Monday, February 20, 2012

Interview and Giveaway with Photographer Michaela Wickman

A few months back, shortly after I'd signed the contract for my debut novel, Sanctuary for a Lady, I found myself in need of a self portrait for promotional purposes. Not the picture I'd been using that my husband had taken with his cell phone one day. Oh no. I wanted the real deal. You know, the kind where you actually drive to a studio and pay someone to take it. In most places across the U.S. getting a portrait taken wouldn't be a problem, but considering I live in North-of-Nowhere, 60-miles-from-the-closest-fastfood-restaraunt, northern Michigan, I had a bit of a conundrum. How was I going to find a good photographer?

So I went to the internet, and looked at some of the pictures on Michaela Wickman's website.
Then my mouth fell open and I said, "She does NOT live only two hours from me. That's way too close. Certainly she lives in some major city where she charges an exorbitant fee for her wonderful pictures." But as I contacted Michaela, I learned that not only did she live within driving distance, but she also had two kids under five and worked from home. So of course, after she took the wonderful pictures you see below (plus a few dozen others) I had to interview her for Making Home Work.
Me

My husband and boys

Hi! Michaela, Tell me a bit about your family. How many children do you have, and how old are they?

I have two kids. My son Lincoln is 2 1/2, and my daughter Sawyer just turned one.

Wow, two little ones so close in age must keep you really busy. Why did you choose to work from home rather than find a job elsewhere?

It’s a give and take. I enjoy staying home with my kids, but enjoy working as well. I wanted to work part-time, and finding a really amazing part-time job that also covers the cost of day care for two children is hard to come by.

It sounds like you found a good balance with your photography business. What is the most challenging aspect of working from home while raising children?

Time management! I try to get most of my work done while they are napping, but how long of a nap they will take is always a bit unpredictable. If I don’t get everything on my ‘to-do’ list done, I find myself staying up late in the evenings trying to finish.

Oh yes, I can relate to that. I except I'm the opposite and I get up early in the morning to catch up on my work. What challenges do working from home present to your marriage, and how do you compensate?

As I mentioned above, the time management of working from home has been my biggest challenge. I don’t have set office hours and find myself constantly doing some sort of work related task in the evenings when the kids have gone to bed. My husband and I make plans to hang out when we are both home. I stop what I’m doing at a certain time. I try to keep my work Mon-Fri and dedicate weekends to family. I often have sessions on the weekends, but none of the editing gets done until the week.

I struggle with the same thing sometime. You want to spend time with your family, but when you've got a pile of work in front of you, sometimes it's so hard to know when to draw the line and stop working. If you could start all over again, what would you do differently? What would you do the same?

I think I would have set up my own office area sooner. For a long time I’d use our dining room table as my ‘work’ area. No wonder I felt like I could hardly get things done! Several months ago I set up a working space in our basement. I feel very productive now. It helps having photos I love surrounding the desk space, a dry erase board with my ‘to-do’s’ on it, and all of my files and folders right next to me in my ‘own’ space.

Now I'm jealous. I've been writing for three and a half years, and I still work at our kitchen table. Enjoy that office space, Michaela! What keeps you home instead of having an outside career? Is it worth it?

It is SO worth it! I love what I do and am passionate about it. My ‘job’ never feels like work to me.

If someone is interested in getting started in home-based photography, what are the first two things you recommend they do?

There are so many amazing and FREE online resources for those interested in honing their photography skills. Just Google ‘photography forums’ and a bunch will pop up. There are some talented photographers who willingly dedicate their time and talent on these forums to help those just starting out. The book ‘Understanding Exposure’ by Bryan Peterson is a must read.

Thanks so much for interviewing with us today, Michaela. Michaela will be back again on Wednesday with some photography business basics. To see more of Michaela's photographs or learn more Michaela Wickman Photography and her photography packages, check out her website.

Giveaway: For our giveaway this week, Michaela and I teamed up to purchase a gift card to Canvas on Demand. This is an online photography site that puts a digital picture on a canvas backing, making your picture look like an oil painting. So if you want a new twist for that latest family photo before you hang it on the wall, this gift card might be perfect for you. To enter, head on over to Michaela Wickman Photography's facebook page and click 'like' (which you'll want to do so you can see all the great pictures she's constantly posting on there). Then come back here and leave a comment with your email address letting me know you liked Michaela's page. The giveaway will end on Saturday, February 25, at midnight.

