by Orlando Moms Guide The Orlando Mom’s Guide has been a reliable resource since 2008. A Facebook-based tool, the Mom’s Guide is written by a local mom of four and exists to take some of the guesswork out of raising children by providing unbiased reviews of local businesses, timely information about family-friendly events, and helpful encouragement for hard-working moms like you. Find us online at www.facebook.com/
Of all our reader polls, “Best Photographer” always gets the most traffic, proving that Central Florida moms love their photogs – the patient, artistic, creative people who manage to capture the precious faces of our children and families. We recently asked our readers to help us create a list of the 15 best photographers in town, and the results are below.
This list is printed in alphabetical order and includes the photographers who received the greatest number of votes during our voting period. As with all our “Best Of,” this list is 100 percent reader-generated and has not been created by endorsements or compensation of any kind.
Amanda Kern Photography www.amandakern.com
Amy Smith Photography www.amysmithphoto.com
Frazier Foto www.frazierfoto.com
Jessica Liane Photography www.jessicalianephotography.com
Karen Leslie Photography www.karenleslie.com
LH Hernandez Photography www.lh-photo.com
A Life’s Work Photography (Stephanie or Jennifer)
Lilly & Lilly Photography www.lillyandlillyphotography.com
Lisa Goodwin Photography www.lisagphoto.com
Lynda Payne Photography www.lyndapaynephotography.com
Rebecca Jill Photography www.rebeccajillphotography.com
Sari Underwood Photography www.sariunderwoodphoto.com
Shea Rose Photography www.shearosephotography.com
Simply Shelby Photography www.simplyshelbyphoto.com
Stephanie Wind Photography www.stephaniewindphotography.com
(see the digital copy of this issue of Babyourself Magazine here!)
In addition to listing out your picks for the top photographers, Babyourself sat down with a few to learn what inspires them and how they became a professional picture taker…
Amy Smith (www.amysmithphoto.com)
Your motto? “What would you attempt if you knew you would not fail?” That’s what I told myself 10 years ago when I dove head first into starting my business. I knew I belonged somewhere with a camera in my hand, doing what I love, so I jumped and didn’t look back. Thankfully it’s worked out quite well.
Describe the moment when you said, “I want to be a photographer… like for real!” I’ve always loved photography and pouring over old family photos. I had a full-time career as a newlywed but when we were ready to start a family, I wanted to do something that would give me flexibility to make my own schedule. The fact that it was also something I loved was just a bonus. I had no clue what I was doing at first but I wasn’t going to let that little fact stop me. Things took off quickly and I’ve hung on for the ride ever since.
My most memorable photo shoot? Hmmm, that’s a tough one. I have hundreds of shoots every year so there’s too many to pick from. Most are fun, some are tough, but it’s always an adventure.
Who is my inspiration? My girls. They are constantly teaching me, showing me the world in new ways. Because of them, I feel like my work evolved from simple photoshoots into truly trying to capture fun in every moment. I will have kids jumping, screaming, running and laughing. I like feeling that for that little moment in time, I captured the fun of childhood, the love of being a parent, and the warmth of a family. My girls remind me of all of those things daily.
Amy Raub (www.amyraub.com)
Your Motto? When working with newborns, my motto is “Baby First.” From preparing props to safely working with the babies, I keep this in mind. Also, I let the baby determine how the photoshoot will progress. Does the baby need to eat? Are they happiest in mommy’s arms? These are all the subjective parts of a photoshoot that we make work for each family.
Do you have kids? Yes, I have two boys ages 2 and 4. They are my favorite subjects (of course). They have huge smiles and are extremely funny and outgoing little guys.
Describe the moment when you said, “I want to be a photographer… like for real!” I was at a newborn posing class in Nashville with arguably some of the best newborn photographers in the South. It was very early on in my career. I still utilize the skill set taught in that class every day.
