Ask a Portrait Photographer

We ask professionals who work with new and expectant parents the same six questions we always ask. This week, TWO DOULAS  talks to portrait photographer Natacha Silber.

Natacha Silber is a portrait photographer who has been documenting Montreal families since 2008. She graduated from the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, Michigan in 2001 with a BFA in Photography. She and her husband Mike have two wonderful kids aged 10 and 13. Silber’s heart still pangs at the pace that life is cruising by before her eyes and says her camera can’t keep up with how fast her kids are growing. When she’s not at work editing or photographing, you will most likely find her cooking or reading about cooking, training at the gym with her workout friends, at bootcamp class or on a long walk with her husband. She had no idea that she loves country music until she found Nashville on Netflix, but says she will always be a 90’s hiphop girl at heart.

How would you describe your job in just one sentence?

My job has slowly become the documentarian of many people’s families and the curator of their visual history.

What made you want to be a portrait photographer?

My mother is a graduate of the École des Beaux-arts de Montréal. She was always offering us some creative crazy thing to do. Growing up in Chicago, she took full advantage of bringing us to the Art Institute of Chicago OFTEN. As I grew, my mom continued to be a creative person, dragging us kids to her artist loft to be painted by her or to fashion school when she attended. I think these early years really set the tone for my inevitable destiny to be a creative person. I went on to attend CÉGEP as a Creative Arts major and this was where my love for photography began. I noticed early on that I saw something indescribable when I looked through my lens. It was a feeling that just happened when I looked through the lens and pressed the shutter release. I was fortunate enough to further my higher education at a private art College in the US where I was able to meet some of the time’s reputable film photographers at lectures and guest visits to the school. During my four-year bachelor’s degree portrait work was what meant the most to me. It was the connection we make with people in images that just captivated me and I wanted to share that with others.  

How can new or expectant parents benefit from your services?

I know photography doesn’t seem like a necessity when it comes to the list of things to buy for baby, but I really think it shouldn’t be omitted from the list. Keep in mind that images last beyond your lifetime! It is the only visual document that will transcend time. We most often look back on images of ourselves when our kids are born looking for their likeness to us; for the connection. It has to be one of the best gifts you can give your child before they even know its full value. The best part of hiring a professional to take care of this service for you is that we will already think of ways for you to preserve these images and do all the work for you to create it, by making albums, uploading them online to cloud storage services and printing them for your walls so they are ready to hang. Some photographers, like myself, will even hand deliver your pieces to you and hang them on the wall! Who has time for that once baby arrives?

What happens at your first meeting with new or expectant parents?

I typically have clients contact me far enough in advance of their photography session to offer complimentary consultations without an obligation to book. This is where I feel they get to come into the studio and really get a feel for the experience and I can offer them, and opportunity to get to know me. It can help ease many people’s fear of being behind the lens.  At this meeting we will go over parts of my portfolio, the products I offer, discussions about clothing, possible hair and makeup and any other concerns parents might have leading up to the photos. If parents contact me shortly after baby is born and they don’t have time to come in prior to photos, I do try to cover most things over the phone, offering them as much information verbally, as well as in an email, as I can.

What’s the biggest misconception people have about your field?

That it takes a multi-thousand dollar camera and arsenal of multi-thousand dollar lenses to create the wonderful images you see in professional photography sites and magazines. Although that fancy gear can help, IF you know how to use it, it’s the framing, the composition of subject, posing, light, editing, and so on that all came from the creativity and knowledge of the person behind the gear. 

What do you love most about working with new and expectant parents?

I meet people at one of the happiest times in their lives! I see them loving this new life they waited nine months to meet. It’s like reliving my children through each and everyone of theirs, with the laughs, the tears, the tantrums, and most of all, the love. 

 

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