Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Photographer Interview: Madeline Bea

Her blog is intoxicatingly lovely.

Each image more evocative than the next.

Have you met her?madeline 1

Have you participated in Creativity Boot Camp?

Today I am presenting the nitty gritty details about

Madeline Bea Photography.

Do you remember the first time you picked up your camera and fell in love? Tell us.


I do! At the time I owned a soap making business and I was taking product photos of my merchandise for the upcoming holiday season. I had a nice point and shoot at the time, but I had been getting more and more into taking artistic photos. It occurred to me very clearly that I was more excited about taking product photos than I was about making or selling the actual products. I think it was definitely at that point that I realized I was seriously falling in love with photography.
How did you come up with the name of Madeline Bea for your photography?


“Madeline” is my first born’s middle name. And “Bea” is what we have always called my middle child {although it’s not her name}. It was the name I gave to my soap making business {which was before the birth of my third child so don’t think I just left her out!} When I began the photography business, I had thought about just using my real name, but by that point so many people knew my “alias” and I kind of liked having this alternate personality! In these weird ways, I feel like “Madeline Bea” is so much more passionate and motivated than I am…she pushes me way outside my comfort zone…and that’s a good thing!

Madeline Bea Photography

Tell me about the business of photography.

Do you love that?


Really, I don’t love it. But I think I can and will love it as soon as I can find that sweet spot of working in ways I completely believe in. I think it’s very easy to fall into the trap of thinking “I need to make/offer/produce what other people want to buy.” And any travel down that path will ultimately feel just like a day job; like you’re working for everyone else and not yourself. But what the world needs is really passionate people offering new ideas. And to do that you need to be really true to your authentic self. I feel I’m close…I really feel like I’m molding the business side of me into this sweet spot and I am excited about that. But it’s really hard and frustrating at times to get there and to know what’s right.mb10    
Is there a reason you are so open and sharing with other photographers?


It’s really funny that you asked me that…you’re the second person to say something to that effect in the past month and to be very honest, I just hadn’t seen that in myself until I heard it. Here’s the thing: we are all in this together! I think that instead of competing with and feeling threatened by each other that we need to love, support, and nourish each other. mb8

Also, it’s so important for me to emphasize time and time again that this process of learning an art form and growing into it is not an easy journey…but it’s a valuable one! Two years ago, I knew next to nothing about photography. And through a lot of practice and hard work, I now have a budding photography business. I always want to emphasize that anyone can learn a new skill, that with patience and practice you’ll get much better, and that absolutely anything is possible in the great big world. I continue to grow and learn every day. I think it’s important to show the work that goes into progress…it makes it appear more attainable.  madeline

You have a ProPhoto Blogger template, how did you pick that? Do you understand all the html codes and such, or does someone help you with that sort of thing?


I worked with a designer when updating my blog last summer. She recommended the ProPhoto template {although I actually use Wordpress}. I know very {as in extremely} little html. But the interface that Wordpress and ProPhoto have is very easy to navigate and understand. I love it! It offers me a lot of advanced options for customization and personalization with a professional look. I am certainly smitten!  mb12   
What made you decide to do Creativity Bootcamp?


The whole plan for Creativity Boot Camp {branding and all} came to me in the shower one day. Seriously. Not each and every specific was there…but pretty much. I am a deeply spiritual person and when something like that happens…I believe it to me a very clear message from God. I think the whole entire thing came together in a month {amidst a lot of other things going on at the time}. mb15

Basically, my motivating force and passion behind the Boot Camp comes from my desire to help others be more creative and embrace their natural creative spirits. I think that for many reasons, our creative desires get pushed aside. And there they lay, longing for our attention. mb11

Personally, once I embraced my creative spirit {on a personal level}, my whole world changed. I want to give that same gift to others.
What was the greatest thing you gained from Creativity Bootcamp?

