This week we are featuring the wonderfully talented Tamsen Donker of Creative Clicks Photography located in Ontario Canada.
Tell us a little something about yourself, Tamsen.
My name is Tamsen Donker and I’m your typical Dutch girl. Married to my love at 20 years old, we began our family with the birth of our oldest daughter Kyara just a year later. This pattern continued every two years, with Eden arriving in 2008, and Kingston arriving in 2010. We are expecting our next little one in December 2012, and we feel so incredibly blessed by the LORD! We are raising our children in the teeny tiny town of Smithville, ON. It literally has just ONE stoplight but it’s a nice, quiet and safe town to live in, which we really enjoy. We are lucky that our tiny town includes both our church and our Christian school, which our children will attend Kindergarten-Grade 8. Private Christian education was something both my husband and I were blessed with growing up, and we knew we wanted to raise our children the same way. While I am a stay-at-home mom, and we lived off one income for quite a few years, we knew we would need a supplement one day to help pay for the tuition. And so we are incredibly thankful that photography came into my life.
How long have you been a photographer?
While I always enjoyed photography when I was younger, I only found the time to really delve into it after the birth of my first daughter. Shortly after the birth of my second daughter, I opened for business, although very slowly, in tiny little baby steps. I spent every waking moment learning, practicing, reading, participating on forums and growing in the art. Many nights ran into mornings, when I would sneak into bed before my husband got up for work. Although it was exhausting still caring for my children during the day, I was so incredibly fueled by my passion for photography that I was able to keep going. Things really turned for me in 2010. I took all the necessary steps to brand my business, rework my pricing, market my business and get myself out there to my target market. Now I can happily say that all my hard work paid off. I absolutely love my job, except when it comes down to the paperwork and taxes (help!). I’m thankful to have a supportive husband who believes in me and many photographer friends whom I may not have met in real life, but who have helped me more than they will know! I just have to say, joining 4 the Love of Focus, a business based forum for women, helped me to grow my business in a way I could have never done myself. I am a visual person, an artist. I am NOT a business person and learning from these other fabulous women really helped me to understand the ins and outs of the business world. it’s just a safe place for me to post anything and everything I need to talk about.
Describe your area of expertise?
At first, I was photographing everything- weddings, e-sessions, children, families, etc. As time went on I needed to narrow my focus down a little bit as more children = less time and I wanted to spend the time I was working doing something I really loved. And for me, that is newborn photography. I think it’s the challenge of it all that keeps me going! Posing babies requires a lot of skill and experience and I am always striving to be better at what I do. I absolutely adore newborns, and cannot imagine my life without one…lol. Since that’s not physically possible, I enjoy my time with my newborn clients and I love capturing this precious time for their parents! So for now, I am not taking on any more weddings or extended family sessions and focusing more on maternity and newborns, and the sessions that usually follow (one year sessions, yearly portraits, etc).
Please share with us your absolute favorite photograph you’ve ever taken and tell us the story behind it, why it speaks to you, etc.
These two images are of my daughter Kyara in early 2009. We were at the beach on a rainy Saturday, and her hair turned to ringlets. My focus caught on her curls in both these images…but I adore them. They tell me the story of the day- the rain, her joy, how little she was then… I can’t get enough of these images. And I love capturing images like this for my clients as well! It’s not always about the perfect smiling portrait…to me, this is perfect! And I have the top one hanging in my room so I can enjoy it every day!
How would you describe your style?
Modern, organic, pure. I love light!
What is your standby pose (the one that everyone tends to want from you)?
Hmm, well ever since this image was posted on my blog, I have had many, many requests for maternity sessions in the water. I’ve invested in some high rubber boots, but I think I need to up the ante and get me some styling hipwaders!
What gear is in your bag?
Nikon D700, 50mm 1.4, 24-70mm 2.8, 105 mm 2.8
If you could only use one lens what would it be?
My 50 for sure. I adore that lens!
Tell us about your image processing style and the software you use.
I like to keep things fairly clean and simple- I process my images through Bridge (ACR) and edit in CS4 on my lovely 27″ iMac.
Which album/print company’s do you recommend?
After taking and editing an image, designing an album, etc., you wouldn’t think I’d be surprised to see the image printed in an album- but Vision Art takes my breath away every.single.time. The matte finish is incredible. I’m always tempted to keep my clients’ albums! I love Willow Paper Works for my prints and canvases, and Simply Color for my press cards.
Do you prefer to work in the studio, on-location, or both and why?
I love both! I love newborn sessions in my studio because I know the light and I can be prepared for the session and have everything on hand. I also LOVE finding a new outdoor location with beautiful light and getting to photograph my lovely clients there!
Have you attended any workshops that you found to be helpful in your work? If so, which ones?
I’ve attended only one workshop- and for me, it was go big or go home! Baby As Art is renowned world wide for their newborn work and I wanted to learn from the best! I had many ‘aha’ moments during their workshop and, in my work since then, I’ve been incorporating a lot of that knowledge into my own sessions.
What sets you and your work apart from other photographers in your area?
Clients tell me that they love the light and the warmth in my images, and I think a cute newborn smile will win anyone over!
Which professional organizations do you belong to?
I belong to the Professional Photographers of Canada, and I have really enjoyed being a part of it and learning more from and with my peers.
My weakness is… time management, and cooking
My strength is… I’ve been sitting here a long time, and haven’t come up with anything yet. I’ll have to think on that one!
Morning or night? Night
Blog addiction… I am terribly addicted to my blog reader, and I follow WAY too many blogs- over 100. I keep cutting it down, but find myself a new blog to follow and the list grows.
Travel dreams… If I could travel, I would go everywhere. Australia, Ireland, Africa, Paris, Venice, Greece…everywhere! Even within my own country, I’d love to visit P.E.I, B.C. There is so much beauty in this earth and I want to get a taste of all of it!
On my day off… do moms get days off? If I had one, I would happily spend it in Paris with my husband! (pipe dream? I think so!)
What are some of your” top 100 to do before you die” items? Visit my sister in Australia, find our perfect dream house, build my dream studio, celebrate my 50th anniversary with my husband
Who do you love? My Lord, my husband, my children, my family…
Thanks so much for taking the time to chat with us, Tamsen. It was wonderful getting to know you better.