Sara Sniderman, a family photographer in MetroWest, talks about her inspiration for becoming a photographer, her favorite restaurants in New England, and her favorite spots to catch the sunset.
Lauren — Travel and Write Today: When did you first become interested in photography, and when did you decide that you wanted to focus on Family photography?
Sara Sniderman Photography: Photographing my children, and even before that my friends’ children, has always been a love of mine. Children change so quickly, and I love how looking at photos can bring us back to that season of life for a moment. When I went back to work, as a behavior analyst after having my second daughter, I felt like I needed to be home more with my family. I started taking online photography classes, and learned more about the technical aspects of taking photographs. Eventually, I thought about pursuing my passion for photography full time. My husband encouraged me to take the leap and start my own business. I love what I do, and I have never looked back.
TWT: When did you start your blog, and what was your motivation for getting started?
SS: I started my blog when I first started my photography business and my website. Honestly, I started it because I thought that is what you are supposed to do as a photographer. But as time has gone by and the blog has developed, I realized that it is a great way for clients and future clients to get to know me and my photography style. My blog posts not only focus on topics like how to prepare for sessions, but I also share major milestones in my personal life.
TWT: Have you always lived in New England?
SS: Yes! I was born and raised in Rhode Island. I came all the way to Massachusetts for college in Waltham, and then my husband and I eventually settled in Natick. I love living in New England (well, except for winters because winter stinks more than feta cheese!)
TWT: What are some of your favorite locations for sessions?
SS: I am always on the lookout for new photo session locations in the MetroWest Boston area. When I drive with my family, I always look around for hidden fields. If I see a potential spot, we will pull over to take a look. In general, I like locations that are very natural and are relatively secluded. I want families to be able to explore the area, while being completely comfortable interacting with their family members. I want them to feel like they can be themselves. Here is a blog post about what I look for in a location.
TWT: What is your favorite place to watch the sunrise/sunset?
SS: When we go on vacation, if it is near a beach then I usually will get up early with my daughters, grab a bag of cereal, and go sit on the beach to watch the sunrise. It has become something that my oldest daughter looks forward to on every vacation.
TWT: I love this! You already know I can relate.
TWT: What are some of your favorite books?
SS: I don’t remember the last time I read a book other than a children’s book. My 8 and 4 year old have been listening to Anne of Green Gables. I am planning on getting the series of books, so we can start reading these together. I am dyslexic, so reading has never been a super enjoyable thing for me. But, reading with my daughters is definitely something that I love and enjoy.
TWT: I love that you’ve been listening to Anne of Green Gables with them — that is so special.
TWT: What cities/towns are on your list of places to visit in New England?
SS: We are always on the lookout for new places to explore in New England. Our go-to day trip is to the North Shore. We like Castle Hill, Appleton Farm, and Halibut State Park. We recently discovered the Coolidge Reservation, which is really pretty. We usually finish up these trips with a visit to Woodman’s of Essex for gluten-free fried clams and chowder.
TWT: What are some of your favorite restaurants in New England?
SS: Woodmans of Essex! I have Celiac disease and love fried clams and chowder, so Woodman’s has been my all time favorite. A favorite thing to get on our way home from visiting my parents in Rhode Island is Rasoi; they have amazing gluten free Indian food. Locally in Natick, our favorite restaurants include Eli’s, Lola’s, and Rice Noodle. For date nights we like to go to Brookline — we love Orinoco. My sister actually brought me an arepa from Orinoco to the hospital after having my youngest :).
TWT: Eli’s has delicious pancakes (I love Orinoco, too)!
TWT: Favorite quotes/words of wisdom?
SS: I always say that I love photography because it freezes time and allows us to look back on this moment in our lives. My goal is for my photographs to evoke a feeling of nostalgia whenever you look back at them. I want families to look at my photos and be able to feel their love and connection.
“Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever… It remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything.” — Aaron Siskind
“Photography for me is not looking, it’s feeling. If you can’t feel what you’re looking at, then you’re never going to get others to feel anything when they look at your pictures.” — Don McCullin
TWT: Who/what inspires you?
SS: My kids! Even with how difficult it has been throughout the current situation, with COVID-19, I am amazed at how resilient and strong they are. I know people say how quickly childhood flies by, but with my oldest daughter turning eight, and maturing right before my eyes, I really see it. I want to use my photography to capture their childhood, so they can look back on these times. I love being able to look back on the eight years that I have had as a mom and get nostalgic just by seeing a photo. I feel so lucky that I am able to do this for other families as my job now.
We spent our first Thanksgiving as parents in the NICU. We were only able to hold our daughter for 20 minutes at time for feedings (every 4 hours). The hours in between were spent anxiously watching the monitors to make sure she didn’t have apnea spells (as the nurses called them, “forgetting to breathe”) again. I am glad to have pictures from the NICU, but they are still very difficult to look at. The pictures that I love the most are from when she came home; I felt like she was really ours for the first time. Because of this experience I have started a yearly session giveaway to one family that is spending Thanksgiving in the NICU. I have also created a guest blog series where parents can tell their NICU story. I felt very alone during our NICU experience and I hope this blog series can help other parents feel not so alone (If you or anyone you know wants to share your NICU/special care nursery experience please email or message me).
TWT: We love looking back at the photos you took of our family — you truly captured us.
TWT: What advice would you give to someone who wants to start their own business?
SS: I have only been in business for three years, so I am sure there is more that I will learn. There is a lot more than just taking photos that goes into a photography business. I have had to learn a lot about business in general to become a fully licensed, insured, and tax-paying photography business. SCORE offers free business mentors which was so helpful in starting up my business. Also, I would suggest finding an educator whose teaching style you like, and then learn as much as you can. I would also suggest photographing as much as you can. The more I photograph, the more growth I see in my work.
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