Capturing the moments of love brought to light in life is a theme and passion for Dickson County photographer Samantha Scott, whose specialty is photographing newborns.
“It is a very important stage of life, just like a wedding day,” said Scott, 28. “Those are the two most memorable moments, and I love documenting that for a family. I especially love it when parents get in the picture with the newborn. It’s especially important to help make the mom look good and feel confident because of what your body has been through.”
She noted that those who come for newborn photos typically come back at three months, six months and one year.
“Then, they come back to get photos every year,” she said.
Scott is the daughter of Sammie Gibbs, who has a construction business based in Charlotte, and longtime Cheatham County educator Sherry Gibbs.
Scott grew up in Bellsburg at the Cheatham County-Dickson County border. She said she remembers when she met her future husband, Michael Scott, although she was just a youngster. Michael was working for Samantha’s father.
“When I was seven, I told my mom I was going to marry him,” she said with a smile.
She attended elementary school and middle school in Cheatham County where her mother worked. Scott then attended Creek Wood High School in Dickson County, where she played softball.
After graduation, Scott pursued a degree in nursing from Trevecca University in Nashville while working for her father.
“I worked at Hillcrest in Ashland City for a while,” she said, adding that her passion for photography overtook her potential career in nursing.
She got involved in photography after her husband wanted a family portrait of the two of them with her stepson, Hunter, who was 3.
“It was just too expensive for our budget,” she said. “So, I thought — I’ll just learn to do this myself.”
She said it started out as a hobby as the family grew. Hunter is now 12, Bonnie Kate is 5 and Wyatt is 2.
“It’s taken me 10 years to learn,” she said. “After nursing school, I had time to focus and take courses. I did a mentorship in Indiana with Amy Haehl (another nurse turned baby photographer with a studio in Indiana), which sparked a serious focus and passion for me now.
“She is the master, and her work is wonderful. She has sound advice for a budding photographer or anyone taking a picture.
Haehl said that Scott has many of the qualities a great photographer needs for success.
“I had the honor of mentoring Samantha and I have loved helping her grow as a photographer, however I can only do so much,” Haehl said. “Being a successful photographer also requires talent, heart and passion which is something that can’t be taught ... and thankfully Samantha has that and so much more.
“It didn’t take long to realize how much she truly loves and cares about her job and the little ones she photographs, and she is so patient and safe with them. Patience and safely is a must when dealing with babies. I have no doubt the sky is the limit for her and look forward to seeing all of her success.”
Scott said she especially enjoys getting to meet families and go with them on their journey.
“With wedding and newborn photos, it’s wonderful to see them evolve,” she said. “They go from starting out as clients to becoming true friends. I told my mom it’s such an honor to do this, and it’s a big responsibility.”
She said she currently serves around 400 clients a year, including one in north Alabama and some that have moved to Missouri.
Get the picture
Scott said the focus for a photo shoot is all about the subject.
“In order for a photo to work, to get what you want, you have to have a sincere reaction out of people, and if they don’t feel comfortable with you, they’re not going to give you that,” she said. “It will show in your photos if they weren’t comfortable. So, learn to work with people, make them comfortable and be a trustworthy person so that they will trust you. They’ll know if you’re sincere or not.”
She said the most unusual situation took place at a farm setting where donkeys, mules and cows walked up during the shoot.
“A mule went to the client and kept resting on her shoulder,” she said, noting that it was a fun photo.
Among her goals are to build up more opportunities for newborn photos. Her favorite elements in a photo are rich colors and details like eyelashes on babies and a baby’s feet.
Scott has a variety of backdrops, fabrics and props for photo shoots and offers a questionnaire for mothers to help define their needs and any challenges.
Her mentor and friend, Dickson photographer Danna Nicholson, knows Scott’s talent.
“I am very fond of Sam,” she said in an email. “I got a chance to know her personally when I started doing their family pictures. Since then we have become more than just fellow photographers. She works very well with people, and those precious babies she takes pictures of. She and her photography are an asset to this community.”