Tell us a bit about you and your background in photography.
Hi, I’m Tara! I live in Nashville, TN with my husband of almost 6 years and our 2 children, Anderson (4) and London (18m). Before we had kids I worked as a NICU nurse. Shortly after my son was born, I decided to stay at home with him. That is when I picked up my first camera. I’m self-taught, mostly by YouTube and lots of trial and error practice! I used to take family clients, but stopped this past year to focus on my IG account, teaching, and commercial photography for brands.
You are known for the gorgeous light in your photographs… please share with our readers the beautiful story behind it!
The light in my photography represents my daughter Halle, who passed away 11 days after she was born in August 2015. After she passed, one of my struggles was a way to find something that could represent her within our family. One afternoon my son and I were playing in her bedroom. The light coming in from the window hit her chandelier just perfectly and sprayed tiny rainbows all over the wall! We were both mesmerized. This was my “Aha!” moment, I knew the light would be the perfect way to represent her in our family photos!
How long have you been on Instagram, and if you could start over is there anything you would do differently?
I started my account in January of 2016. I am very happy with my journey so far, so I don’t think I would change anything.
What are the best ways in your experience to grow an authentic following?
I think the best way to grow is to have amazing content! It helps to be relatable and having a personality that translates through a screen. Features by big hubs and story shares have been the most effective way I have grown recently. It is also important to be patient with it. Gaining followers can come in big chunks followed by a period of lulls. You’ve just got to keep engaging, putting out authentic content, and stick to the plan!
How do you balance family life with the time consuming aspect of social media?
I have a loose schedule I try to stick to. I hop on IG in the morning when I get up and drink my coffee as I scroll and catch up on my direct messages. I normally post in the afternoon and I will carve out 1 hour to be on IG and engaged. I always get on when I rock my baby to sleep for naps and at bedtime as well! Then I will catch up one more time after the kids are asleep!
What is your best advice for handling the criticism that comes with success?
You have to be confident in yourself and block out the negative voices! It’s not easy to ignore the criticism but art is so subjective. Realizing you may not be everyones cup of tea is just part of it. Also, surrounding yourself with a great group of supportive friends definitely helps!!
Do you have any tips for building and keeping a great connection with your followers?
I always try to give genuine responses to my followers when they comment on my post or if they send me a DM! I will also try to go comment on their post as well. Shout people out just to be kind! I find that the more personal you get and the more authentic you are…. people will be more inclined to open up to you!
You have a signature style yet keep things fresh by taking creative risks. Where do you find your inspiration?
My inspiration comes from my children and the light! I love to capture the crazy energy my son has in action shots!
How do you capture the pictures that you’re in?
I really started getting in the frame once my daughter turned 1 year old because she was so attached to me! I couldn’t get any photos of her if she wasn’t in my arms. I decided to embrace this quality in her! I started using my tripod and timer remote to capture us together. People reacted so kindly to seeing me with my children. If you want some pointers on getting in the frame you should head over to The Social Gathering Forum where I’m talking more about this topic!
What is coming up next for you?
I just taught at a photography workshop called Insta-Inspire. To my surprise I really enjoyed teaching, so I hope to get the opportunity to do more of that in the future!! Until then, I just want to enjoy this summer with my children and hopefully start documenting some of our travels on Instagram!