PHOTOGRAPHER OF MOTHERHOOD & FAMILY

who finds home on the coast of Maine. 

Hi, I’m Tiffany

Welcome to the blog!

An online space to share my recent photography work, travel & life adventures, a behind the scenes look at running a creative business, resources for photographers, and my heart as an artist who is passionate for creating honest work that matters. If this is your first visit, you can learn more about myself as a photographer, as well the details of booking my motherhood and family portrait work over on my main website.

Whether you're a mother deciding who will photograph the ones you love most in the world, a like-minded creative business owner, or simply a friend- it's my hope that through this blog you will always find inspiration, education, and encouragement.  

Browse and stay awhile!

B R O W S E

THE PHOTOGRAPHERS SHOP

As Lara Casey says, there is nothing magical about January 1st. Sitting down and evaluating how your business could be more fulfilling, or how your LIFE itself could be more fulfilling should not be restricted to just one day of the year. But it IS the time of year where things slow down just a tad, and I am wanting to get my STUFF together and feel like I am entering a new year with a plan in hand. Fall is SUCH a crazy time of year for photographers, that I think this idea of goal setting in January is more of an effort to feel present and in control- because the last few months may have felt anything but!

So this week I have been looking into the tools and resources that I want to have that will really help me plan my business year, and make goals that bring me closer to owning a business that serves my life, and not a life that serves my business. I have learned over the years that a tool or a system is only as good as the amount you actually use it. So I was intentional about not making any impulse buys this fall as new planners released, or goal setting products launched. I wanted to make sure I was purchasing something that would truly help me, not just because everyone else was instagramming it. Ever been there? 

Today I am going to share what I have been planning and purchasing, so that when I come back from Christmas vacation with my family, I have all the tools that I need to dive right in. And let’s face it, I don’t get to go school supply shopping anymore, so this is like the closest thing I get. New pens and blank notebooks make me oh so HAPPY.

First up, I needed a planner. Now, this year I started using Trello, and if you have not yet checked out this online todo system I highly recommend that you do so. First of all it’s FREE, and it’s a system I use both on my computer and my phone. There are so many ways to use it. I have a board that serves as a big running todo list- where I quickly type things in from my desk or at the grocery store- wherever I may be, and have the peace of mind that it won’t get lost like it could on a sticky note.

I also use Trello for group todo organization, like for planning The Fount Collective workshop with my creative team, or communicating project todo’s with my intern. But I have found that I not only still desire to have a written daily todo list, I also like a visual of how I will tackle the week. Sometimes that running todo list is just SO overwhelming, that I feel more in control if I could take the top tasks by priority and assign them to a day of the week. This helps me feel accomplished when I get the day’s work done, and confident that I will complete ALL THE OTHER THINGS.

There are so many great planners out there these days. I was browsing mostly The Simplified Planner by Emily Ley, this One Canoe Two Planner, and The Day Designer by Whitney English. All of which had things that I really loved, and they were all worth considering for me. A frequent client of mine and I were chatting about them earlier this week, and she said she was totally loving her Mini Day Designer, and not only did I end up choosing that one ( I really liked that it would fit in my purse on the go! ) but she surprised me and gifted it to me! I really have the world’s BEST clients ever. 

The Day Designer Mini in Blush

Image via @BelleandBlush

Next on my list were goal setting worksheets. I have in the past used Lara Casey’s Powersheets, and I am such a fan! But particularly more so this year because she is offering them not only in her usual 6 month set for a three ring binder, but she has an entire YEAR workbook that is spiral bound. I LOVE that this structure lets me brainstorm on my couch, curled up in my favorite chair, or more easily in a coffee shop…it’s just way easier than writing in a binder for me.

To be totally honest, I wasn’t sure if I was going to like the Powersheets when I first ordered them. I really don’t like bright colors. I don’t really like crazy sparkly things. Choosing a blush and gold planner this year is like…pretty wild for me. My thoughts as I landed on the first questions were, I don’t want to talk about my feelings. I want to set goalsI want to feel productive and make stuff happen RIGHT NOW!! But what I have learned from Lara and the Making Things Happen team is the power of sitting down and asking yourself how you really feel in that moment, and how that simple action of writing down that vulnerable, transparent, even-if-it’s-ugly, honesty with yourself- just doing that alone- can be a catalyst for creating a business that better serves your life. Asking yourself questions like what she has structured out in these worksheets gives you insight on what is fulfilling you in your business and what isn’t, where that overwhelming pressure or stress is rooted, and WHY your goals are even your goals in the first place.

