Alaina Muckell is a professional photographer based in New York. She is a wife and mom. She believes in black and whites & candid moments. Alaina specializes in newborn photography. She was kind enough to answer several questions and share about her photography journey. Alaina is one of those photographers who loves pouring into others and is truly genuine.
Tell us a little about yourself?
I’m a self-taught, natural-light photographer with a teaching background and a love for children. I’ve always been the friend with the camera in her hand, and I dreamed of being a photographer for a long time. When I went to begin my business at various times in my past, it never lifted off the ground because of various roadblocks, which I realize now was just bad timing. However, when the time was right, God opened door after door for me, and I couldn’t be more humbled and excited to be on this journey.
Aesthetics, composition, visual storytelling… those things have always come naturally to me. But in the past few years, my paradigm has shifted, to believe that God (not me) is the ultimate artist, and I’ve been gifted to be the mirror that reflects Him. I hope people see honesty, goodness, love, purity, and joy (which are all traces of Him), in my work.
Are you a self-taught photographer or have you taken classes?
I used to take photography classes in high school and college, and play around for hours in the darkroom. I was addicted to creating my art! When I decided to make a business out of it, there were tons of technical things I needed to brush up on, I realized, if I was going to be paid for my work. So I’ve taken tons of classes online, to relearn the software and editing techniques and learn the business end. All of the courses were wonderful, but would be null and void if I didn’t spend hours practicing and perfecting my craft.
How would you describe your photography style and what have you done to develop it?
I like to think people hire me because they see the beauty in the candid imagery I capture. The candids- people living and experiencing raw moments- is what makes an image powerful. I’m always drawn to the power and poetry of black and white imagery, so I tend to focus my attention there.
What is an image you are really proud of and why?
I’m incredibly proud of my most recent newborn images. When I began my business, my newborn images were mediocre, disconnected, amateur work. I almost quit the newborn style many times, because I wasn’t creating the type of art I dreamed of. Once I discovered that I could photograph newborns in a minimalistic style, with a limited palette, I got really excited because it meant I could finally showcase these little miracles in a way that was poetic and pure.
What is a resource that has been really helpful for you?
I have learned a ton from CreativeLive, and a one-on-one mentoring session with my favorite minimalist newborn photographer.
Who is a fellow photographer that you really look up to or admire?
I really admire the work of Michelle Gardella, because it’s highly stylized. You know what you’re going to get if you hire her, and she seems to have created relationships with her subjects, enough to photograph them with such emotion and soul. Check her out.
Black and white photography is really special to you – can you explain what you love about it?
It’s dramatic and seems to freeze time. It can turn a simple moment into something really powerful. It will never, ever go out of style.
What is the best photography advice you’ve ever been given and/or what is advice you would give to a new photographer?
“You have to shoot, shoot, shoot, there is no other way.” -Kirsten Labzda. And always be using your own voice of authenticity in your work so people know it when they see it.