Photo credits: All photographs taken by Michaela Wickman and used with permission. The copy of the canvas photograph came from Canvas on Demand and is used in under the "fair use" guidelines.

22 comments:

  1. Wow, Michaela, you have such awesome photos!! Photography is on my "someday I'll learn about that" list. =) Would LOVE to be good at it, but I'm just not, LOL. Yet, anyway. ;-)

    I liked the Facebook page, both really and in button form. ;-) Such adorable baby pictures!

    I usually end up in the living room with my work--I have office space but a terrible, terrible chair and no room for a good one, so my laptop inevitably travels with me to somewhere more comfortable. Having the space, though, is nice when you need that set time/place for Work. With a capital W.

    It was so good to meet you! Thanks for sharing, Naomi!

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    1. I know. Michaela's fb page is not hard to like in the least! Her website's really cute to. Tons of pictures!

      And that's too funny about not using your office. I'm still jealous of everyone who as an office, though.

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  2. Thanks for the information, Michaela. My daughter is just now getting into photography and taking classes--just for her own use--now that she has a baby. Photography has come a long way! Things like we see now weren't an option when my kids were young.

    I liked your page. Great interview, Naomi.

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    1. Best of luck to your daughter, Debbie Lynne!

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  3. I forgot to mention, make sure you leave your email address, so I have a way of notifying the winner. If you win and I don't have a way to contact you, I'll have to pick a different winner.

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  4. Beautiful work! It's so nice to have something you are passionate about that can support your priority of family first. Thank you so much for sharing!
    Stephanie G.
    warriorranch@yahoo.com

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    1. I'm always happy to find young moms who enjoy spending time with their kids. :-)

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  5. Michaela does beautiful work! Your picture is awesome! Thanks for sharing.

    Sherri Shackelford

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    1. Thanks Sherri! I smile every time I see your book cover, btw.

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  6. Thank you call for your lovely comments! :) Good luck with the contest... I absolutely love Canvas on Demand!!

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  7. Love Michaela's work! She is an awesome mom and photographer!

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  8. I love all of Michaela's work. She's amazing. And I've been a fan for a while now. :) bethmc84 at hotmail dot com

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  9. Thanks for stopping by Bethany and Heather! I think I became a fan of Michaela's the moment I stumbled upon her website six months ago. It's terrific stuff. :-)

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  10. What an awesome idea! My daughter is a photographer and would some day LOVE to do more with it. Her first job was at a photo studio when she was 16. She turns 25 today!!! I went to your facebook page. Such cute pictures on there! and your website. Would love to win this! angelmom1165(at)yahoo(dot)come

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  11. Such beautiful photos by Michaela - yours included, Naomi! I loved the ones you posted on FB awhile ago. You have such a beautiful family! And you're so tiny and hubs is sooo tall:) Bet your boys will be tall, too!

    Great interview. Nothing like a PR shot you like! I know just how you feel! Blessings on your and Michaela's beautiful work.

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    1. LOL! Yes, my hubby is tall, and I'm rather short. There's a 13 inch height difference between us. I wore three inch heels for my wedding so we wouldn't look so lopsided in all the pictures, but I still don't think they made a bit of difference. :-)

      Glad you enjoyed the interview and giveaway, Laura.

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  12. Naomi, I wanted to add what an AMAZING giveaway this is! I'm so intrigued and can't wait to see who wins!!

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  13. I liked the page and shared the contest on FB. I love playing photographer. I thought about doing photography on the side, but decided to write instead. Probably could have made better $ the other way, but I'm happy. :)

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    1. Yes, you definitely would have made more $$ in photography, at least starting out. One day, when you're that NYT bestselling author, you might make a comparable salary to a photographer. :-)

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  14. Ohmygoodnessgracious - Ashland, WI is where my MIL grew up and my BIL and SIL and my husband's cousins and aunt and uncle live up there!!! Hoping we will make it through this beautiful area this summer. Gorgeous pics! Thanks for sharing about this, Naomi, and so glad you found a wonderful photographer!

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    1. How fun for you to find someone from Ashland, Carrie. Glad you liked the pics, and Michaela sure is great, isn't she?

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