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Special Feature: Linawa Shaffer Photography (Above photo credit Heidi Hapanowicz)

They say it takes a village to raise a child and as FIT4MOM Tampa Bay celebrates our 4th anniversary we want to thank Our Village that supports us. Today we highlight Premier Sponsor to our MOMiversary party, Linawa Shaffer of Linawa Shaffer Photography. Wife, mother and entrepreneur Linawa captures the essence of her subjects in natural light photography, which has been a passion since working with her father growing up. Linawa has shot FIT4MOM Tampa Bay events and also lends her time to helping us learn how to use our own cameras to capture our kiddos. Read more from my interview with Linawa below and see her work showing at the Art Hop Taste Fest at the Largo Public Library. (

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Linawa Shaffer Photography

What got you interested in photography?

When I was about 17 my dad opened up Clearwater Photo Supply on Drew St. He is a black and white film photographer (Ric Savid had started when I was born. The store had supplies that catered mainly to students at SPC as well as hobbyists like mothers who wanted to learn how to take photos. Back then it was mainly about learning manual, but it was on the cusp on the digital era going mainstream. We developed film for customers. I worked in the store mainly to run register but I ended up learning how to process black and white film and absolutely loved it. I started doing headshots for extra cash at 19 and shot the first wedding to take place at the Botanical Gardens.

What is your work background before starting your business?

I am still a credit shy of an Associate of Arts degree. I was heading in the direction of social services, had worked as a server and then had a cleaning business for about 4 years. Eventually I let go of all my clients to create art full time. I was in the air force for a short bit as well.

What makes natural light photography unique?

I think uniqueness comes from being true to your own artistic voice, because that can't be duplicated; however it can be relatable. I personally like to use low light.

Why would you recommend your session?

The number one reason is the experience. ALL my clients have said how much fun it is and they can't wait to do it again. And then of course because these are precious images of precious people, immediate family will not be around forever. After my clients get their final products, it hits home these are heirlooms to be given to an adult child one day. Great grandchildren they may never meet, but surely they impacted their life in one way, one day will treasure these. It's one way family legacy is passed on.

How has photography and owning your business changed your lifestyle?

HA! I don't get enough sleep! I am working on that though! I absolutely love what I do and always have. I have a gift to make the mundane beautiful and I want to offer that service as long as possible. Having this business has allowed me to have connections with people that are extremely special to me.

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