Describe your most memorable photoshoot… good or bad! Most recently, I took pictures of a baby that spent two months in the NICU. The parents were so excited for the shoot, but we wanted to wait until it was safe to do the shoot and until the baby was off oxygen so they could do shots of him in their arms. Seeing these first-time parents with their little miracle is the best part of this profession.
Who is your inspiration? Twins Kelley Ryden and Tracy Raver. Their newborn posing class was amazing. They are philanthropists for newborn charities and are so inspiring and open with their instruction.
Sari Underwood (www.sariunderwoodphoto.com)
Your Motto? Less is more. This is true in so many aspects of life, but it also applies to my work and how I approach sessions. I try to keep things simple.
Do you have kids? Yes, my daughter Olivia just turned 9 and my son Caleb is 4.
Describe the moment when you said, “I want to be a photographer… like for real!” I had been an avid hobbyist ever since my daughter was born and I got into digital scrapbooking. From that, my interest and love for photography grew and after I had my son, I decided to pursue it seriously. Being a small business owner is such a challenge but I really do love it!
Describe your most memorable photoshoot… good or bad! My first ever session with a total stranger who found me via a Google search. It was super nerve-wracking, but it went very well and she is still my client today. In fact, I just photographed her second baby girl!
Night owl or early riser? Definitely night owl!
Confession time, what reality show sucks you in every time?! Million Dollar Listing.
Erika Hopkins (www.erikahopkinsphotography.com)
Your Motto? A portrait session is more than rich colors and soft airy light, it’s about having fun and letting me capture pure unguarded LOVE.
Do you have kids? Yes, I have an 8-month-old little girl; she is the light of my life. She has completely changed my vision behind the camera. Love is an amazing thing, something you can’t really describe, and something so amazing it hurts.
Describe the moment when you said, “I want to be a photographer… like for real!” There wasn’t really a moment when I decided I wanted to be a photographer. You could say photography has been calling me all along. From snapping 100’s of shots with my first camera at the age of 6, to photographing 100’s of children per day at my very first job. From the beginning, one thing is for sure. I have always had two loves: photography and children!
Night owl or early riser? Night owl. I feel the most productive working into the wee hours of the night. There is something about the quiet darkness that keeps me extremely focused. Plus, for every hour I work at night is an extra hour I am able to spend with my daughter during the day!
Confession time, what reality show sucks you in every time?! Rehab Addict on DIY Network. In my spare time, I enjoy taking old, tired antiques and bringing them back to their glory days. Maybe in my next life I will rehab houses AND be a newborn photographer!
Elisabeth Nixon (www.elisabethnixonphotography.com)
Do you have kids? Yes! God has blessed my husband and me with three awesome kiddos.
Describe the moment when you said, “I want to be a photographer… like for real!” I think I was maybe three years into owning my own photography business. I wasn’t crazy successful or well known – but it was something I enjoyed and I did well. Then it occurred to me one day that it was EXACTLY what I wanted to do. And I really don’t want to do anything else!
Describe your most memorable photoshoot… good or bad! Well there are a lot of them that involve poop. Yeah, I said it. Photographing babies means I get to see lots of it. During one shoot though, the mom had the wonderful idea to bring her daughter’s nursery OUTSIDE and so we chose a beautiful location with lots of trees and shade, mom and dad brought a bunch of stuff from her nursery and as soon as we laid the baby down, poop started raining down on us. There were these big birds nesting above us – TONS OF THEM – and the poop literally was raining on us. We kept the poop off the baby and every time we heard new drops coming we’d all cringe and wait to see who “got it.” It was totally worth it – one of my favorite photoshoots EVER.
Night owl or early riser? Neither. I’d like to sleep in, take a nap and then go to bed early. I may not actually sleep the whole time but I sure do enjoy a snuggle with my kiddos, to read a book or just lay in the “twilight zone” where ideas come from. (I sound super lazy – I’m not. I actually LOVE physical activity but….I also REALLY love to sleep.)