Chasing Light

Photographer Maaike Bernstrom aims and shoots to showcase the beauty of the Ocean State

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Maaike Bernstrom is busy. She’s a photographer who works with top brands like Anthropologie and Vineyard Vines while still making time for local assignments and keeping up with her ever-growing Instagram feed, all from the Middletown home she shares with her husband and daughter. Her favorite time of day to shoot is what she describes as the golden hour before the sun sets for it’s flattering light, sun flare, and warmth.

Name your top locations in Rhode Island for a photo shoot.
Rhode Island is not lacking in beautiful locations. I love shooting down at Sachuset Point in Middletown, local farms, and beaches. Tiverton and Little Compton, Jamestown. So many beautiful locations that offer both the sea and farm backdrop at once.

Any advice for someone preparing to have a portrait done, indoors or out?
My approach is very relaxed: We are just hanging out and I am aiming to capture more candid moments then staged. As far as clothing, keep the colors neutral, tones on tones, whites with creams, etc. Keep the patterns to a minimal; if one person in the family is going to wear a print, the others should wear solids.

What do you think are the pros and cons of Instagram?
We live in such a digital age and everyone wants visuals. Any photographer should start building their Instagram presence. Positives: Instagram is a great way to get your work seen and connect with local and national brands, which ultimately leads to making money. The cons: it is almost a full-time job trying to keep up with the posts. A total time suck.

What is the best thing about being a creative person in Rhode Island?
For my industry specifically, Rhode Island is a fantastic place to photograph and to get into photography. We have endless beautiful backdrops to choose from, a huge wedding industry, a hip cool city with heaps going on. We are not far from the mountains, NY, or Boston… everything is within our reach. Our little state actually has very strong social media presence compared to other New England states. I was down in Charleston, South Carolina, a few months ago, and in a store overhead a group of girls talking about a social media influencer out of Rhode Island!