Hobby to Business: The Birth of Lyndsay Hannah Photography
September 12, 2018
On Doing What You Love, and Getting Paid for It!
So what was originally going to be one blog post is turning into Lyndsay appreciation week here. Because she’s that good. And I wanted to spam you with more pictures of my family. And because I know hobbies and entrepreneurship came up as two big things on your career minds from our “Having It All” survey. This Q&A with Lyndsay checks all of the boxes!
Without further ado, some questions and unimportant commentary from me (in bold) and answers from fabulous Boston family and newborn photography, Lyndsay McNiff!
Lyndsay! What inspired you to start Lyndsay Hannah Photography?
I had every intention of going back to work after I had my oldest son. My plan was to take the 12 weeks of FMLA and then return….well, then I met my son.
He cried for about 72 hours straight upon being born and never slept. He was a colic, sleep apnea, high needs baby in every aspect. At 12 weeks postpartum, I felt like I had been run over by a tractor trailer and in NO way could’ve handled working a full-time job with the 90 minute commute I was doing. I know this seems like a strange entry into how I became a photographer, but I promise it’s relevant!
Over the first year of being home with my son, my photography hobby grew and he became my first true human subject. Prior to his birth, I had mostly enjoyed photographing landscapes and our travel. When he was 18 months old, I had the courage to actually launch the idea of doing photography professionally, and I’ve never looked back since. I LOVE being home with my boys, but I also feel like I couldn’t be a good mom without my business to keep me challenged mentally and artistically.
What is your favorite part about photographing families?
Is it the wackadoo toddlers climbing the tress? The newborn babies being all precious and sleepy? People making Anne Geddes references while you photograph their babies?
Hahaha! My favorite part is honestly the challenge. Every family is different, and my repeat clients are different every single year since kids change/grow so quickly. My goal is always to capture images of each family/individual in a natural and authentic way. I want parents to look at their images and remember how charming/difficult/serious/goofy/outgoing/shy their child was at 3 years, 7 years, 11 years old. Not to look back at only posed photographs where everyone is looking and smiling.
I do try my best to get one of those during each session because there’s always Grandma/Grandpa who love those “classic” portraits. But kids in general have a really hard time smiling authentically on command…and let’s be honest, so do most adults. I feel their personalities really shine when they are playing or just being themselves! So pretty much I die of happiness when I get client feedback that I captured their kids’/family’s personality so well. That’s what inspires me and keeps me going
What is the craziest thing that has happened behind the scenes at one of your photo sessions?
(Please don’t say my kid knocking my other kid out… Please don’t say my kid knocking my other kid out…)
LOL. That was pretty epic. Seriously though, I am coming up on my 300th family photographed so I’ve seen it all. Meltdowns, tackles (not just yours!), biting, kids stripping their carefully chosen outfits off, new siblings lovingly throwing things at their new baby, the skies opening up and pouring on us. But guess what? We still get great photographs! They are all funny memories in the end :).
Tell us about “the sweet spot.”
You’re like CRAZY good at your job. You own your own company, create gorgeous images, and are just a darn delight to be around. Most importantly, it seems like you absolutely love it! Tell us how you found your “sweet spot” as a photographer. My career coach mind defines this as the overlap between your skills, your interests, and the value you bring to others.
Aw, thank you! I DO love it. That’s really the key for me. Not everyone (in fact, probably a very small amount of people) can say that they truly love their jobs. I know how lucky I am that I was afforded the opportunity to turn something that was a hobby/passion into my career. Prior to having children, I had been in event sales for many years so I had a background in working with all different kinds of people during a stressful time in their lives…wedding planning. Those skills are absolutely integral at all my sessions. Interacting with clients/kids with all different personalities and remaining calm under pressure are two of my strong points that I carry over from my events background.
Any parenting advice?
Alright, mama, last question. You’re a proud mom of 2 with one on the way. Share your wisdom! Any nuggets of parenting wisdom for us? My go to answer to this question is “none of us have any idea what we are doing” so I’m sure you have something up your sleeve that could be more helpful than that!
Hahahaha. Nearly 5 years in, one would think I have some idea of what I am doing, right? With my first son, I was pretty sure I was doing everything wrong. Don’t all first time parents feel that way? After my second son was raised in the same household with the same parents and turned out 110% different, I am convinced that there is no right or wrong. Every kid is SO different that you can’t possibly have a plan….at least not one that sticks around for very long! Everything is always changing so I try to remind myself during the hard times that “everything is temporary”.
But really, I still have a hard time remembering that in the thick of it. As I type this, my second son hasn’t slept in about a week as he has a cold and 4 teeth coming in. Teething ends eventually….right?!?!?
Yes it does, mama. Yes it does. Hang in there!
Pretty awesome huh? Chat with Lyndsay if you are in the market for family or newborn photos!
Are you inspired to turn your hobby into a business now? Or are you trying to figure out your own career sweet spot? Download the 100 Job Exercise! It’s a fun career development tool that helps you uncover your deep-seated interests and think about how they translate into the next step for your career.
With wonderful pictures, great memories, and entrepreneurial enthusiasm,
P.S. Check out Part I for more family photos and laughs!