NAPCP August 2018 Issue of Inspired Magazine

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Featuring Heather Crowder of Heather Crowder Photography Studio



Instafaves and #NAPCPB2SCHOOL: Featured Images

Free Printable Lunch Box Notes, NAPCP Gatherings, Our Top 100 Featured Artists and More!

Endless summer, take us there.

Back to school is here for some, while others are still going to the beach, and this issue of

Inspired is as delicious as a scoop of cold ice cream! As you listen to the birds sing, relish in a few more weeks of burgers sizzling on the grill, and begin adding to that crazy fall schedule, we want you to feel alive and happy heading into fall. Let’s get back to our routines together!

Heather Crowder, of Heather Crowder Photography Studio, is your August feature

photographer! Heather tells us she’s a “serial entrepreneur” and that she loves the “3-6 year-old crowd”. This dynamic and outgoing mother of two has a fascinating and fun personal history that makes her one of the most interesting photographers we know and love. Heather calls Maryland home and eagerly shares her “business first” model with our members, through hosting Marketing Mondays segments. It’s easy to see why clients and fellow photographers alike adore Heather!

Our Inspired by NAPCP Gallery Event & Print Competition finalists are announced. All of the

beautiful Top 100 images have been printed, and words of affirmation and encouragement are flowing on blogs, Facebook Pages, Instagram, and of course in the NAPCP Member Community. Not only will the winning images be selected live at the Inspired by NAPCP Gallery Event, but the artists whose work is being exhibited will be able to attend the reception in person at Atlanta’s Park Studios, on August 23rd. We invite you to join us in Atlanta on August 23rd. The NAPCP gallery event will be held from 7 to 9 pm in the evening, at Park Studios, and the exhibition is open to all!

Speaking of enjoying each other’s company, run on over to the NAPCP Gatherings page on our

website. Fall Gatherings will be happening around the world from September 11th through September 18th! If you’ve never gathered together with your fellow creatives and NAPCP members, let our dynamic community help you pursue your dreams. NAPCP Gatherings provide a perfect opportunity to connect with an accountability partner or mentor! Join us for a Gathering in your area!

Finally, we want you to snag all the back-to-school freebies and printables available on the

NAPCP website. These goodies were imagined and designed just for you by the NAPCP design team! Visit the site, click, download, print, and make your family feel oh-so-special with loving lunchbox notes and more.

You are our sunshine! The NAPCP Team 2 | NAPCP Inspired Magazine August 2018

TA BL E O F CO NTE N TS Pg. 4 ................... Free Printable Lunch Box Notes Pg. 5 ........................................What’s Happening Pg. 6 .....Featured Photographer Heather Crowder

Pg. 32 .............................Top 100 Featured Artists Pg. 34 ...................NAPCP Inspired Gallery Event Pg. 36 ......................................#NAPCPB2School

Pg. 37 .............................Sept NAPCP Gatherings Pg. 38 .....................Back To School Picture Time! Pg. 41 ....................................Marketing Mondays Pg. 42 .................................... #NAPCPInstaFaves Pg. 43 ..................................Membership Benefits







right now Join us on Thursday and celebrate the Inspired by NAPCP Gallery Event featured artists and their Top 100 images. View, be inspired, and commune with other creatives in our beautiful white space.

september 11th - 18th Our next NAPCP Gatherings. Mark your calendars!

September 2018 Download the Santa Session Marketing Set and get your sessions booked!

November 2018

Share your favorite fall photo session on the NAPCP blog.

NAPCP Inspired Magazine August 2018 | 5


Images by Heather Crowder of Heather Crowder Photography Studio

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eather Crowder lives in her hometown of Annapolis, Maryland,

with her husband, 2 spirited daughters, and their Jack Russell Terrier mix, Maisy. Heather has been a professional photographer for over a decade! In addition to photographing children, families, and professionals in the mid-Atlantic area, she is the owner of The Lightbox Studio, a multi-use portrait studio, creative space, and venue in the heart of the Annapolis Arts District. A serial entrepreneur for over 20 years, Heather takes a “business first” approach to photography. She will soon be breathing life into with the purpose of sharing with other photographers the success she has had in the school pictures genre! In the rare time that Heather isn’t working or playing “taxi”, she loves being outside, working in the garden, coaching her girls’ lacrosse team, and staying active.

