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Women and Business: Natalie Norton

Posted on Thursday, December 16, 2010 at 06:37AM by Registered CommenterDavina in | Comments11 Comments

**all images in this post copyright: Natalie Norton. **

{To nominate women you'd like to see in this series please list them in the comments-or if you have a question you'd like to see in the interviews--make sure to include your info in the comment fields so that I can get in touch with you- or write to me at: davina at davinafear.com }

As always make sure to leave comments for the women who are featured. They like comments as much as i do I'm sure...let them know if you have questions or just to say thanks! for their insight and wisdom...

NEXT WEEK:  Merry Christmas!

You can check out the rest of the series by clicking here. Tell a friend!

Natalie, You came into photographer after the loss of your brother and when you stepped into it you brought a tenderness and insight that many photographers don't have even after years and years of shooting. Now, less than 3 years later you've been published in national magazines, travel to clients, and shoot quite a bit, you have a studio, and someone that helps you on a regular basis to keep up with business.  You seem busy and at the same time very go-with-the-flow.  I love the beauty you've created in your blog, business, and life.  Thanks for being here on Women and Business.



How long have you been a professional photographer?
I shot my first wedding in May of 2007. I made $300, included an album, a fully edited disk, aaaaaaand an extended family session for allllll the family who had flown out for the wedding. Come to think of it, I don’t know that anything about that qualifies as professionalism.


What drew you to photography?
Hands down, it was the death of my little brother Gavin in 2007.  At the end of the day, when all we had left of him were images, I realized how very much this photography thing really matters. I wanted to be a part of something THAT significant in other people’s lives.

You are a mom and wife.  How many kids do you have?
I have 4 amazing sons. Raleigh 7, Cardon 5, Lincoln 4 and Angel Gavin







I'm so sorry to hear about your sweet little baby Gavin, what has helped you through this heartbreak the most?
God, family, proper nutrition, amazing friends and running. In that order.


Are you in a retail space or home studio?  What made you decide on the space you have?
A home studio makes the most sense for me. My office is actually a converted studio apartment that’s adjacent to our home. This kind of a set up is really the only way for me to balance work and wife/mommy duties with any level of success or consistency.



What does your workflow look like?  Do you outsource or keep everything in house?
I believe in outsourcing.  PARTICULARLY for women who are committed to running a business and maintaining balance on the home front, because the bottom line is, you can’t be 100% for everybody 100% of the time.  Either your home life or your business will suffer if you try to do it all.  Period. No exceptions.
One of the realizations I made after my son died earlier this year was that I really only wanted to focus my time and energy on the elements of my work that I’m the very most passionate about. I hired a REMARKABLE assistant, Ashley. Being able to hand things like paperwork, culling and color correction over to Ash. . . well it’s just the greatest blessing in the world. Having her help with some of the less satisfying pieces of my business allows me the ability to remain in a good creative space mentally and thus allows me produce better work overall. Hiring her was the best decision I’ve made for my business to date.
Now, I recognize that hiring someone on isn’t a realistic option for everyone. Before Ash (and even now if we’re in a pinch for time), I hand post processing over to www.fotofafa.com. Kenny is SUPERB.  A real rock star. I recommend him wholeheartedly.


What do you do to help your clients be so comfortable with you during a photo shoot?
Honestly? I show up emotionally. How can I expect them to give me the kind of authenticity I’m looking for if I don’t do the same for them?


What do you recommend women do who are just getting started in the industry?
1.  Avoid comparison like the plague.  It’s human nature (especially for women) to compare ourselves, our families, our photography to that of others. DON’T do it. There is no light at the end of that tunnel.  
2.  Set up good balance from the get go so you don’t wake up a year in only to realize you’ve painted yourself into a corner. If you’ve got kids and a husband to look after, ALWAYS put them first. ALWAYS.  Everything else will miraculously fall into place. Trust me. I’m living, breathing proof.
3.  Don’t pretend like you know it all. Don’t be too shy to ask questions.


Your post processing looks so clean, beautiful, and simple.  I love it.  Is it really that simple on the backend?  How much time do you usually spend in photoshop?
I know VERY little about Photoshop. Truth be told, probably less than I should.  My main adjustments are curves and levels.  Occasionally some sharpening if necessary.


What do you do for fun...that has nothing to do with photography?
Bikram yoga, beach with my boys, aaaaand I RUN! Running is the most hellish and wonderful thing ever for my body and spirit.


