For this weeks edition of the Lunch Break Interview Series I had the pleasure of interviewing Rachel Matson from Rachel Marie Photography in New Mexico!
Rachel is a wife and mother to four kids. She is a photographer and loves being a mom. When she isn’t snuggling her own babies, she is snuggling her client’s babies!
“As a photographer, specializing in maternity and newborns, it’s my job to snuggle them. Along with safely pose and photograph them.” -Rachel
Rachel says that she is living her dream! She has a background of eight years as a nurse tech in Mother Baby and NICU which has helped her photography business.
“I am referred to as the baby whisperer and I love it! Every free moment I get is poured into my business and strengthening my skills as a newborn photographer. The other moments are spent with my family or being team mom for football season.” -Rachel
What is your favorite thing about being a mother?
My favorite thing about being a mother is watching my kids grow and their personalities, strengths and minds all work together. My kids range from 12-2 so it’s constantly changing but their personalities just become more obvious as they get older. We have always taught them to be kind no matter what, and while they may try to kill each other (my older 3 are boys and fight like cats and dogs) most of the time they are always well behaved, thoughtful and kind. Its so rewarding to see your hard work as a parent come to fruition.
How do you balance family time with your business?
I am still trying to figure this one out but so far I carve out about 3 hours a day (on days I don’t have a session or other appointments) for blogging, editing, responding to texts or emails and working on social media stuff. But my life is pretty chaotic. I have 4 kids, 3 boys and one girl. My older 2 boys play football and we are in season now (which is also busy season for my business) and I am one of the team moms for one of my son’s teams that my husband is the head coach for. Add in school for the older 3 and appointments for my daughter who has some medical stuff going on, on top of regular every day life things like laundry, dishes and cooking I really don’t have much time for anything else. While football is in season we really get a lot of family time together but when it’s not we really just try to enjoy each others company each day. We are basically always together which I am so thankful for!
How did you get started as a photographer?
I got started in photography at a young age as my grandfather is a photographer with a dark room in his garage. I remember watching him take photos regularly, walking down the halls that were filled with amazing portraits of my dad and aunts my sister and I would always play in his office with his old film cameras… But it wasn’t until about 5 years ago that I purchased my first DSLR (Digital single-lens reflex fancy words for saying a digital camera which combines the use of the lens and camera instead of it being film) to solely take photos of my children. I was basically obsessed with all things photography, reading, learning, practicing, posing and editing. It quickly became obvious to me that this was a my life’s passion and was so deep in my roots. I began photographing my friends and family and my sons football games. It literally snowballed from there. It wasn’t until early 2014 that I photographed my first newborn session, I was immediately hooked!
Wow! You are so talented! I can’t believe you just started photographing 5 years ago! That is such a precious memory of your grandfather. Did he ever give you any advice or anything that has helped you along the way?
We have had several chats about photography. His generation of photography is completely different from mine so mostly we talk about light, composition and stuff like that. I have actually schooled him a bit on the new technology Lol!
What made you choose this specific business?
I actually never saw my self as a professional photographer with a business and studio. I really enjoyed doing it as a hobby and didn’t want it to become more ‘work’ than pleasure. But last year in July I learned that my job as a NICU/Mother baby nurse tech would come to an end as our NICU was closing and they weren’t keeping the nurse techs or nurses for the NICU. I was offered to go to a different unit in the hospital which I declined because it didn’t feel right. It rocked my world and changed everything for me. It opened my eyes to the possibilities and business goals. So to answer the question, I suppose God led this path for me to be a photographer and all of the hardship that has come with has only strengthened my love for it.
Looking back now, are you thankful your previous job came to an end?
I am SO thankful! While I miss working with my friends and with the newborn and preemie population, I feel like I am right where I need to be. I would have never taken the leap had it not been done for me. I see a future of going back to work when my kids are all in school but being my own boss is something that works for our family right now.
How does your medical background help you as a newborn and maternity photographer?
I have about 8 years as a medical assistant and nurse tech working directly with newborns, pregnant moms and postpartum moms and honestly had I not had the experience I do I would have never felt comfortable to do a newborn session in the first place. You see, newborns have a completely different anatomy than adults and I learned all about that while caring for newborns in the hospital. Having to check their vitals, bathe them, draw blood and help them eat or feed them taught me so much and really how to be confident in handling a newborn. While all of those things I did as a nurse tech were normal for newborns to go through being posed for photos is not a typical thing you’d expect for a newborn to have to do. So having the background I have has helped me understand how to keep newborns safe while posing them in ways to showcase their features and create art for their families to look back on for years and year. There is so much more to the safety its also keeping baby settled and soothed as newborn have reflexes that can sometimes keep them awake and unsettled, and having the understanding of all of this really helps me be successful.
I admire the knowledge and passion you have for this business. Do you ever get frustrated with newborns?
Thank you! I really don’t ever get frustrated. I am told by so many parents that I have the most patience they have ever seen! Which is funny because in my personal life I don’t consider my self very patient. But when it comes to posing and soothing newborns its something I am very relaxed about. Newborns feed off of your energy so if they feel you getting upset they will only get more upset. I also find the challenge very rewarding by being able to create images for families to cherish for a lifetime. Its really what’s on my mind during a session. Newborns are completely in control of how the session goes. If a newborn is very gassy or fussy I will adjust posing to what is comfortable for them. I have only had to reschedule a couple of sessions in the 5 years of doing this.
What is the hardest thing about photographing newborns? Are you concerned about the mother’s wellness during a photo shoot?
There are so many things that go into a session and the main one is ensuring the newborns safety. During my sessions I am constantly on high alert for anything from baby spitting up, hands and feet getting good circulation while wrapped, head and neck support and keeping them calm. All the other things like the set ups, poses and colors come last. I wouldn’t say its hard but definitely challenging at times.
You wear so many hats! How do you stay positive through it all? Do you have any advice for busy parents who want to start their own business?
I have my moments of comparing my self to other artists or moms. I think we all do it and I have learned to quickly pull my self back to reality because “comparison is the thief of joy.” So when in my moments of not feeling like I am enough I give my self the opportunity to either fix the things I am not happy with or to move on, because worrying fixes NOTHING. I think the biggest thing about wearing so many hats that gets to me is that it all goes so fast, so from time to time I have to make sure I am getting time for my self to soak it all in. Time to care for my self (which is hard to do when you’re a mom) and time to work out issues on my own.
“My advice would be, JUST DO IT! In my opinion if we all waited for the ‘right’ time to do anything nothing would get done! There is no need to have a decorated office or “all the things” you think it takes to start. Just do it. You will figure out what needs to be adjusted and what can be eliminated. Follow your passion and don’t worry about the rest.” -Rachel
I had a great time interviewing Rachel! I came across her Instagram before I was pregnant with my third baby. Her page definitely increased my baby fever! Next month she’ll be photographing my son and I cannot wait! Rachel’s work is absolutely gorgeous.