this that was used to buy my first DSLR Camera. A Nikon 3200.
Awesome! What was the first thing you did when you got your camera?
I started photographing my kids and my headbands. I posted the pictures [online] and little by little people started asking me to take pictures of their kids. I had only carried two babies in my life and they were mine! Hahaha so I was like “no..no.. I can’t. I only photograph my kids.”
So how did you get going on that opportunity?
I had a friend who pushed me a lot and I’m grateful she did! I took pictures of her kid and that’s how it got started. Once I posted the first photo I kept on going! I don’t quit!
I love that you were jumping into these opportunities! Did you always have this entrepreneurial spirit?
Honestly, I don’t remember but I can tell you that when I was in a motorcycle club there was no nice tee shirts for girls. There were a few of us female riders and I wanted to make something nice for us. So I did. I made 50 shirts and sold them at $20 a piece within 2 weeks! That was the first time I did something that was entrepreneurial.
What was the first service you offered as a photographer?
My first services started with newborn photography. I’m not going to lie, I did try everything else to see what I liked.
What advice would you give to someone thinking of pursuing photography as a profession?
Gain your experience. Find out if you really like the type of photography you will be doing. Don’t do it for the money. Do it because you love doing it! Don’t give up! Keep going! You need to do you! Find your style! It’s the hardest thing but the most rewarding thing when you find yourself. Be genuine!
How do you realize you like a style? I’ve seen your work go from newborn photography to family portraits.
This past year I started with families! I always stayed away from photographing families because I didn’t want it to be boring for them. Like the typical “Smile. Look at the camera.” Lately, I tell my clients, “We are going to take traditional photos but also be prepared to play with your kids!” Those photos of them being genuine with their kids have been the best photos I have taken! It tells the story of who they really are! A loving family!
I can say you ‘photograph love’!
Yes! My latest photo shoots were the ones for Mother’s Day. I didn’t call them “Mommy and me” sessions rather I called them “Motherhood” session. This is because that’s the truth behind this role as a mother! Genuine smiles!
Let’s talk about obstacles. Do you remember the first obstacle you faced when becoming a photographer?
Yes, learning to work my camera and nobody wanting to help. Also, being on the smallest budget ever!
How did you get past that obstacle?
I watched a million YouTube videos and read the manual! That’s how I learned to work my camera. I attended newborn photography trainings. The trainings are important to me because I want my clients to feel comfortable in me handling their babies.
Did you ever want to quit the first year?
Yes. Sometimes I got some babies that did not cooperate and I wondered if I was photographing the right way.
How did you keep going?
I kept going by getting through it. Now I just go with the flow. The “Baby calls the Shots!”. The shoot flows from there and it has worked out for me that way. I want the parents to be happy.
What’s the toughest thing about being a photographer?
Having patience for the creative process. You can’t force it. I cannot force myself to sit down and edit when I’m not feeling creative.
Do you have a routine for cultivating that feeling to create?
I do. At night. When it’s quiet. I get more done. I’m focused on the photo and feel the mood. It goes from there…
Do you work by yourself? Have you had assistants?
I had two assistants for a short period but I work better alone.
What’s your inspiration for the different photography sessions you have during the year?
I don’t like the sessions to look cheesy. I want them to look real. I find inspiration all around. I used to think “we need to plan and set up a photo” but you really don’t. You can let it flow.
I love that. Yeah, you have to let it flow! How do stay organized?
I keep a calendar. I carry it around with me all day! I have to have it on paper. Not digital!
Do you schedule time off? For yourself?
Yes, Mondays! I do need the time with my kids! I have the first two weeks off in June to kickoff summer!
Are you excited about something that’s coming up here in the near future?
Yes! These past two weeks I made the jump from working in my home studio to getting a new studio. It’s time. It’s time to grow.
How do you know it’s time to grow?
I feel it. I need something challenging.
What’s the vision behind getting a bigger studio?
I want to teach photography but it’s not for aspiring professional photographers. I want to start by teaching moms! There are tons of moms like myself who have bought cameras but don’t know how to use them. I want to start there so they can learn and take nice pictures of their kids. You know, photographing everyday life.
When do you move in?
We are trying to get this going by next week [May 20th]
Who is we?
My sons and I. They are such a big part of this journey that I asked them about moving to a new studio. We made this decision as a family!
That’s beautiful! I can’t wait to visit the studio! Where can the readers find your work?
They can find me on Instagram, Facebook, Website and now at the new studio. My phone is on my pages! Anybody can contact me! I’m accessible.
Great! Rebecca thank you for sharing your story with me today, I know you will inspire people to chase their dreams! You have taken risks and you have made your vision a reality! I look forward to seeing all your future work!