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AT A GLANC BEHIND 1. Started photographing? Mid-90s. My early days were spent shooting underwater on a Nikonos V, shooting slide film and underwater video. 2. Officially opened business? 2007. I’m in my 3rd studio since 2010. 3. Favorite camera? Canon MKiv 4. Lens of choice? Canon 70-200 2.8II 5. Favorite lab? Queensberry, and Musea

Heather Crowder

6. Favorite framer? Frame Shoppe (local to me)

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7. Favorite subject to photograph? I love the 3-6 year old crowd. 8. Favorite musician? Spotify. Haha. Seriously, I’ve changed my answer four times since I started thinking about it. 9. Recent favorite read? The Light We Lost, by Jill Santopolo 10. Favorite client product? Miller’s Signature Albums in Deep Matte 11. 3 things you can’t live without? Nespresso machine, vacation, and the time in the morning when no one else is up and my house is quiet. These three things combined amount to sheer bliss.


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Congratulations on being our featured photographer this month, Heather! Tell us a little about yourself and how you got started as a professional photographer. Thank you so much. I am truly honored to be featured! The talent in this group is immeasurable and I love how readily success is shared and supported. My path to becoming a professional photographer is similar to many in that it was birth-of-my-first-childinspired, but at the same time different because photography played an indirect role in my ‘previous life’. Long before having children I owned and operated a specialty retail scuba diving business here in Annapolis, MD for 15 years - we sold and rented equipment, taught lessons, and best of all, led groups of new and experienced divers all over the world. In addition to being a scuba instructor, I also served as tour guide for many of these trips, and a popular part of traveling to remote and exotic destinations was underwater photography. Many of our clients were avid photographers, so I had to get on board and learn alongside them, on a Nikonos V camera with Velvia slide film. We’d go on a dive, shoot our roll of 36, then drop it off at the processing counter (many of our resorts had same-day service, which is crazy because some of these places barely had airports) and excitedly wait to see how many ‘keepers’ we had from the roll. I loved photographing creatures underwater, but what I started to find was that I was doing a lot more topside photography of our clients - not portraits really - but a combo of candid and posed photos in front of amazing things like the Sphinx, temples in Bali, etc., as well as just hanging out on the dive boat. NAPCP Inspired Magazine August 2018 | 13

When digital photography came into play, I’d spend evenings in my berth downloading images to a laptop and creating slideshows for the trip’s end, and gift that to our guests. I LOVED capturing all of the personality, fun, happiness of being where we were in the world, and of course the response from our clients was fantastic. Here’s where the story takes ‘the usual turn’. When our first daughter was born in 2006, I realized very quickly that traveling the world scuba diving, coupled with the responsibility and hours of owning a retail store, was not a good fit for our family, and we sold the business. Eleven years later, here we are. Where would you like to see yourself in 5-10 years? Very simply, more diversified. I’m more than a decade into this business, and a person who believes very strongly in setting your course and making it happen; the ebb and flow within the industry does come into play. I saw it in my previous business as the internet and online shopping started to get a foothold; it had a huge impact on small business retail. It’s no secret that our industry has become flooded with photographers, charging little-tonothing for what they do, and whether we like it or not, it’s having an impact on perceived value in the eyes of our clients. Sure, we can educate clients about how we’re different, offer the highest level

of service and IPS, and work hard to find a niche that appreciates premium quality, but there’s no denying that we’re all feeling a shift. I’ve now been a self-employed small business owner for 25+ years and can say that the public can be a wacky animal, and the business owner is the one that has to do the adapting. Seeing our industry shift and change over the past few years, I’ve tried to adapt ‘in advance’ by educating myself in new genres and offering something unique that not-every-other-photographerin-the-park is offering. Our headshot and commercial business now represents more than 50% of our portrait business, and even larger than that is the growth of school pictures for us. I started offering school pictures on a bit of a whim in 2009, as an avenue to get to a target market that I desperately wanted. I found out very quickly that as a genre on it’s own it’s an extremely profitable niche. We now work with a number of schools and for the first time in 2 years, are pursuing new schools in our area. I absolutely love photographing children in this way, love the freedom it offers to spend more time with my family, and enjoy the fact that no one in my area is offering anything like it.

