Thursday, November 21, 2013

Featured fPOE Photographer - Helen Makadia

This feature is the first in a new series aimed at getting to know our fPOE photographers more in-depth. I'm excited to learn more about the talented women who make up this vibrant group.

Meet Helen Makadia, owner of Helen Makadia Photography! (and her adorable 2-year-old daughter!)

Tell us a bit about yourself.

My photography journey has been a bit unconventional. I have always had an interest in photography, picking up my uncle’s Canon A-1 every now and then. I went to Wellesley College and studied Economics and Political Science and worked in the investment world for about 10 years.

In my spare time, I took a film photography workshop at the New England School of Photography and just fell in love with photography all over again. I found myself looking at light through a different perspective, really picturing images as I saw objects and people.

I decided it was time to try something different and marry my love for photography with business. I attended Boston University’s Center for Digital Imaging Arts and pursued a Digital Photography program.

Upon finishing the program in 2008, I started Helen Makadia Photography focusing on Wedding Photography and Portrait Photography while dabbling in what I call “photography of objects that don’t move” in my spare time. 

A wise photographer once told me that the one way to avoid burnout is to spend about 10% of your time photographing things that make you happy. I took this advice to heart, which has grown into my current Etsy store.

Any other interests besides photography?

I have many interests besides photography, although many of my interests you can see through my photography. I love food and capturing it. Self-admittedly, I am not the best cook or baker, but it's fun.

I do love to visit new places, although dislike flying, so it takes some effort to get there. I love animals and have volunteered at the MSPCA in Boston taking photos of the small animals and cats for the adoption profiles. I also have an active two year old daughter, so am immersed in that on a daily basis.

I would say that although I do have many other interests, they all seem to feed my love for photography. 

Describe your creative process and what inspires you.

There are so many things that inspire me, its difficult to single one thing. However, when I do think about the creative process, light has always been something that has captured my eye, even as a young child. As a photographer, light is the most important element in making a photograph. This is true across types of photography (people or objects) and whether photographing in natural or created (studio) light. My personal preference is for natural light, although I will work with a created light look if necessary.

When I look for what to photograph, I cover a wide span of subject matter, from abstract to food, architecture and nature. I bring my camera with me everywhere I go, as I never know where an image can be made. I look for inspiration in what is around me.

I do have have an electronic journal where I take notes of images I would like to create. Sometimes I am successful at creating the image I pictured in my mind and sometimes it takes a different direction. It is important for me to be open to allowing the creative process to evolve in this manner. 

Tell us about your camera.

I work with the Canon line of cameras and lenses. I have had several camera bodies and my latest is the Canon 5D Mark III. I’m a firm believer that it is not the camera or lens that makes the photo but the photographer behind the viewfinder.

While I do think camera bodies are important, its the lenses that matter most to me. The macro 100mm L series 2.8 IS lens is one of my favorites lenses. I love shooting details and so the macro properties of this lens make it essential in my camera bag. I love two all purpose lenses - the 50mm 1.4 lens and the 24-70mm L lens. Both are great all purpose lenses, with the 50mm being my lense of choice when I need a light and small lens.

I have begun playing more with the Lensbaby Composer + Edge80 and see using this lens more and more. 

Where else can we find your work besides your Etsy shop?

Here are some ways to follow my work and keep in touch:
Locally, the Newton Open Studios:

Upcoming show at NewTV 12/5/13 - 1/5/13. More details to follow on my blog and Facebook page.

Finally, any advice for those just getting started as a photographer?

I think it is important for photographers who want to make photography a career to really think about the business aspect of things. It is wonderful and rewarding to create beautiful images and even more to do so and be compensated for it. Deciding whether to go into business with photography is a huge step and one not to be taken lightly.

My advice is to spend some time either taking a class on what it means to run a small business, or read up on it. In business, you will spend less than half of your time--more like 20%--doing photography and the remainder will be business, so you have to love it (business, that is).


  1. Love learning about people as individual photographers! Helen, your work is beautiful and amazing, its so nice to get to know you on a little more a personal level. Love this idea!!

    Deb Obertanec

  2. Great feature! Very lovely work! :D I really love that first image!


  3. I really like this blog post, congrats Helen on being chosen to be the first in this series. Your work is beautiful, can't wait to visit your etsy shop.
    Sue Petri

  4. A huge thanks to FPOE for this opportunity! I'm looking forward to getting to know other talented photographers through this series.

  5. How wonderful to learn more about you. That first photo of the blouse is lovely

  6. This is a lovely post and such a well done interview, Claire! It is fantastic to get to know the members of fPOE. It's such a large group and this approach lets us all get acquainted in a more meaningful and personal way than we might otherwise. I'm looking forward to meeting more stars of fPOE!

  7. I enjoyed learning more about you, Helen! Wonderful interview :)

  8. Great new blog feature! Loved learning more about you, Helen. Your work is beautiful!

  9. I love Helen's work! Such fun to learn more about her! :)

  10. I love your work Helen and loved hearing more about you! This post was fantastic!

  11. Wonderful interview! Helen has such great work and I enjoyed learning more about her :)

  12. Great meeting you Helen. Really enjoyed this post. Thanks.

  13. Great interview Claire :)

    Thanks for sharing Helen :)

    Beautiful Work and great advice :) T.


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