Posts Tagged ‘inside look at professional photographer’

We hope you enjoyed part one of our Marcy Maloy interview on our blog from February 16th. Marcy just returned from her fabulous trip from Paris and was able to speak to us further about some of reader questions about how she found her talent for photography, getting a “D” in art class, her inspiration, and some of the rewarding factors in photographing children. Read more to find out!


What is the most rewarding factor in photographing children’s fashion?
Marcy: I realized fairly quickly that I had a special rapport with kids…we seem to speak the same language. I can look into the eyes of a baby and make a wordless connection. That is very cool and rewarding. I love to play. I love making up non-sensical scenes and stories with kids and it doesn’t matter to them (or to me) if they don’t make sense. So that is fun.

I like making people happy, and when it all works and the child feels confident and empowered, the parents are proud, my client is happy, my crew feels tight and proud of a job well done, it’s really wonderful — the exhilarating euphoric sense we all have at the end of a shoot…and that is rewarding!

Tell us about yourself – how did you get into photography or what was your calling? And how many years have you been a photographer?
Marcy: It’s odd because I didn’t realize I was “artistic” or visually inclined in any way till I was almost 30! I took a required art class in high school, but got a “D” because I talked too much in class! I had no interest in painting or light…it’s strange because I have such a passion for it now. I was a stewardess with American Airlines for 5 years and then worked at the US Embassy in Paris for the DIA. It was there that a friend loaned me his camera for a whole day and told me to just go shoot and “play”…a strange concept for me because growing up, my parents would only take 1 or 2 pictures at a time on special occasions. I shot 2 rolls of film and I was hooked! I’ll never forget the moment when I went to pick up my film at the Photo Lab on Boulevard St. Germain and the French woman said in her very thick accent. “I sink you have a verrrry gooooode eye!” that was it…that was my turning point…From that moment on I decided I was now going  to be a photographer…whatever that meant…I wasn’t sure…but I definitely decided it was for me!

I spent 3 years at the Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara and came to San Francisco to begin my new life…but that is another chapter.

Give us an inside look into your studio – can you share a picture of your studio and can you describe it?
Marcy: Up until about 10 years ago I had a 2,000 square foot studio, but then because of the .com industry, my studio rent doubled overnight and I realized I didn’t really need a big studio. Now I run my business out of my office out of my home in San Francisco and I rent a large studio when I need one. I have a full time studio manager and I hire freelancers to be my photo assistants on an as needed basis.

For very small jobs I have a large room with high ceilings in my house that works fine.

This photo was taken in my living room/studio.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to become a professional photographer today?
Marcy: Stick to the part of photography that makes you most happy because passion for something really does give you the fuel you need to keep going…and keep a positive attitude.

When we are preparing the lighting in the studio I use a stand-in…here is my assistant Charles throwing “Bridget” up in the air. The ramp he is sitting on is to create a feeling of a hill for the little boy (top photo) to run down.

 My Dad always told me that the key to success was just to “get out of bed in the morning and get to work! Keep at it!”



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Marcy and a Le Top model

The Le Top brand is known for working with vendors for years – one person we adore working with is our fashion photographer extraordinaire, Marcy Maloy. She photographs our seasonal campaigns but is also now part of the “Le Top family.” Marcy was on her way to Paris and we were able to squeeze out some of her time to interview her and give you and inside look from a photographer’s eyes on her passion for her career and photographing children. Read below for Part #1 of the interview. Tomorrow will be Part 2!

What advice can you offer parents for the top 3-5 tips on how to photograph a child? Portrait and snapshot.

  1. Always be ready!!! i.e. parents should keep their camera very accessible at all times. Most digital cameras are small so no excuses…Keep it in your purse or in the kitchen or just always nearby…and make sure the batteries are charged.  Special moments come and go quickly.
  2. Don’t direct your child. They will probably start hamming it up anyway, ruining a perfectly great moment…but if you just ignore them, they will usually go back to doing what they were doing. 
  3. Never ask your child’s permission to take his or photo.  Just start snapping without making a big deal of it and if they complain ignore them.  The idea is to try to get them to forget you and go back into their world so you can get something special. If you take enough photos it will be like a reality show and they will eventually forget that you are documenting their lives…and remember, some of the most priceless moments are when they are crying or have a dirty face or are mad at you. I used to shoot my daughters when they were mad at me or at something, and that would make them Really Mad!!  I got some priceless moments.

What do you find challenging at a children’s photo shoot?
The thing I find most challenging at a photo shoot is taking the energy of the room and the parents down so that I can get the child calm enough to capture a magical moment. Many times the parents are so nervous that their child won’t do “good” that they have ironically created a “no win” situation. Sometimes I will catch a parent off camera hissing at their kid to do “what the lady says.”

Tell us your most funny “stage mom” moment (a.k.a. crazy mom or parent trying to get their child to pose or do something funny).
The most hysterical funny moment I remember is when I looked just behind me and a determined Dad was actually doing a somersault on the concrete floor to get his daughter to laugh! It was incredible! I asked him to please stop, the child is terrified, and has no idea why or what’s going on or why their parents are acting so weird. I can’t ban a parent from the set especially if a child is young. Because the presence of their mom or dad is a calming factor, even though the parent is actually the nervous one.


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