Photo Credit: Nicole Boulay
Earning one’s Master’s isn’t easy or cheap, so when Molly Brown-Boulay’s father was on a mission for his – he worked for a professional photographer to earn some extra money. Funny enough, it wasn’t her father’s after school job that made her realize her future career with a camera in hand, but rather her mother’s appreciation for capturing memories. That is where we start but where we headed covered everything from senior portraits to travel and beyond as we talked everything Boulay Photography.
Kendra: Your dad may’ve been worked around photography, but you’ve noted what an influence your mother had on your career. Do you feel you would’ve approached photography the way you do without the importance of a memory ingrained into you from her?
Molly: My mother instilled in me the importance of documenting important events in our lives as well as organizing and cataloging these images to look back on later. We always had loads of photo albums lying about our house, and I loved looking through them and remembering each and every moment they captured.
Kendra: Speaking of memories, from a photographer’s perspective what are the top three moments in someone’s life that need framed shots on mantles and albums?
Molly: That’s hard to answer. Obviously, weddings/engagements are the big one. I think everyone should have a lovely portrait with their husband or wife displayed in their home. It demonstrates to all who enter that their marriage is important and comes first, no matter if dogs/children/other obligations follow.
Senior portraits are also important to hang on the walls. This represents the culmination of one’s childhood and their foray into adulthood. We tell parents this is the last time they will likely have a big photo session that is all about them until they get married. Family portraits should also hang in a prominent place in one’s home. Many studies have shown that children feel valued when their portraits are on the walls in their homes, and displaying a family portrait shows the parents value the family unit.
Kendra: You do a wide range of sessions, some you just mentioned – from families to senior portraits. Has that type of photography always been the type you’ve felt a connection with rather than wildlife or landscape because I know you dabble in fine art as well?
Molly: I do love travel photography, but I realized early on that I like to photograph something with a “face!” My passion used to be children, and I still love their innocence and honest expressions, but I grew into senior portraits. I found I could connect well with these burgeoning adults. Teens these days deal with so much pressure from social media and such, and I’d like to believe that I play a small role in building their self-confidence through their portrait session. I often hear from seniors from many many years later who still adore their portraits and would love to go through the experience again!
Kendra: When it comes to a senior portrait, what are three common mistakes kids should avoid?
Molly: This applies mainly to girls, but we like our seniors to look more natural. By that I mean, don’t overdo the makeup. This is not prom or homecoming; we want to capture you as you are and not some glamorized version of you.
It is also important to feel great in the outfits you choose. We tell our seniors to try everything on the week before and make sure it fits and that you feel beautiful/handsome in it. If that’s not the case, find something else, because I can guarantee you will not like any of your images in those clothes.
Finally, be prepared. Because we have a boutique model for our senior portraits, this should be regarded as an investment. You should carefully consider your clothing, hairstyle, makeup choices, fingernail colors, and any accessories you want to include. By taking the extra time to plan all this out, you will be much less stressed on your session and have a great time!
Kendra: This year I’ve talked to a number of photographers and you’re only the second to shout out an assistant or in this case Studio Manager. How has having Janice on board shaped your business?
Molly: I reached a point in 2008 when I couldn’t handle everything anymore. My business had grown to a point where I was running myself ragged trying to keep up with my appointments, shooting, editing, ordering and balancing my personal life. Janice had recently been downsized from her position and was looking for something part-time. I asked if she’d be interested in cataloging my clients, which she did, and subsequently asked if I ever needed help on my sessions.
Over time, she embraced handling all my client interactions, scheduling, and assisting on shoots and in pre-shoot consultations and post-shoot orderings. Now she’s indispensable. More than anything else, I value her input as well as having someone who truly understands my highs and lows with my business.
Kendra: As someone on the outside, I’ve never even imagined there would be conferences for photography. Why would you recommend those for those just starting?
Molly: Photography conferences are the best place to further your education and network with others in the industry. These days, education is indeed only a click away on the internet, but there is no replacement for hands-on education and networking with some of the best in the business. I think that’s undervalued these days.
There are also many local clubs and organizations as well if you can’t afford to travel to one of the big conventions. Two of the largest are the Professional Photographer of America (PPA) and Wedding and Portrait Photography International (WPPI). Both host annual conferences that include amazing trade shows to purchase the latest and greatest equipment at discounted rates.
Kendra: What are your plans for your business and photography as we head deeper into 2019?
Molly Boulay: I’m in the process of developing an even higher-end product of portraiture for a select clientele. This would be for the client who desires more fine art portraiture for their home or vacation home. I’m excited about this and can’t wait to roll it out!