I think I’m going to get a little emotional here… hmmmm. There was so much!!! First, I got the knowledge and satisfaction of knowing that I could do something like that. That I could teach/lead/inspire a large group of really amazing people. That’s huge! mb13

But then the rewards became much greater. I began getting emails from people {many emails}…really deeply emotional, heartfelt emails from people thanking me for helping them find their creative spirit again. Many had gone through some very, very difficult life experiences and rekindling a creative outlet was like therapy…like opening a window in a hot a stifling room. Man…to know that I had anything to do with anything even close to something that enormous is overwhelming. mb16

The Boot Camp provided this really great network for people to meet each other and reach out in very positive ways. Many of the connections made during last year’s Boot Camp have grown into these much larger projects. It’s truly amazing to continue to watch the ripples of positive energy just keep expanding.mb20   

Do you ever worry that you will run out of ideas?

Where do you go for inspiration?


Nope! Inspiration is like love in that children’s song “Love is something if you give it away, give it away, give it away. Love is something if you give it away, you’ll end up having more!” {can you tell I have kids???} It’s true. Once you give your ideas and creative impulses validation and allow them to come out of you in some way, you open the path to more and deeper things. mb17

My inspiration comes from everywhere: my kids, nature, songs, books, food, people, animals…everything! You just need to be open. And not open as in looking…just open. I believe our creative subconscious is always collecting. Constantly. Stuff gets in there and mixes with all our other stuff and out comes this amazing thing. mb18

What are three goals you have for your photography business this year?

madeline 5

1. Find my authentic sweet spot and only do that which moves me

2. Do more meaningful work including one or two charity portrait projects

3. Improve and expand my skills  madeline 3 

Pricing is so hard for everyone, how did you decide upon pricing?

Do you second guess yourself?

madeline 10    

Pricing is really. hard. I second guess myself every day. I’m still not sure I have my pricing just where I want it and it has flip flopped a lot over the last six months. It’s trial and error at this point. I thought I had things right where I wanted them at the end of last year…but, although great in theory, in practicality it just didn’t work for me.madeline 8 And I think that’s important…just because everyone else does things a certain way, doesn’t mean that needs to be your way. And some people might not agree with your way…but that’s okay. Because the bottom line is that your business needs to work for you…not the other way around.madeline 9

What song are you listening to right now?

I was recently introduced to the Christian band Tenth Avenue North and I absolutely love this song and video.

The song is so moving and perfect for me to hear right now and the video is photographically gorgeous…inspirational on all levels! madeline 7
What has been your favorite shoot so far. madeline 6
I have a lot of favorite with my own kids…but if I had to pick my favorite client shoot, I would have to pick the one I blogged

madeline 11  

I really felt like I shot from the heart with this one. From the very beginning in our consultations, I felt confident enough to suggest things like “hey could you bring your canoe?” and this family was so cool; they said yes! It was amazing! We shot for two hours and the kids didn’t want to leave. It was such a good time and I adore the photos we captured!madeline 13

Have you ever shot something and then got home and said 'Oh no!' What did you do?

madeline 12

I did shoot three whole consecutive sessions thinking that I was using my high quality 50mm 1.4 lens but really I had been using my 35mm 1.8 {which just doesn’t have the same sharpness.} I really felt like a complete idiot…a total rookie! It was a really busy week…I was overbooked {my own fault}, it was like the last week of summer before school started, it was my birthday week…there are a slew of excuses I could use. madeline 14Bottom line, I was too busy to notice that I had the wrong lens on my camera…that should speak volumes! As a result, I wasn’t getting the images I wanted {because I thought I was using a different lens…duh} and the quality wasn’t as good as it could have been…but in the end it was fine. I know…you’re all thinking ‘how could you not know which lens you were using?’ It baffles me as well!  

And I most certainly have had sessions that I knew I didn’t put my heart into. And you can see that in the images. Well, perhaps you couldn’t {the clients never have}, but I can tell. And I don’t wish to work that way. In these instances, I’ve done the best that I could with the images…knowing they were fine for all intents and purposes but not my best by any means. And then I took a great big heap of life lessons from the experience and used them in following sessions. If I don’t think my heart will be in a job, I don’t take it. madeline 15

If you could travel anywhere in the world next week with all expenses paid, where would you want to go? Who would you want to bring with you?
Hmmm…being that it is the end of winter here in Pennsylvania, I’d give my left arm to be anywhere else other than here right now! I’m on a huge Alaska kick {because of all those new shows on the Discovery channel}…but being that it’s winter, I probably wouldn’t want to go there next week.