What are you most proud of as a business woman?
That I have FOUGHT to achieve balance.  That I have REFUSED to meet with success at the expense of the relationships in my life that matter most.


What do you do to keep your marriage fun?
We LAUGH. Our heads off. All the time.


How do you keep your marriage safe from the stresses of your business?
I’ve learned that I have to shut the door–physically, mentally and emotionally–on my business when my kids and/or husband are home.  


You travel quite a bit.  In fact, it looks like you're currently in SLC.  How do you make this easier on your children?  Or do you typically take your children with you?
I’m really glad you asked this question. I think people often have a false perception of what travel really looks like for me.  90% of the time one or all of my kids come along with me when I’m on the road.  For that other 10% of the time, my kids are home with their dad.  My husband and I are both entrepreneurs. With the flexibility that that allows, one or the other of us is ALWAYS with our kids.  Richie is an amazing man.  Every bit as much involved in our kids lives as I am.  Plus, he’s not afraid to get his hands dirty!  Dishes, laundry, diapers, you name it.  We’re in this together, 100%.


What do you do to keep from feeling overwhelmed?
I make a plan. I keep it simple. I work my plan. Every day.


What is something that you think women in the industry should not do?
I can’t speak for women in general, but to mothers I would say, I don’t think we should sacrifice our families for our businesses.  We chose to be mothers.  We should do it well.


What is something that you think women in the industry should do?
Find a space of inspiration, and FIGHT every single day to remain in it.


What five suggestions do you have for women who are trying to have a more whole, content, and blissful life?
1.  Get enough sleep. I sleep 7 hours a night, without exception.
2.  Drink enough water. For me that’s 3 liters a day, at least.
3.  Exercise.
4.  Pray/meditate.
5.  Dream big, set goals and make stuff happen.
6.  Put your family first. All the time. No matter what.

We tend to focus too much on action steps when I think we should be spending more time building a proper foundation.  If your foundation is strong, everything else you do in your life will be more successful. Scouts honor!


To see more of Natalie's work:




**all images in this post copyright: Natalie Norton. **


Reader Comments (11)

This family never ceases to amaze me.

December 16, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterKent West

Natalie, I love everything you said. You sound like an incredible role model--for women photographers and for women in any creative (or maybe even noncreative) entrepreneurial role! Thanks for sharing!!!

Tina L. Scott
Photography by Tina

December 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterTina L. Scott

this post/interview was amazing. it made me teary - reading about your passion (and demand) for balance. as a mother of three boys, a wife, and someone that is launching a new business, i appreciate the reminder to balance -- and when there is a choice or question as so how to do that, to just be sure family is first. you are an amazing photographer and i thank you for sharing your talent, your passion, and your heart with us.

December 17, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterbrooke

Natalie, I knew when I met you that you and your family were destined for greatness. I love watching that greatness unfold before my eyes daily. You are such a wonderful example of strength and passion to me and so many others and its not in just your amazing ability to take a beautiful picture. Thank you for being 100% you. I love you girl you are great! Tell Richie I say Hi.

December 17, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterlindsay mcbride

Thank you Davina. It was an honor to do this interview with you. I think this series is powerful and feel blessed to be a part of it.

With warm aloha,


December 18, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterNatalie Norton

enlightening as always Natalie. :-)

December 19, 2010 | Unregistered Commenteroneshotbeyond

One of my favorite interviews from this series yet. Thanks so much for your honesty, Natalie. And for doing this series, Davina. You're both inspirational, as well as incredibly insightful for someone working to one day start my own photography thing. Thank you both.

December 21, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterErin

Natalie, you are such an inspiration! My favorite interview in this series! Thank you for reminding me that my children and husband should ALWAYS come first. It's so easy to get sidetracked.

December 25, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterSusanne

love natalie's work, she's always an inspiration. great interview.

December 28, 2010 | Unregistered Commentercarly carlson

this was so inspiring to read, i've read it a couple of times now. i love the part about choosing to be mothers and doing it well. my baby is 14 months old and i keep reminding myself to find that balance. it's still a work in progress but i like the "keep it simple" route. thanks so much for the honest words.

December 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterjenniferL

I love this post, and Natalie you are truly an amazing woman! God bless and cheers to you in 2011...

January 8, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterAriana

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