Where She Creates: Shell Enste

To Shell Enste, who has built a newborn and family photography business bearing her name, there’s nothing more satisfying than creating the perfect image of a newborn. “I really take the time to make sure everything looks how it is supposed to look,” Shell said. “That’s my art.” 

Shell’s creative space is a studio located in her home in Lake St. Louis, Missouri. The basement area, which is off limits to her children, is laced with props. Vintage chairs, blankets, baskets and flowers abound. It’s set up as a living space, with each prop carefully incorporated into the home she shares with her family. She and her husband designed the open concept floor plan when their home was constructed. “I don’t like to feel confined to a space,” she said. So while there is a physical room dedicated to her work, the rest of the basement is an open concept with large windows and a minimalistic tone (as long as you don’t peek in the closets!). 

Like her home, Shell’s photography style is traditional and classic. It’s understated, clean and simple. The beauty is in her subjects. “I try not to do anything super trendy, because I want the images to stand the test of time,” Shell shared, adding that she loves to accessorize, add pops of color and layers. She may weave in texture with headbands or the outfit, or incorporate something as simple as an Expedition Subsahara basket into her shoot. She adds additional layers with textiles like lace, ruffles or silks — and of course flowers, lots of flowers. Just driving down the road and seeing all the wildflowers is an inspiration to Shell, who has scissors in her glove box for such occasions. Shell admitted that she finds inspiration everywhere, though. “If I’m in a store looking as a basket or a bucket, I’m thinking ‘Could I put a baby in here?’” she said laughing at herself. “My mind always goes to a picture.”

Shell knows newborn photography is seen as one of the more difficult specialties in the photography world, but that’s where she started. Shell worked as a newborn photographer in the hospital before striking out on her own. “I got to know newborns and their mannerisms, what they need, etc. and I became very comfortable working with infants,” she remarked. “But who doesn’t love a newborn baby?” (Point taken.) Having the perfect space to create images for new parents and growing families is all about picking a direction and finding your inspiration. “Make it your own,” Shell said. 

Below photos courtesy of Shell Enste Photography - Check out her work at: https://shellenstephotography.com