So I’ll say Greece! My daughter is studying Greece right now in school. It’s gorgeous and there is so much history there. Goodness…it would be fascinating.

And I would take my husband and kids…the most wonderful place in the world would mean nothing to me without them by my side.

What is your favorite lens to shoot with?

madeline 16

For portraits, I use my 50 1.4mm. {I use all prime lenses!} The 50mm is the perfect focal length for me for portraits and it’s such a great piece of glass {giggle, giggle}. Seriously, the images are clear and sharp and the bokeh is ‘mwah’!

But for nature shots, I have been loving my Tamron 60mm 2.0 macro. madeline 4
Who is a photographer you enjoy?

There are really so many…and I admire them for all different reasons. Some I enjoy for their lifestyle photography, others for film, yet others for their completely unique view of the world. But the recent popularity of unknown photographer Vivian Maier has me so intrigued.

Her style is so beautiful and she did it all just for herself. In fact, I heard somewhere that she was very private about her photos and her belongings. Now…that is the essence of a true artist…one who produces amazing art {tons and tons and tons of amazing work} all for herself. You should really check her out. Her work is beautiful!

Vivian Maier’s Tribute Blog 
madeline 17Any last words of wisdom you would like to share?

I’d love to share my favorite quote…

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” ~Marianne Williamsonmb3

Madeline Bea Photography Blog

Madeline Bea Photography on Facebook

madeline 2


Sharon said...

Wow. Definitely a new favorite of mine. Gorgeous!

Cecily R said...

I LOVE her style. Love love love. Love.

Kelly said...

Love all those leg/feet shots. They could be a whole book. Beautiful shots!

Mary Lou said...

I'm in the car for 8 hrs so had time to read the whole interview. She's wonderful. So are you.

Joanna Jenkins said...

Several times as I read this post and looked at these gorgeous photos I said to my self "that's my favorite pic"... then I'd see another and another and well, they're all my fave. Thanks for the terrific interview. I enjoyed this very much.
Cheers, jj

Rebecca said...

I love all the feet shots. How does she capture all the moving children with a 50mm. She must be quick.

Beth Zimmerman said...

Beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing this with us! :) Especially love the quote at the end!

Shey said...

oh those babies! I just want to hold them and kiss them until they cry (because they probably will once this crazy-baby lady starts smooching away. =D

Love Letters To China said...

Fabulous interview Becky!

Lauren Michelle said...

I love her pictures! I especially love the ones where it just shows the bottom half of the person in the photograph. It leaves the face - the essential identity of a person a complete mystery.

Dina @ 4 Lettre Words said...

Oh! The leggy shots are STUNNING. Love them.

Susan said...

What a great interview. What awesomes pictures...

Nicole said...

These photos are breathtaking! I SO want to have this kind of photography talent! Perhaps her bootcamp is in my future!

Thanks for stopping by my place in the blog world so I could find yours! :-)

Nayely Cortez said...

amazing interview, honest answers: D

Mama Zen said...

What gorgeous, gorgeous work!

Danelle said...

Oh how I love that little blue bag filled with thread!

Nathan Leduc Photography said...

Great post and I love your blog. Thanks again for stopping by my website and posting those very nice comments!

Privet and Holly said...

Gorgeous post
about such a
talented photographer.
I just learned
about Vivian Maier,
last week! And
yes, she was also
xx Suzanne

Tracy P. said...

Wow, that was a fabulous quote! I just sent it to my friend who is leading a women's retreat for her church this weekend.

Beautiful photos--and so laid back! I am going to check out creativity boot camp for sure!

Audrey @ said...

Such great post...(s) I havent visited for awhile but I did enjoy going back and back... I love madeline deu too! I just found her like 2 days ago and wow was I inspired!

the Lola Letters said...

wow wow wow wow wow WOW.

Love the colors.

So artful, ALL of it!

I am a fan for sure!