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Additionally, I moved into my current studio last February, with the idea of it creating its own revenue stream. We’re all familiar with the amazing Park Studios that NAPCP cofounders Alice and Kyu have built! When I first saw Alice post about it, I was in final lease negotiation on my space, with a very similar idea to create a multi-use, gorgeous white studio, that could serve a variety of creatives and others. Seeing Alice doing something so similar, and knowing that she is a brilliant businesswoman, my idea was validated (phew!) and The Lightbox Studio opened its doors. I’d like to further grow the studio as a venue, and continue to expand on the variety of clients who are booking it. Personally, I’m developing a course to share our Modern School Pictures method with other photographers. I’ve wanted to scale this part of the business for years, and can do so to an extent in my own area, but I’d love to see other photographers capitalize on this niche and kick traditional tacky school photos to the curb. You photograph a little bit of everything (everyone!). Why have you chosen not to specialize? I do and I don’t ... In 2016 I quietly started declining things that I didn’t want to shoot anymore, and for me, that started with newborns. I know, I know ... some of you LOVE them, and you’re BRILLIANT in the images you create of them, but I just can’t, don’t love it, and decided I’m done. I didn’t post “I don’t photograph newborns”, we just said we were booked, pulled newborn images off of the website, and then people stopped inquiring about them. I will photograph babies once they are sitting up unassisted. I was terrified of making that change but we never missed a beat, and my fear that I’d never book any older children if I didn’t get them as newborns was totally unfounded. I also don’t photograph maternity as its own genre, likely because it goes hand-in-hand with newborns, and we don’t show it in any of our portfolios. We photograph 3 distinct niches: children/families (studio and on-location), professional headshots (primarily studio), and school pictures. I shoot what I love and I show what I shoot, and letting go of everything else was not only freeing but also profitable, because I’m now at my best when shooting. Over the next 5-10 years I want to focus on these areas, and offer clients the highest level of service that we can. I’m really enjoying the shift to shooting more in the studio, and for a lot of clients, even though they love natural light on-location sessions, they’re enjoying what now feels unique in contemporary studio sessions.

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You’re becoming a Marketing Mondays regular and a very well-known face and name to NAPCP members. What drives you to share so generously, and what do you expect your fellow photographers to take away from your teaching? I LOVE Marketing Mondays! What I love sharing most is the business angle of everything we do. I am a business person first, photographer second, and that was true in my previous business as well. I studied the most successful folks in that industry, tried to dissect what set them apart, and then put my spin on the principles of what made them great. Be different, raise the bar higher, offer what others aren’t. In my old world, similar businesses in my area offered trips to the Florida Keys. We went to Egypt. People taught group lessons, we offered a private oneon-one option. Today, clients want a headshot. We’ll bring in a hair and make-up team and offer them a mimosa while they’re waiting. Cheesy school pictures? No way! We create images you can use on your holiday card. The principles are the same -- find what makes you special and MOST importantly, don’t be afraid to charge a premium for it. I love to reverse engineer all that we do to see it from the client’s perspective, and also figure out where the hiccups are going to be. Amy Smith (fabulous Florida photographer) said it well: “The peeps are tricky.” I say that all the time. How do we give them what they want, on our terms? That’s always my first question. I’m the one that asks, “What did you do wrong? Where were your mistakes?” to the speaker at a workshop. I LOVE to teach and explain the “why” behind what we do. If you understand the why, you can make it work for your business. We’ve all been at a place where we’re starting something new, and it can feel so overwhelming. Wouldn’t it be nice to have a playbook? I love to share my knowledge and experience because if I can save one person time, aggravation, or from a misstep that costs them money or time, or their sanity, it’s a win for me. I think that a lot of people in the creative world see themselves first as photographer, artist, florist ... but if it’s more than your hobby, you’re a business person first. I hope that when I’m teaching, members feel like they’re learning to apply business principles to their photography. I may be talking about the specifics of shooting, or gear, or posing, but I can promise you that the reasoning behind whatever I’m doing is 100% business driven. What do I hope fellow photographers have as a take away? Make my day. Ask me, “Why?”, and then take what I teach and make it work for you, your style, and what you love to shoot and sell. Regardless of genre, shooting style, etc., the business principles are the same.

