Kennebunkport Maine Family Photographer Tiffany Farley, http://tiffanyfarley.comP i n

Last weekend I met this beautiful family on the coast of Cape Elizabeth for one of my first outdoor family portrait sessions of the year. It wasn’t their first time in front of my camera though. When I was living in Connecticut, my first morning in a big Connecticut church, not knowing anyone, in my row sat two brand new parents, nervously cradling this incredibly tiny, striped pajama wearing bundle. I had no idea sitting next to them that Sunday that I would soon pursue a passion for photography, let alone have the honor of preserving memories for that very family for years to come. That little bundle I met that morning is now so grown and such a joy to be around.

Our last session was when this little girl was born, she was just a few weeks old! We have both moved to Maine over the years, and we took advantage of warmer spring weather here and headed to the coast. I’ll be sharing more of this family portrait session next week! This favorite image here was photographed on medium format black and white film, using my Hasselblad. Stay tuned to see more!

Portland-Maine-Newborn-Photographer-Tiffany-Farley, http://tiffanyfarley.comP i n

A Letter to the Brand New Mama

Exhausted beyond description. As overwhelmed as you are overjoyed. Entirely elated. And entirely emotional about EVERYTHING.

Perhaps fearful that you’re already doing it wrong. That you won’t be enough for her. That you won’t be enough for him.

Perhaps feeling guilty that you aren’t sliding into this new lifestyle as quickly or as easily as you thought you would, because truthfully it’s nothing at all like what you expected. Or what you were told. Or what you prepared for. Or how it was for her.

Andrea 010P i nPerhaps you are already feeling left out. Feeling stuck at home, while at the same time desiring to go no where at all. Caught in the tension of what your days must look like now. Quietly comparing your motherhood to hers.

Perhaps disappointed in the honesty of admitting this is nothing like your Pinterest board. Dreams of perfectly folded linens now overshadowed with crumpled piles of used burp cloths both clean and used, and more laundry than you ever thought possible to accumulate.

Portland Maine Black and White Film Newborn Photographer Tiffany Farley, http://tiffanyfarley.comP i n

I just wanted to send you a little reminder this morning that you are enough. That you are all she needs. That you are all he needs. And you know what, it may feel scary sometimes. You may doubt your instincts more than you trust them. But you’re doing just fine. You’re going to be just fine.

I often photograph brand new mothers. Each different. Each facing different struggles of a terrifyingly new season. Each facing their own real life version of a life they pinned.

I don’t encourage brand new mothers to be in photographs during this time because your life is perfectly beautiful. You aren’t the focus of my work and the art I create because you have it all together. Or because you’re doing it better than others.
Coastal Maine Newborn Photography by Tiffany Farley, http://tiffanyfarley.comP i nYou’re in these photographs for her. For him. And for you. When you choose to be in the photographs you not only choose what matters most now, but you choose what matters most in 50 years. And honestly folded cream and grey linens have nothing to do with that story. 
Portland Maine Newborn Photographer Tiffany Farley, http://tiffanyfarley.comP i nI have never photographed a mother with her baby, brand new or years old, who has ever expressed her sincere regret. Who wished she didn’t have that black and white photograph of the two of them. Those cherished portraits of her motherhood.

I have however, met many women who regretted their choice of saying no. So many stories of mothers I have met, who said they wish they knew then just how much they would change if they could go back. Who vulnerably shared that they felt too overwhelmed to even consider professional photographs after their little one was born and now have next to none. Who chose to only photograph their baby, and never any of the two of them, or the three of them as brand new family. Who didn’t feel beautiful enough, or worthy enough to ask for more.

 

Portland Maine Newborn Photographer Tiffany Farley, http://tiffanyfarley.comP i nThis matters. YOU matter. To the story, and to your family. Be in the photographs. 

At the past two Creative at Heart conferences, I have had the privilege of hearing Natalie Franke present her talk on the brain behind the business. If you have yet to hear this talk, and have any opportunity to do so, I can’t recommend it enough. I have heard it twice, and would gladly learn from it again, as each time I walked away with powerful realizations about my brand and business- and the things that I needed to let change.

Even in the smallest summary, I couldn’t do her brilliant content justice. But one part has stuck out to me the most, and that is the importance of consistently showing your face in your brand, and it’s direct correlation to how it builds trust with your potential clients. How it builds community. How it creates loyalty. How it makes others feel a part of something.

Now, there are definitely different opinions of this when it comes to the creative industry- because not every successful photographer has a “personal brand”. There are many photographers that I follow who never show their face, or incredibly personal posts with the world. They keep it only about their art, and keep their profile a bit mysterious. I guess you can say I tried to land somewhere in between. As an extreme introvert, sharing my face all the time is a struggle for me, but I also feel a sense of community the most when I share my heart and personal thoughts throughout my brand and social media presence.

And while I never stop working to be more skilled in the art I create as a photographer, my vision IS very personal. I create from my own story and how I see the world. I love building personal relationships with my clients, and always want to to see them as a family and not human transactions. And not to say keeping everything about my work is the opposite of any of that, it’s just the more I thought about it, the more I realized that I was trying to have a personal brand..without the person. So often it was creating a disconnect.

I sat in the back of the Creative at Heart Conference last November in Charleston, so tired from a weary season, and the beautiful Krista Jones sat beside me. Of course, I knew who she was, having followed her work for quite some time and having been involved in the Rising Tide Society the few months prior.

Are you Tiffany Farley?” She asked. After replying Yes with nod, she responded with a statement I can still hear in my head, “Oh, ok, Hi! I wasn’t sure what you looked like.”

(face palm)

Why am I sharing all of this? I have felt challenged for months now to put more of me in my brand, without compromising my integrity and values as an artist. To share more personally, without it taking away, but instead adding to my brand. So I am sharing this post for accountability, and to maybe challenge someone else out there. The beautiful thing about the creative industry, is that there is no one right way to make decisions for your business. I hope you never find me sharing from a place that makes you feel like you need to change something, when things are absolutely beautiful the way they are. But I do hope that if you were struggling with this idea, that it inspires you to let change happen where you need it. To like myself, put insecurities aside, and let people in a bit more.

I’m off to dive into a busy Wednesday in the office, and preparing for an online mentoring session for another photographer who is just getting started. I LOVE to help others and share the lessons I have learned the hard way over the years!

Yarmouth Maine Maternity and Newborn Photographer Tiffany Farley, http://tiffanyfarley.comP i n

Image Photographed by Justin & Mary.

Here’s to letting small changes happen where they need to.