Just trust me. They work. I am so excited to get my hands on them and have vowed to be entirely all in and 100% committed to getting my hands dirty, making scribbles, being messy, and just being incredibly honest with myself about my business AND my personal life and what I want it to look like a year from now.

Lara Casey Powersheets

 Image via Lara Casey Shop

Last week I wrote a post on the importance of taking time to think like a CEO in your business. To not just focus on the fun, creative side all the time, but to check in and ask yourself the hard questions to make sure your goals are being achieved, and your business is growing in a way that is fulfilling to you and it’s mission. It can be so hard to evaluate growth and move your business forward if you spend all your time just maintaining what you have.

I wrote about this idea of setting aside a meeting with yourself once a month, and ask yourself questions that a CEO would if they were on the outside looking in. A CEO would ask the hard questions. The growth questions. The questions that ultimately really matter if you want your business to do better next week, next month, or next year. The questions that when you’re spending all your time maintaining your business, you often never even take the time to think about! This is especially important for people like myself who have no other official accountability. Being the only person who looks at my business on a daily basis, means that if I am ignoring these important questions about my profit margins, my booking rates, and my referral sources- then no one is!

I promised in that post that I would create a simple worksheet that would ask some of these important questions that would be easy to print out, take to a coffee shop, and answer some business specific questions, including:

What was your gross profit this month? What was your goal? 

How many inquiries did you receive this month? How many of those inquiries turned into bookings? What was your booking goal this month? Did you meet that? 

What worked well this month? What could have gone better this month? 

What are three business specific goals for next month? How are you going to get there, what’s your action step? 

I’m not a professional designer by any means, but you’re welcome to download these two worksheets for free! If you like them, you can print them out once a month, put them in a binder, or even take them to an office store and have them spiral bound.
DOWNLOAD YOUR FREE WORKSHEETS HERE

I’ll be talking a lot more about goal setting and a look at what has been working, and what I want to do better in 2016, so if you enjoy reading posts like this one be sure to stick around!

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Harspwell-Maine-Family-Photographer-Tiffany-Farley-http://tiffanyfarley.com

Earlier this summer (clearly I am behind on blogging this one!!) I had the honor of doing a beautiful early morning shoot with Molly and her two children on the foggy coast of Harpswell, Maine. I had a few rolls of color film that I wanted to try out, and I knew exactly who would be the perfect models!

Molly is the talented mother behind Go Babe Boutique, an online shop offering children’s apparel and accessories that Molly personally crafts by hand, and the incredibly moving story & mission behind her brand is so worth heading over to and checking out her shop!

The majority of her session and the images shared here today were photographed on medium format film.

Harspwell-Maine-Family-Photographer-Tiffany-Farley-http://tiffanyfarley.comHarspwell-Maine-Family-Photographer-Tiffany-Farley-http://tiffanyfarley.comHarspwell-Maine-Family-Photographer-Tiffany-Farley-http://tiffanyfarley.comMolly003Harspwell-Maine-Family-Photographer-Tiffany-Farley-http://tiffanyfarley.comHarspwell-Maine-Family-Photographer-Tiffany-Farley-http://tiffanyfarley.comHarspwell-Maine-Family-Photographer-Tiffany-Farley-http://tiffanyfarley.comHarspwell-Maine-Family-Photographer-Tiffany-Farley-http://tiffanyfarley.comHarspwell-Maine-Family-Photographer-Tiffany-Farley-http://tiffanyfarley.com

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To learn more about booking your Maine Maternity, Newborn, or Family Portrait Session, or the popular Motherhood Collective, contact Tiffany via the Connect link in the menu, or email directly at TIFFANY@TIFFANYFARLEY.COM

Tiffany is local to the Portland, Maine area and is currently booking Winter & Spring Sessions.

Tiffany Farley frequently travels for maternity, newborn, and family portrait sessions and has clients from Bar Harbor to San Francisco.  To find out details regarding her upcoming travel dates to a city near you including Southern Connecticut, Rye New York, Annapolis Maryland, Acadia National Park- or to book a custom travel session, please contact for more information.