Thank you so much, Heather! 20 | NAPCP Inspired Magazine August 2018

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Heather’s Studio

L I G H T B OX S T U D I O 2 0 9 We s t S t r e e t # 1 0 1 , A n n a p o l i s , M D 2 1 4 0 1

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Three Tips F O R M A K I NG M O R E H O U R S I N T H E DAY by Heather Crowder

1- Set a Timer. Give yourself an allotted time to accomplish something and you’ll do it. We tend to ‘fill’ the time we have. The same task can take 15 minutes or 90 minutes depending on the time you’ve given yourself to complete it.

2- Outsource. You really don’t have to do it all yourself. Make a list of what needs to be done, note the things that HAVE to be done by you, and outsource or delegate the rest.

3- Systems. Everything we do in our business (and at home in many cases) can be systemized. The E-Myth Revisited is one of my favorite business books; it challenges you to find ways to systemize.

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We visited Heather’s Instagram feed and gathered some of our favorite captures.



Follow her at to see more beautiful imagery!


3 0 | N A P BODY: C P I n s p iCANON r e d M a g 5D a z i nMKIV e A u g uLENSES: st 2018

CANON 24-70 2.8 L CANON 70-200 2.8 L


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Congratulations to our featured artists

Alexandria Neoh | Alison Winterroth | Amanda Anderson | Amanda Dams | Andrea Godfrey | Andria Grodzinsky | Ashley McBroom | Ashley Soeder | Caitlin Lemieux | Cami Turpin | Carolyn Ann Ryan | Clare Ahalt | Debbie Sprague | Diana Unanyan | Diogo Loureiro | Emily Vaccaro | Erin Borzellino | Erin Clayton | Heather Eijzenga | Heather Nyapas | Heather Rodburg | Holly Young | Jenn Di Spirito | Jennifer Evans | Jennifer Jackson | Jenny Perry | Jenny Sciortino | Jessica Lynch | Katherine Jackson | Katie Rain | Kimberly Tank | Kristie Bradley | Krystal Reeves | Lisa Zhao | Marcela Limon | Marena Rudy | Marisa McDonald | Mary Okner | Maryam Salassi | Megan Drane | Melissa Pereira | Mercedes Elizondo | Molly Garg | Pam Bell | Pamela Salai | Ricardo Silva | Rya Duncklee | Sandy Summers Russell | Saren Cassotto | Sharon Neves | Sheena Magnesen | Tamara Gonzalez | Tina Krafts | Tracy Sweeney | Ute-Christin Cowan | Vanessa Berzak | Willy Wilson

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sponsored by


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Come, Join Us! The Top 100 images have been chosen and we’re getting ready for the Gallery Event at Park Studios, where the winners will be announced LIVE!

We hope you can all join us for a spectacular evening celebrating the work and accomplishments of these amazing artists.

WHEN August 23, 2018 TIME 7pm – 9pm WHERE Park Studios 690 Miami Circle, Suite 600 Atlanta, GA 30324 *Drinks and light hors d’oeuvres will be served.*




#NAPCPB2SCHOOL Some of our favorite images from the August @NAPCP tag on Instagram. Stay tuned for our September tag and keep tagging #NAPCPB2SCHOOL for your chance to get featured in our feed!



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September 11th-18th

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BACK TO SCHOOL: SCHOOL PICTURE TIME! How to Get Your Weekends, Evenings, and Sanity Back During Busy Season by Heather Crowder

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Fall is around the corner and a lot comes to mind for many of us … the endless school supply shopping list, dreaming of packing Pinterest-worthy lunches and squeezing in all of the fun that we can before the alarm clock rings on that first day of school.

For child and family photographers, fall also means

something else: BUSY SEASON! (Cue background shrieking!)

