Patch spoke with Gina Porembski this week to get an in depth look at her photography business. Based out of Levittown and serving all areas of Long Island, Gina Marie Photography specializes in family and lifestyle portraits.
When did you first start your photography business?
I bought my first digital SLR about 4 years ago. I was only photographing my immediate friends and family, but they soon told their friends, who told their friends and I built my business from there.
What first made you want to venture into photography?
I feel like I was that person who always had a camera in my hand. When I went to college while pursuing my BFA in Graphic Design, I took some photography classes and really loved them. I always shot film, but I didn't like waiting for it to be developed. I wanted to see my photos as soon as possible, and when I bought my first digital SLR, I fell in love.
What sort of photography do you specialize in?
I specialize in maternity, newborn, kids and family. There is so much that I love about each session. I love capturing a mother's gentle curve of her pregnant belly, those first newborn smiles, the infectious laugh of a toddler, the love between a family. It's all about family to me. My family means so much to me - they are my biggest inspiration.
How do you think you've seen yourself and your business grow?
I have definitely become more confident in my photography and posing people. It was hard in the beginning. I am not a real bossy person, but you have to be when trying to get someone to look their best in front of the camera. The hardest thing for me to learn was the business side. It's a lot of work to start your own business and keep up with everything. Setting prices and knowing how to get my name out there is a constant struggle.
What is most important to you when working with a client?
Simply, to make them feel comfortable. I want to capture who they really are. I often put the family where I want them, tell them I am testing light and let them interact naturally as I start shooting. I prefer to shoot candidly and get them acting natural rather than stiff poses with forced smiles.
What do you think separates your client service and experience from
I definitely try to make each session very personal. I encourage my clients to use homemade blankets or bring something to a session that describes them so I can focus my session around it. I am always brainstorming ideas, and trying to take my images one step further. I recently shot a maternity session on the beach where I had them wading in the water. I told the mama-to-be to walk in up to her belly. The water was ice cold, but she did it, and now it is one of my favorite shots.
Do you shoot in studio or on location?
I have an in-home studio that I use sometimes, but mostly I shoot a lot on location. I recently shot in Central Park which it was beautiful. I travel all over Long Island looking for those little pockets of great light and great locations.
Do you have any mini sessions/seasonal specials coming up?
I am going to do mommy and me mini-sessions for Mother's Day. I am also
running a contest for a free session, which can be found on my blog.
What has been the most challenging aspect of starting and growing your business?
Time management, for sure. I have trouble knowing when to step away and go to bed. Some of my clients may tell you they get emails at odd hours because I am still up editing their session and just had to share an awesome image.
Is there anything else you'd like to add about your experience?
As a photographer, you will always be second guessing your work and have days where you just don't feel like you are good enough. Those are the days you should be out shooting and using that feeling to push you to do more, to shoot at a different angle, to get closer. I learned to never let those feelings hold you back from becoming the photographer you want to be.