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Maine Maternity and Newborn Photographer Tiffany Farley, http://tiffanyfarley.comWhen it comes to newborn sessions (and sometimes maternity too), it’s no secret that I prefer to photograph them in their own home. Living in the Northeast here on the coast of Maine, if I depended on warm outdoor weather for all of my portrait sessions, that would pretty much mean closing down for half the year! Other photographers often ask me how I photograph in the client’s home when I have never seen it before, and if I bring anything with me to ensure a smooth session. As I begin a busy winter season of almost all in-home family portrait sessions (already 8 newborns on my calendar in the next couple months!), I thought I would share a bit today on how I handle photographing in my client’s home well.

I really love the opportunity to photograph in my client’s home for a few different reasons:

  1. I believe it really adds to how special the portraits are. You will be able to look back at the very first family portrait years from now, and remember that it was the first house you brought your baby home to. Even if it’s not your forever house, the memories that those walls hold will be an additional treasure throughout your photographs. The portraits will also look more unique to each client then if done in the same studio every time.
  2. It’s so much easier on my client, especially for newborn sessions. Not having to factor in a trip in the car, or packing what they may or may not need away from home is such a benefit. I also work with a lot of first time moms, and it’s often important to them that they will be able to feed their baby in the comfort of their own home. I work with local hair and makeup artists who travel as well, and most often meet my clients right in their home prior to my arrival. It makes the session less stressful for my client, and more of a pampering experience!
  3. From my own perspective, it makes much more sense for me in this time of business. As much as I am hoping to begin booking many more local Maine families in the year to come, I still travel to my clients more often then I am home for them. In just the past two days alone my inbox inquiries have included New York, California, and Maryland. So for me, investing a hefty monthly amount in a studio space wouldn’t benefit my current business model.
  4. Photographing in my client’s home not only fits my current business structure, but my shooting style as well. I only use natural light, and never use props or artificial lighting, so I have no set up and tear down. I simply show up with my camera.

The first thing I make sure happens is my pre-booking communication with my clients. 99% of all newborn portrait sessions I book will take place in the client’s home, and sometimes maternity as well. I always explain to inquiring families that the session will take place in their home providing their is ample window light. Most people know what natural light means, but I am always wanting to clarify that I mean light coming in through a window just in case. Because it won’t matter how many lamps and ceiling lights you have- if there is no window light- there is no light for my portraits.

I then go on to explain that a clean window space with light or neutral colored walls is best, no matter what room that actually may be in. There have been occasions where the best window light was in the kitchen, or the bathroom. If that’s the case, that’s where we do the session. Most of my sessions take place almost entirely in front of one single window space.

If there’s any question or doubt, they send me snapshots, but for the most part, this hasn’t ever been an issue. I used to get nervous when I arrived at a client’s home that I had never been to with the plan of photographing their session in a space I had never personally seen. So if you feel that way sometimes, I understand and have totally been there. I think that what really started to help me, was of course the experience of doing it more often and growing in my confidence that way, but also learning to speak up and ask for what I needed. I learned to educate my clients more, and explain what I needed to create the portraits they saw and loved in my portfolio. I learned to be the expert and present myself as such. After all, that’s why they hired me. That doesn’t mean I show up and bark orders and act like a demanding artist- quite the opposite. I simply learned to be honest and confident in what I needed to create my work. 
Yarmouth Maine Maternity and Newborn Photographer Tiffany Farley, http://tiffanyfarley.comWhen I arrive to an in-home portrait session, such as for a newborn or maternity session, I have a little mental checklist of questions as I walk in and start unpacking my camera bag:

  1. Where is the best window light? Often my client will walk me through their home and point out their favorite spaces. As they do so, I take mental notes on which spaces were best. This way as we move through the session, I know exactly what places to set up the portraits.
  2. Is there any unappealing color casting anywhere? One of the reasons I prefer to photograph near white or neutral colored walls, is that it doesn’t effect the color of my images. So if there are dark, or heavily colored curtains, walls, or reflections, I want to make note of that so I can fix it the best of my ability, either by moving to a different window space, removing what is causing the color casting, or paying very close attention to my white balance.
  3. Are there any lamps or lights on? There have been many occasions where I have struggled to get my white balance where I wanted, and wondered why on earth they were looking so warm on the back of my camera. 9 times of out 10 this means that I almost missed a really important step- to make sure all the house lights near where we are photographing are turned off. Sometimes my client will flip a switch out of habit as we walk into a room, and it may even be a small lamp in the corner, but it will effect the color and light of my images. Always double check the house lights around you and be sure they are turned off.Maine Newborn Photographer Tiffany Farley, http://tiffanyfarley.com

