Kathleen Hawkins and her husband and partner Jeff Hawkins operate Jeff Hawkins Photography, a successful, fully digital high-end wedding and portrait photography studio in Longwood, FL. Kathleen holds her Photographic Craftsman degree and earned a masters in business administration. She previously taught business courses for a Florida university. She has also served as president of the Wedding Professionals of Central Florida.
Kathleen and Jeff are coauthors of Professional Marketing & Selling Techniques for Digital Wedding Photographers (2nd ed.; 2006) and Professional Techniques for Digital Wedding Photography (2nd ed., 2004), both published by Amherst Media. Kathleen is the author of The Bride's Guide to Wedding Photography (2003), Marketing & Selling Techniques for Digital Portrait Photography (2005), and Digital Photography for Children's and Family Portraiture (2nd ed., 2008), all from Amherst Media. Kathleen and Jeff are both very active in the photography speaking circuit and take pride in their impact in the industry and in the community.
Personal Satisfaction. To Kathleen, pregnancy is beautiful, and capturing that moment in time is priceless. She says many clients feel self-conscious about their swollen ankles and stretch marks, and that seeing the joyful expression on their faces when they realize how Kathleen and Jeff have captured their inner and outer beauty and their joy about their pregnancy is the most satisfying aspect of pregnancy photography. "It is more rewarding than words can express," states Kathleen.
Technical Tips. Kathleen and Jeff always work with an assistant or make certain someone else (husband or family member) is present during a maternity session. They feel that maternity sessions are intimate, and you should never photograph the client alone.
Like many of the other photographers profiled, Kathleen and Jeff also use a large softbox—the Larson 4x6 Soffbox—for their studio maternity sessions. They favor using a 70-200L f/2.8 lens or the 85L f/1.2 lens set at f/8 with their Canon 5D.
Kathleen and Jeff use sheer fabrics from www.coleandcompany.com to wrap around the mom-to-be and create an elegant, soft background. They
This image, entitled Belly Basics, is a simple classic maternity portrait, where you focus in on the side view of the belly. To capture this image, Jeff and Kathleen created a silhouette, lighting the subject from the side with a kicker light placed behind her.
► PROFESSIONAL REFLECTION
'[Pregnancy portraiture] is more rewarding than words can express." —Kathleen Hawkins also suggest that you analyze the mother's comfort level to determine what poses you will be able to do, and try creating a series of signature poses to brand your portrait style and look.
Marketing. Kathleen's marketing efforts began with the implementation of her Lifetime Portrait Program. The program permits their wedding clients (who receive a complimentary membership) and portrait clients (to whom membership is available with a purchase) to receive complimentary portrait sessions for their lifetime. Dates, times, and locations are subject to availability and are determined at Kathleen and Jeff's discretion. These sessions typically begin with an engagement session, then move to a wedding shoot. A maternity session is often scheduled some time later.
Kathleen and Jeff promote their lifetime client concept by showing maternity images, newborn portraits, a wedding portraits, and family portraits in displays presented in their community.
Kathleen and Jeff also use Marathon Press's Marketing Partnership Program for direct mail targeted at parents-to-be within a specific income range living within specific zip codes. With the help of their customer loyalty program, their portrait client base increased by 28 percent in 2006, and 78 percent of their wedding clients booked a maternity session.
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