Interview with Bahrain-based photographer, Makenzie Verbout

Just recently, we caught up with Makenzie Verbout, a Bahrain-based photographer. Makenzie specialises in everything family related – from baby bumps, through newborns and special events.

In this interview, she talks about her inspiration for becoming a photographer, tips, and some insights on the mum life. Scroll down to know more!

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m Makenzie and I’m a family and newborn photographer here in Bahrain. I have lived here for almost five years and have two daughters (7 and 5 years old). Before becoming a photographer, I worked in education and publishing.

Why did you go into family photography? What do you enjoy most about it?

I started, like many photographers, by first picking up a camera 8 years ago when my older daughter was born. Before having my girls, plenty of people told me time flies with babies but I didn’t really understand how quickly it goes until I had my own. I wanted to document as much as I could to remember it all.  As I shared photographs of my daughters, friends started asking me to photograph their families and over time that organically grew into a business. I love being behind the camera and translating the love and joy in each family into photographs. 

What are some of your favorite locations for sessions?

My absolute favorite place to do sessions is in clients’ homes. Your home is where you spend most of your time and are most comfortable. There is something special about having photographs taken in your home for your babies to look back on, so much nostalgia and so many memories.

I also love shooting outside around the island. I like to shoot at a lot of the historical spots like Arad Fort and park, in front of the beautiful murals and old doors of Muharraq, Sheikh Isa House (before it closed for construction).

Where do you pull your creative inspiration for your shoots?

I’m an observer by nature – one of my favorite things about working with lots of different families is noticing the special dynamics of your family and letting that lead me for the session. I notice the little things unique to your family like what you laugh about together and the way you snuggle your kids without any direction and incorporate that into our time together.

How do you balance being a mom and a full-time photographer?

This has been the biggest challenge for the last year with the pandemic and my girls doing their schoolwork at home. I’ve had to get a lot smarter about how I run the business. I have automated a lot more over the last year (booking process, client orders, etc.) to be more efficient, which clients have also enjoyed because it makes their experience with me smoother as well.

I also limit the number of clients I take on per week.  Keeping a schedule each day helps as well: we have scheduled time for schoolwork, time for the girls to play independently while I do work, and scheduled time for us to do fun things together. This is the best way I’ve found to keep a balance without neglecting either of my roles as a business owner and a mother.

Mother’s Day is approaching fast; do you have any offers that you’d like to share to our readers?

Yes! I am offering mini sessions at a special rate this weekend. These sessions are for mamas and their kids and will be taking place in my garden. I will also be offering a discount on full sessions for mamas and their kids next week. I’m really excited about these offers: the work of motherhood is often unseen and I want you to have a block of time where you just get to snuggle with your babies and be seen through my lens. I still have spots available on Friday afternoon for the mini sessions, and you can visit my Instagram for more information.

Are there any tips that you’d like to give to aspiring photographers?

Shoot something, anything every single day in the beginning.  The more you shoot the more you start to notice what works and doesn’t work, what you like and don’t like. You have to push through this trial and error, and the more you shoot the quicker you will see growth in your work. Use whatever camera you have. Worry about improving your skills first and then you can level up your gear.

You can also seek out a mentor or a teacher to help you along. I offer photography lessons to new photographers who need help with camera settings or fundamentals like light and composition.

You can check Makenzie’s portfolio here.