In my newborn portrait sessions, babies are never, ever placed in anything except the parent’s arms. This may not be everyone’s style, and that’s more than ok, because I am not the photographer for everyone. I am the photographer for families who value timeless over trendy, and who desire classic black and white portraits holding their little ones in a style that will still be appreciated and adored in the generations to come. When I first started my photography business, I was so drawn to taking pictures of babies and children- but I thought that you had to use these elaborate props and even random antiques to show that you were a creative photographer. As I grew in my craft, I realized that the classic, timeless style was for me, and I never looked back.

In-home maternity and newborn portrait sessions are actually posed and handled almost identically as far as posing and how I complete the session. Whether a mother is resting her hand on her expecting belly, or snuggling her newborn on her chest, I still want that same dimensional window light. I learned this technique by studying how wedding photographers would pose their bride and grooms in their “getting ready” pictures- angled at the window for that beautiful dimensional light, which not only keeps an image from looking flat and lifeless, but it’s crucial for a strong black and white portrait. If your black and white images are always coming out gray and muddy looking- it’s probably the way you are using light! Justin & Mary are fantastic teachers of this lighting technique, and I have learned from their blog posts and workshops for years now!  Kennebunkport Maine Maternity Photographer Tiffany Farley, http://tiffanyfarley.com

Last but not least, I want to share what I bring with me for an in-home portrait session. Like I mentioned above, I don’t bring any posing props or lighting set ups, but I do show up with a few different key items:

  1. My Camera & Lens- this sounds pretty obvious but what I want to note is the kind of camera and lens that I use and bring. The first couple years of my business I used a Canon Mark II with a 50 1:4 lens. I did use a zoom lens for outdoor, but this was my main combo. One of the main reasons I upgraded my gear was because of the amount of indoor sessions I started to book. I needed a camera and a lens that both handled lower lit situations better. So I upgraded to the Canon Mark III and shortly after the 50 1:2L. This my ONLY digital go to for camera gear. I don’t have a bag of numerous lenses because I truthfully do not NEED them. The 85 1:2L is a go to lens for many other portrait photographers, but it’s not a lens conducive for the tight indoor spaces that I usually find myself in. So I currently stick with the 50. And light wise, that extra stop makes ALL the difference. It’s pricier- but for a reason!
  2. A small step ladder- this is something I started to keep in the back of my car last year. I don’t always bring it in, or always find it necessary, but the few times that I have needed it has made it a life saver! I tend to photograph indoors without shoes, and I am relatively short without the help of heels- and if I have a taller client- especially a tall Dad in the session- I want to make sure I am photographing at the right angle, and I don’t always have the extra space to back up. It has also helped me to get some close up portraits of the baby snuggling on the mother’s shoulder. Getting up a step or two higher lets me see the baby’s face a bit more, and I prefer using my own little step ladder to climbing on my client’s furniture.
  3. Sheer curtains- I have only had to pull these out once, but I actually keep an extra set of sheer Ikea curtains in the back of my car as well. Often if the curtains are not working because of their dark or bright color, I am able to either remove them completely, or switch them out with curtains from another room. However I carry these with me just in case. Since my sessions take place entirely by a window- if the curtains were a bright color, they could potentially ruin the look of all of the images either by blocking light, or cast an unappealing color on my client’s skin tone.

I hope this blog post helped you if you are a photographer looking to get better at photographing sessions in your client’s home, or even help educate you if you’re still looking for the perfect maternity and newborn photographer for your family. Have questions about anything I mentioned? Leave a comment below and I will do my best at answering them.

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  • Mercy

    This is a great post, Tiffany. Thanks so much for sharing these. I have learnt something new to improve my indoor sessions.ReplyCancel

  • I never even thought of bringing an extra set of curtains! This probably would have helped me in the past! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Lovely post! I can relate on so many of these points. I love doing indoor sessions with newborns and their snuggling parents. And getting some dynamic, dimensional images with good window light is crucial! Thanks for reminding me. 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Iris

    Thank you so much for this post. You continue to inspire me and also educate fellow photographers. Love reading your blog.ReplyCancel