Who inspires you? | Newborn Daydreams Photography – Denise O’Donnell

Be inspired… who inspires you? I am inspired daily by many things. Outside of being inspired by my husband and children who let me follow my passion and agree to come along for the ride. Newborn photographers inspire me. My goal is to ultimately specialize in newborn photography, there is something about capturing that special time that gives my existence as a photographer meaning. I know such a deep thought but so true. Something really comes alive in me when I am trying to mold these precious little beings into cute sleepy poses. I am still learning my flow and working hard to teach myself. I dream of attending a newborn workshop and hopefully I can make it happen soon!  My dream is kept alive by seeing that it can be done. While on my photography journey I met Denise O’Donnell. I had the privilege of watching her grow into a successful newborn photographer. She has a passion and determination to work hard at achieving success. A true story of how to really get something when you want it. I watched her in her early stages and to see her now I am continually blown away! Her images are stunning and her ability to balance her business and family is admired. Please check out her beautiful work http://newborndaydreams.com. She is truly an artist. I am in love with her clean polished style and timeless images. When I asked Denise if I could interview her and she agreed I was so happy! I think it is important for my clients to see the photographers who inspire me and my photography friends might also be inspired by her words. I know I was! After reading her interview I was given that strength again to believe what seems unattainable is possible. As I continue on my journey I find hope in photographers like Denise who are making a career doing what they love. I know I can do it and you can do what ever inspires you too!

Please tell us about yourself as a person and as a photographer. I’m a full time mom of 8 (7 boys and 1 girl) and married to my very best friend, who without his constant support, I never would have followed my dreams to become a newborn photographer. I absolutely LOVE newborns…everything about them.  Nothing gives me more pleasure, as a photographer, than capturing memories of precious new lives for their families to treasure for generations to come. Everything that is new about them will forever be remembered and enjoyed for years.

What sparked your desire to photograph? Like many photographers, my passion for photography grew with the birth of each one of my children. By the time I had my 8th baby, who was a preemie, I had a strong compassion for wanting to capture his fragile newborn days. I would come home from my visits at the NICU only to be really disappointed in how my images were turning out. I vowed to learn how to use my point and shoot camera and take better pictures of my children. I never would of imagined where this decision would take me. It was the beginning of my photography journey.

What is the hardest part of the job when shooting for a client? For me, the hardest part of the job when shooting for the client is when their vision of the photo session varies greatly from my visions. Of course we want our clients to be very happy, but it’s hard to compromise when their visions include large headbands, strong vivid colors and unusual poses. I want my clients to hire me for my work and style which is why I always encourage future clients to view my work before hiring me if their visions are very different than mine.

What is the hardest part of the job when shooting for yourself? I am such a perfectionist (I drive myself nuts, lol). I always view each image I take as one I’ve captured of own baby. I want everything to be perfect… down to the smallest details. I spend a great amount of time on each newborn session to ensure the images I’m capturing of their baby’s will be ones that not only they will love, but that I will love just as much. I always prepare my clients ahead of time that their sessions may last upwards of 5 hours, even with a nice and sleepy baby. I never rush through the sessions, rather I take my time and ensure everything looks perfect. I want the images I give to my clients to bring tears to their eyes. I push myself hard and try to learn something new with each newborn session I shoot. If I didn’t learn something new, I didn’t try hard enough.

Do you try to help others learn about photography? If so, please explain how. I know personally what it’s like to be freshly starting out and knowing absolutely nothing about photography. It’s a very hard business to be in, so much to know and learn. I remember asking questions and being ignored. Never a fun feeling. It however did inspire me to want to help others any way that I can. If I get questions that I can answer, I’m always more than happy to help and if I can’t, I will at least refer that person to someone who can.

What and/or who inspires you in life and photography and why? My husband definitely inspires me in life. He’s one of the hardest working people I know and never once does he ever complain about it. He gets up every day well before the sun rises and works well past when it sets. I couldn’t imagine working as much as he does. He does it because he loves his family and he never gives up.. even when the going gets very tough. He reminds me every day to never give up even when everything is stacked up against me. Many of times I’ve wanted to give up but he’s never allowed me to fall. He’s been there for me always… a true hero in my eyes! In photography my biggest inspiration is Kristen from Son Kissed Photography. She has such an amazing heart. Her passion for her photography shows in her work and in her teachings. I have learned so much from her. She has inspired me to not only be a wonderful newborn photographer, but one day a great mentor as well. Although mentoring is further down the road for me, she has given me such great morals on what it means to be a true mentor and friend to someone just starting out.

The key to creativity is… trying something new and not being afraid to be yourself. Don’t recreate something you’ve seen some else do just because that person did it. Try something new, something different – maybe start a new trend. Whatever it is…. let it come from YOU!

What is the best advice you would give a photographer just starting out? Don’t ever give up and don’t ever compare yourself to anyone. Just be you and you will shine!

What is your favorite photograph you’ve ever taken? I just shot my favorite all time image a couple of days ago. I had a baby girl in the studio who was sleeping so well for me, it was actually one of my most smoothest newborn sessions. We were almost completely done with her session when she decided it was time to wake up. Sleep was no longer a part of her game plan. She was happy being wide awake and checking things out. I am really loving awake wrapped newborn images lately. Parents love them just as much. So, I grabbed a wrap and did what I love to do. I laid this little sweetie on my beanbag and she looked at me with the most sweetest eyes I’ve ever seen! Luckily for me, I had my camera ready to go and captured this rare emotion. She looks like a doll – perfect in every way…. just like every single newborn is. Each and every one of them are miracles and fortunately for me, I am able to capture, through my lens, these wonderful moments for parents to forever treasure!

What photographer/s inspire you? Again, Kristen from Son Kissed Photography. She’s just amazing all around. I have several other photographers whose work I like to see every day. I still feel like I’m trying to find my true style. Sometime I love color and other times, I find myself only wanting to shoot neutral colors so I tend to be drawn to photographers that use a lot of neutral tones in their work.

What do you do to challenge yourself? Perfect a pose I’m having difficulties with. If I can’t get it right, I go back and “study” this pose.. then try it again until I’ve got it nailed. I also like to try variations of poses to get something new and different instead of the same pose every time.

What tips do you have for balancing work and family? Umm, this is something I personally struggle with. My business takes up a lot of my time. It’s hard being a mom of 8 kids and running my own business. Now that my two youngest are entering the pre-school years, I will be homeschooling them at home. I will need to find a good equal balance of my business and my family that I will be happy with. I will be setting up hours that I will only allow myself to work. After those hours are up, I will be concentrating on teaching my kids and being a mom/wife to my family. I think being very firm to my hours will make the biggest difference on a finding a good equal balance and having a happy family/career.

Anything you would like to add for our readers? I can’t say it enough… don’t compare yourself to others. It’s so easy to get discouraged when you do. Be true to your own style and passion. If you only love newborns, then only shoot newborns. If you have a style you love, let it shine in your work. Allow yourself to shoot what you love the most!


Thanks again to Denise O’Donnell owner of Newborn Daydreams Photography for the interview. You inspire me with your work daily. “Like” Newborn Daydreams Photography on facebook and let her inspire you too!