Fall portrait season can feel like a blessing and a curse

school that would put me 150% into a target market I

to on-location photographers, especially those who are

wanted to be in front of.

geographically seasonal. We feel like we have to ‘make it while we can’ from September-December. When the last

Photographing the children of clients in a great target

leaf has fallen and we’re enveloped by cold, dreary skies,

market piqued my interest so I thought through all

often our phone doesn’t ring as often as we’d like it to. What

those negatives and more. ”I can photograph them in

that can mean to many is saying, “yes, yes, yes ...” and, “no,

my style”, “I can find a happy price point to make this

no, no ...” at the same time. Yes to shooting evenings, yes

commodity-style shooting profitable”, ”I can find a

to weekend mini-session marathons, and yes to late-night

great little spot on campus and shoot outdoors with

editing. Unfortunately, this means, “no” is often directed to

natural light”, and best of all at this particular time, “I

Saturday soccer games, an evening boat ride with friends, or

can do all of this on April mornings when MY CHILDREN

bedtime books, because there’s a family waiting to be edited

ARE IN SCHOOL!” I had the luxury of offering my first

on the computer in your home office. Raise your hand if,

go at school photography during my off-season, so it

when fall rolls around, you’ve found yourself feeling like a

created an opportunity to experiment a bit. Because I

hamster on a wheel!

wasn’t really photographing clients during that time of year anyway, I didn’t have anything to lose. This gamble

For the past several years I’m happy to say I’ve been able to

paid off and then some!

shift, with a niche that has given me some of my weekends and evenings back, AND made many many parents and

I put aside everything I thought about traditional school

school administrators very happy: Contemporary School

photography and did my own thing; from that, Modern


School Pictures was born. I’ve been photographing that same school every spring for the past 10 seasons,

Believe me when I say I NEVER thought I would be a school

and have taken on additional schools as well. I now

photographer. “School photography is cheesy”, “School

photograph about 1,000 children per year, in the school

photography is cheap”, ”I’m a natural light photographer”.

setting, and love it! School administrators are happy

These are just a few of the negative ideas I had about offering

because they are offering parents something unique,

school pictures. There was no way was I going to take photos

high-end and high quality, and parents are thrilled

that end up on Facebook as the shareable meme of the day!

because they have images they can be excited about

Then, I was presented with an opportunity to photograph a

purchasing. We cast aside every assumption about what

NAPCP Inspired Magazine August 2018 | 39

school photography should be, and do things our own way. There are no paper order forms, no ordering without seeing

There are no paper order forms, no ordering without

and loving the images first, no ridiculous proofs with eyes closed or looking in the wrong direction. It’s like nothing parents and schools have seen before!

seeing and loving the images first, no ridiculous proofs with eyes closed or looking in the wrong direction. It ’s like nothing parents and schools have seen before!

Back to busy season. How does this relate? I learned very quickly that the school pictures business is a game of averages: average number of children photographed per hour, average sale per child, average sale per hour, etc., and have used those numbers to my advantage. I can now estimate, before I ever photograph a school, what my revenue will be. This takes the pressure off of feeling like I have to say yes to every inquiry. I can essentially ‘trade’ shooting weekends and evenings because I know my school photography revenue will offset what those sessions would have generated. I’m still very actively shooting portrait sessions in the fall, but more on my terms and feeling less like I have to work around the clock. In the earlier days, when I wasn’t as busy with family portraits as I am now, my school pictures clients BECAME portrait clients. These families saw a sample of my work and then hired me to photograph their families.

There is so much more I could say about the reasons why I Heather Crowder is lead photographer at Heather Crowder Portrait Studio in Annapolis, MD. In addition, she’s the owner

love this genre. The children are so much fun to work with in their school setting. I love the pace that it moves and my ability to bring out the expressions that I want. Being able to capture it all quickly and efficiently has increased so much with practice, and that helps me with all of my

of The Lightbox Studio and

sessions. Best of all, I know the joy it brings to parents.

will soon be bringing

The fact that I get to see the same kiddos year after year to life

as they grow, along with their siblings, is amazing. We all

to help photographers add this

get to experience that with our returning portrait clients, but imagine that feeling multiplied by 1,000! Make parents

genre to their business!

happy! Get your weekends and evenings back, and add a VERY profitable niche to your portrait business!

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# N A P C P I N S TA FAV E S The images of these amazing photographers caught our eye in August. Visit them on Instagram and follow along! Tag #NAPCP on Instagram and you may see your work in a future issue of Inspired.



























winning image by Emilia Gray

Membership Benefits Read about NAPCP and see the many benefits of NAPCP membership, on our site. Download freebies and preview member-exclusive videos; get to know the heart of our association! LEARN MORE

Please visit or email us at with questions or inquiries. CLICK HERE TO PRINT THIS ISSUE

NAPCP Inspired Magazine August 2018 | 43

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