{Feature Friday: Jessica Rae Photography}

{Interview with Jessica Rae Murray}

I always get so excited interviewing photographers!  I admire their work from afar and Jessica is no exception.  Jessica has such a soft and romantic style that is reflected in body of work.  Specializing in newborn portraiture, Jessica naturally captures those first moments in such a beautiful and timeless way.  Jessica has taken the time to share a little more about herself and her work, so grab a coffee and enjoy!

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Tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Jessica Rae Murray and I’m a full-time, 21-year-old, stay at home momma and photographer.  I’m happily and excitedly engaged to my high-school sweetheart, Brody, and we have a beautiful 2-year-old daughter, Veda. I was born and raised right here in Waterville, Maine, and hope to continue living here for quite some time. In my off-time I am the pitching coach for the varsity softball team here at Waterville Senior High School.

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How did you get started in photography?

Photography has always been a hobby of mine, probably since I was about 13 years old when I would roam around my country home with my parent’s Sony Mavica and take over-exposed, blurry snapshots of dead leaves and other “interesting subjects.” It wasn’t until my sweet 16th and my first DSLR, a Canon Rebel XT, that I began learning the basics and a little Photoshop here and there. By the time I graduated high school, I was familiar with manual mode and the actual in’s and out’s of photography.  After high school, I was your typical “I shoot everything” photog. From weddings to real estate, I shot everything whether I enjoyed it or not. Today, a couple years later, I am a self-taught lifestyle photographer, specializing in newborn portraiture.

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Is this a full time job or a part time gig?

I am a full-time photographer and feel extremely blessed to be able to do so.

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What three words describe your style?

Simple, natural, and pure.

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Do you always know when you get the perfect shot? Any surprises during the editing process?

Most of the time my best shots result from total improv. I really don’t like going into a session with all of my sets and props all lined up for a specific session. I feel like my mind works best and more creatively when I just throw myself into it and work from nothing. Sometimes when I come up with a beautiful set-up and get some really great in-camera shots I’ll get little butterflies in my belly and get excited, haha. Usually I don’t have many surprises during the editing process. I really stride to nail those SOOC’s so my post-processing is simple and consistent.

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What are you inspired by?

I could go on for days listing things that inspire me. I try to find inspiration in lots of things in my everyday life and generally just the things that appeal to me.  When I first began I had a hard time defining my own style and would use any and every prop I could get my hands on. Now I’m really picky and force myself to think outside the box when it comes to using different items in my photos. I am a huge fan of earth tones and neutral colors, and really love rustic décor and antiques and tend to incorporate that into my sessions.

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Are you self taught? Learn somewhere else?

Self-taught! I’ve lost track of the amount of online tutorials and articles I’ve read to this point. But I’m sure it’s a hefty number.

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Any special moments or funny bloopers you want to share with us that happened during a session?

Well I’ve most definitely had my share of interesting poop incidents which are hilarious looking back at! I’m pretty used to it now but my they give my clients a good laugh. I have had a lot of special moments while shooting newborns since it’s such a precious and emotional time in the lives of new parents, especially first-timers. I know now to keep a box of Kleenex handy for the moms while they watch me work with their little ones. Working with families can be such an intimate, special thing to share with them and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

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Do you have any rituals that are a part of your editing process?

Coffee!! That first cup of coffee really gets my in “my zone.” I don’t have any specific rituals while I’m editing, but I find my work is more consistent when I’m in a certain mindset and can work freely and undisturbed. I follow the same workflow and use a selection of my favorite actions that I typically use for almost all of my photos.

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Do you a glass addiction? What is your favorite lens?

I honestly hate to admit it, but lenses are not my addiction of choice! I have ONE prime lens; my Nikkor 50mm 1.8. I will say that I’m looking to invest in a 85mm soon, but until then I really do love my 50.

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What advice you give a photographer just starting off in this business?

The best advice I can offer is to just be true to yourself. You don’t have to be everyone’s photographer. People are going to hire you for your work and because they love what you do.  Don’t go out of your way to be like everyone else. In this specific industry, if you’re not doing something different you’ll be blended into oblivion.

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Where can we find you?

You can find me at my website (www.byjessicarae.com), Facebook (www.facebook.com/jessraephoto), Instagram: (@jessicaraephotography), Clickin’ Moms, and NewbornPhotography.com!

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Thank you Jessica for such a beautiful interview and for sharing your talent with all of us.

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