This will be the first of many interviews introducing you to the incredible line up of speakers at the 2018 Carolina Photo Expo. Each Speaker Expo-sé will feature a short interview, examples of their work, and links to their websites so that you can learn more about them. Our first interview will be with Marcelle Raphael, not only is she a great newborn photographer but is also the Executive Director of our neighbor the Professional Photographers of South Carolina and the Assistant Director at Lamarr Williamson School of Photography. Enjoy.A: Hey Marcelle, where are you located?M: I have a studio in downtown Columbia SC right across the street from the State House.A: How long have you been there?M: I have been in my current studio 3.5 years. Prior to that, I had a home studio for many years which drove my family crazy.A: Ha. Been there done that. What is your specialty?M: I exclusively provide maternity and newborn photography services.A: Has that always been the case?M: No. When I met my husband, he was a camera sales rep and a wedding photographer. I had no idea photography really existed as anything other than a hobby. I was a "spray-n-pray" mommy taking pictures of my kids all the time with my new Kodak 2.6 megapixel digital camera. He straightened me out. I started doing weddings with him but eventually moved to families before deciding to become a niche photographer.A: What made you decide to specialize?M: Being self-employed as a photographer has its challenges. It's a lot of long hours, weekends and evenings for the golden hour. I was missing my children and my family. I was ready to quit. Then, someone asked me to do maternity and then her newborn. I fell in love with the pregnant form, the posing and then the newborns. After that, I knew this was where I was meant to be in my career as a photographer. The change motivated me, set me apart from the pack and I began to actually become a profitable business. And, it was doing something I adore.A: That is awesome. Thank you for taking time to share with us. Do you have any words of wisdom to anyone starting out in photography, before we go?M: I have two bits of advice for new photographers to the newborn photography industry. First, blooming photographers often feel they can learn so much online. In some areas that is very true, but with newborn photography, safety is imperative and proper posing is a technique that is hard to construe across the internet. I encourage all of those who have a calling for newborn photography to take classes hands-on - FIRST THING! Instead of spending years googling issues as they arise, do a couple of classes, even BEFORE investing in that "professional" grade FX camera. Education will move you forward faster in your career and business than anything else possibly could. Second, Join your local, state PPA affiliates and PPA. You will find the value in networking, listening to others, joining in lunches and fun events are more educational than you realize. GO TO EVERYTHING! Having a support system and friends is important to anyone who is self-employed since we don't have friends at work and people to hang around daily. I promise you will learn something NEW every time you attend an event or just have lunch with people with similar interests.A: Thank you so much for answering a few questions, we look forward to seeing your all-day workshop on Newborn Photography that will be a part of the CPE Academy on Friday during the 2018 Carolina Photo Expo. Be sure to click on Marcelle's images for relevant links to her class.If you are interested in attending Marcelle's PreCon (now called CPE Academy) class please visit: http://www.carolinaphotoexpo.com/cpe-academyRegister Today!