I also really love her attitude and perspective that "we are all in this together" and we should nurture and uplift one another to be the best we can be.

So true. There is enough for everyone... and then some. It's always refreshing to come across someone who understands and lives according to that understanding.

Another WONDERFUL interview Becks!

Susan said...

First off, I really enjoyed the interview.

Your work is amazing!! I also loved the song by Tenth Avenue. I've never seen the video, how neat. Thanks for sharing this.

The quote at the end really touched me.

Finally I love when you said this:

... I think that instead of competing with and feeling threatened by each other that we need to love, support, and nourish each other.

Oh, I love your heart.

You've inspired me tonight♥

Buckeroomama said...

Such exquisite work! I just love how creative she gets with her shots (I love the heart she fashioned out of thread in one of her photos)! Actually, I love each and every one of her photos... and I LOVE the quote that she shared. Like all her photos, it was just beautiful.

Jaukios SvajonÄ—s said...

Wow, the interview is so interesting! i read it several times and every time i found something new not only for my eyes but also for my heart too!

Formerly known as Frau said...

Another amazingly talented Photographer Becky ......her pictures are beautiful and so is her creativity.

the monkeys' mama said...

i think i saw at least 4 pictures that would win this week's iheartfaces theme. Seriously she's impressive! and she seems to gracefully balance work and mommyhood. Very cool. thanks for sharing her with us!

Just Bits and Pieces said...

WOW! This interview touched me......she has a beautiful spirit and amazing I am now her newest follower. Thank you for sharing another interview with us Becky!

antoinette marie said...

i am in love with the headless completely intriguing! but the babies in the bowl and bucket are truly priceless!

Maddy said...

I'm so intrigued by the whole Creativity Bootcamp concept! Somedays, I just need that extra push to get the juices flowing. It seems like everything has somehow already been done before! Will definitely be checking it out :)

Sarah said...

Oh wow!!! This was such a wonderful interview, Becky! Her images are simply lovely. I'm so glad you introduced her to me, can't wait to check out her site!

Dorian Susan said...

Great interview Becky. I came across Maegen's blog simply by accident-or blessing. Loved Boot camp-was a big impetus for me to start taking photos everyday-and to believe I could. I think Maegen is much more inspirational than she really knows. Just reading that last quote that she adores confirms it for me. She may find her "sweet spot" in an even bigger place than she currently sees/imagines. Can't wait for CBC 2011.

These Three Kings said...


April said...

She had me with with babies in the bowl and bucket...SUH-WEET!!! Another outstanding interview, Becky!

Maegan Beishline said...

Dear Becky,

I cannot thank you enough for asking me to be a part of your beautiful space here! This was the most fun interview I have ever done! your questions were deep and thought provoking and I'm a better person for having answered them.

And your readers are some of the sweetest people ever! I am literally in tears reading down through their comments. Goodness attracts goodness, my dear and you clearly have that nailed down flat!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Skeller said...

Thank you, Becky, for another wonderful, inspirational, encouraging photographer-interview. MB's work is stunning, her insight vast, and I bet her bootcamp is to-die-for!

angie said...

Her photos are spectacular. I'm in love with them. Of course she lives across the country from me. Sigh.

Kristen Andrews said...

her photos are beautiful!

Pam @ The Journey Leads Home said...

What an amazing gift! Gorgeous!

Thank you for coming by my blog. I'm certainly glad I came by yours. I will be back!


Pam @ The Journey Leads Home said...

I just noticed that these pictures were someone else's. Can I just say that you have very talented friends!! :-) She has a gift for photography and you have a gift for choosing talented friends.


Tiffany said...

she has an amazing blog. I love the newborn/bowl shot and now i want a 50 1.4 even more I have a 35mm and the sharpness is awesome so if thats even better I want it even more!

Erin W said...

Wow, wow, wow!!! Her work is soo inspiring!! I am definitely bookmarking her for sure. LOVE this interview-- probably one of my favorites yet!!

Brooke said...

wonderful photography! Going to check her out right now :)

Rosina said...

