Business Name: Gabby Chapin Photography
Where are you based out of? South Louisiana
Are you currently a part-time or full-time photographer? Full-time
What is your predominant photographic specialization?
Weddings + Family Portraits
What camera(s) do you currently shoot with?
How would you define your style?
I struggled for years to answer this question and realized that things really fell into place when I gave space for my style to define itself. For the most part, my style tends to fall focused on clean, colorful and emotive imagery.
What motivated you to become a photographer?
I’ve always had an interest and passion for the arts. My father is an extremely talented painter, model train architect, and landscape artist. His ability to bring a scene to life in all three areas is something I have admired since I can remember. My mother is a successful and brilliant wedding florist in Baltimore who has a passion for happy clients and beautiful blooms. They nurtured just about any creative endeavor I felt drawn to and for that reason, I felt compelled and supported to pursue a creative a life. In college, photography was a natural choice for me. I loved that it had the potential for both practical and abstract application. There is the mathematical and scientific side of learning how to use your equipment in relationship to your subjects and available light; then there is the purely artistic side that is driven from within the desires and excitements of those involved in the image making process. Throughout my late teens and 20s, I focused a lot of energy into my love of relationships and people in general. I didn’t realize it until much later, but this was one of the biggest motivators that pushed me to make the leap into full-time photography. The reason I jump up and down when I get “that shot” during a session or wedding, is because I am not only enjoying the creation of the art but I am anticipating the joy that my clients will feel when they get to experience the image later after it’s been delivered.
What is it that you try to convey with your work?
This is the beauty of letting go, I really have no idea what I aim to convey until a moment unfolds. I am driven by beautiful light and the unique relationships that my clients share with one another. I aim to show them what their loved ones have likely seen all along, and what I see immediately…that they are stunning and precious. I get a lot of clients who aren’t particularly comfortable having their portraits made or even candid images taken of them. I have yet to have a client tell me that they felt awkward or uncomfortable for more than the first three minutes of their session. I want that comfort level that I create to be felt in the images. A sense of emotional openness as we let a moment unfold…images without a wall between the viewer and the subject matter…images that are as inviting as sweet tea on the front porch of a southern home in August.
How do you accomplish that?
How are most great things accomplished in life? By building relationships. I work hard to stay in touch with my clients prior to their sessions/wedding days. If they tell me later that having me around was like having an old friend in the room, then I have done my job of creating a comfortable space. When a client feels comfortable they are more likely to indulge your requests or heed your advice and this can really improve the quality of the images you create.
What do you do during a session or wedding day to help make your clients feel comfortable?
I talk. They don’t call me Gabby for nothing. I ask them questions about themselves and if they aren’t into answering I don’t press. Through mindfulness, I have developed quite a knack for noticing, and responding to, even the most subtle clues as to how a person may be feeling and how I can guide them into a place of joy and comfort. I think it simply boils down to paying attention and genuinely caring about the experience as much as the final result. If a client has a “bad time” being photographed by you, that will color their view of the final images, no matter how spectacular they are!
Have you had a photographer inspire your work, and if so, who and why?
There have been so many I could never list them all! Most of the photographers that have inspired me have been those that I have worked alongside or shared friendships with. Maile Lani from Maile Lani Photography has been responsible for a lot of my growth as an artist. I initially reached out to her to photograph my own wedding in 2012, but she was already booked. We met for coffee anyways and from that day on we really were great friends. Obviously, I admired her work but I also deeply respected her drive as an artist and businesswoman. She is always striving to learn new things, experiment with antique lenses and follow whatever immediate passion consumes her attention. Lauren Carroll is another one whom I am so impressed with. Our daughters have become friends over the years and I am always blown away by how well she balances life with a homeschooled little one and a booming business. Her travel photography is something I really enjoy looking at from time to time and I value how readily she has shared her ideas with me and helped me during times of struggle or uncertainty in my own business. There are a handful of male photographers that I follow and respect as well. Tyler Rye for his incredible portraits in stunning natural locations and all the personal efforts he puts into making his images. Trevor Dailey for his friendliness and willingness to share within the photography community. Lance Nicoll, Trevor Mark, Daniel Waghorne and Mike Lirette for always being extremely kind in an often competitive industry. I could seriously go on…and on…
What is your most memorable accomplishment so far in your photography career?
Ah! Not feeling worried over whether or not I would book enough work to fill my calendar. I also do a happy dance every time someone reaches out and wants to feature my work. This is a huge form of flattery as there are literally thousands of incredible photographers out there vying for attention.
What is one important lesson you have learned during your career?
Be kind. This is a life lesson that applies all the time.
Which Photographer Supply Company products do you currently use?
The 4×6 photo / USB boxes, stand-alone USB boxes, and wooden USB drives. After Juliet Meeks Design helped me through a rebrand and completely redesigned my logo I started using the engraving services as well! I have reordered every product that I’ve purchased. My clients give many compliments on the presentation of their final images too!
How have Photographer Supply Company products helped your business?
For the first few years of business I struggled to present my images in a clean, consistent and stylish way. I was so excited to find Photography Supply Company! I had tried vendors on etsy, who eventually went out of business and researched dozens of other companies but was thrown a bit by the high prices. After I settled on Photography Supply Company for my print boxes and usbs I felt such a relief! I have such confidence in the final delivery of images and files now. Putting together packages is such a joy. Between my new beautiful logo from Juliet Meeks and Photography Supply Company I feel like the fit and finish of my business has finally fallen into place.
How has packaging elevated your brand?
When clients spend several hundred to several thousand dollars on your services they deserve beautiful storage and packaging. I confidently use your products and absolutely love the personal touch I can add through engraving. Worth every dollar!