Yay Maegan! Believe in yourself, others will, too--You're doing so good!. Loved this interview. xoxo

GayleV said...

What a wonderful interview! Loved all her images, but the sewing/embroidery ones have lovely color. Her nature images are so soft and inviting, too!

Sweetened by Kagi said...

Wow her work is just amazing! Thanks for stopping by my blog and for the incredibly sweet comment! I really like your blog as well- I am now your newest follower :)
I hope you will follow me too!

Sweetened by Kagi said...

Thank you once again for your kind comment! Your interviewing skills rock! You have no need to feel nervous, you are a NATURAL- I loved the interview, you made it very personal and also relate-able for everyone ( not everyone has the ability to do that)!
P.S: I love your son's name- does it mean anything special if you don't mind me asking?

Keely said...

I'm so glad you found me! What a wonderful interview...I can't wait to read more of your blog!

Allison @ Alli 'n Son said...

I just love her! I'm always so inspired when I see her latest photos. Great photographer to feature.

Busy Bee Suz said...

Beautiful interview. Her talent is beyond words!!!!

Jim said...

Becky, you did it again! Great interview. I love how you get your 'subject' to open up and be themselves.....very at ease and vulnerable, in a good way.
I am absolutely blown away by Vivian Maier!!!! She reminds me of Henri Cartier-Bresson whose work originally inspired me to start taking pictures.
What a find Maier is and will be. Brilliant!
Thanks me all excited.

Karen Deborah said...

I would love to know more about cameras. I use a Canon A2000 power shot. I can't spend a lot of money for a camera. I was really hoping to capture some light that I saw in my garden. I posted some pictures if you have time to look. I wondered why they lose focus? But every now and then I get a little lucky. The main thing I think is like she talks about, using our creativity for our joy. I am just grateful to have sight and to see beauty no matter who presents it.

6riddles said...

Wonderful interview. I've just found Madeline Bea in the last six months and I'm happy I did. I follow along on fb also. She is so generous! Thanks for sharing her with us. :)
I stopped by via a comment you left on my 365 project. So glad I did!

Sorta Southern Single Mom said...

Wow! I'm in awe. Great photos! I love all of those little feet!

Happy SITS Sharefest!

Teachinfourth said...

Thanks for the tips, pricing, images, and a link to someone else who loves Tenth Avenue North!

She Writes said...

Inspiring as always. And there is something so precious about the feet of little ones!

thatgirlblogs said...

that photo? with the tutu and tennis shoes? oh my. in love.

Christine E-E said...

what a lovely interview & of course, I've followed this blog off & on for a while now!
the yarn shots are adorable...

Caroline said...

YAY!!! She is one of my all time favorite photographers! LOVED this interview. Thank you for this today...such an inspiration!

Adrienne in Ohio said...

Wow! I feel inspired, and that quote moved me. I adore these interviews, Becky!

Clickmama said...

Hi Clickmama from Chocolate Photography here. Thanks so much for your comment on my blog! I love yours too and I will surely grab a chair and visit from time to time! Your son is cuteeee ;)
and oh re Madeline Bean, I also LOVE Vivian Maier's work! The fact that she just shot straight out of her heart without any need or want for recognition just makes her work all that much more profound and honest to me...

Jennifer said...

Wow, an amazing post. I love her photography and your interview was great.
Stumbling can definitely be addicting. I set limits for myself though, like I'm only going to hit the stumble button 10 times...or something like that. Can't wait to see more photography from Madeline Bea. Thanks for introducing her to me.

Sarah Halstead said...

These photos are gorgeous! Going to check out her blog now.

Suki said...

Awesome interview. I had these not heartfelt sessions too and yes, it is so good to work with people you instantly click with.
Wonderful interview, Becky!

AJ said...

She already was on my favorite list! Love her work...great interview...

urban muser said...

i love her work, and can't wait for the next creativity boot camp. thank you for sharing a little more of her work with us here today!

Dina @ 4 Lettre Words said...

LOVE her style...and especially how everything feels candid. (That's what I really strive for.) Oh, and that name is awesome! :)

Sarah Robertson said...

Maegan is an artist. period!

great interview Becky!