Q: When you think of yourself as a photographer, do you feel like you’re more business-minded or more art/creativity-minded? Or are you a mix?
I'm definitely both. I've always been far more right brained in life. Always artistic and creative and always horrible at math. But as I've grown in my business, I've developed much more of a entrepreneur spirit and business brain. I still wouldn't say I'm "great" at business, but I have my ideas, and I am not afraid to go for them in my own way, whether that way is right or wrong, it's my way, and I'm comfortable rolling with it.
Q: What do you think is one of the biggest challenges photographers are faced with right now?
FEAR. FEAR. FEAR. We fear everything. We fear our competition outshines us, that we aren't good enough, that we aren't doing things the "right" way, rejection. The list never ends. And all of the fears build up and cripple us. And I believe there is a way to combat it all.
Q: What’s been one of the biggest hurdles you’ve had to overcome in your business in order for it to continue to thrive and be successful?
For me, it's been building up the courage to take risks. To not be afraid of doing things my way and feeling confident in that. Not shying away from something that might fail. There are no guarantees in life, and especially not when taking a risk. But nothing has made me grow more, than taking a leap of faith, whether I land on my feet or not, I am always glad I tried.
Q: If you could go back in time and tell your photographer newbie self one thing, what would that be?
BE PATIENT. I've seen too many photographers rush to the top and struggle. Work hard to get where you want to be, but don't be in such a rush to get there. My journey has been slow and steady the whole way through, and I feel I've learned so much more that way.
Q: How do you deal with burnout? What do you do to boost your creativity when you’re in a slump?
REST. For me, it's always rest. A little time away to be just wife, mom, friend, daughter, whoever, just not photographer. Its not because I don't love it. Heaven knows I do like nothing else. But even the kids we love drive us insane after so long right? Everyone needs a little rest from what occupies their mind and time. After a couple of weeks break, I'm itching for my camera and full of ideas. That's usually when I go and set up a shoot that's just for ME. Done just as I want, just when I want. No expectations, no deadlines, just create what I want and enjoy.
Q: How do you stay true to your art while taking care of your business?
Pick your niche and stick to it. I dipped in and out of weddings for way too many years. They weren't where I found my joy and passion, but I thought I had to do it to make a living. But in the end, I just knew that wasn't where I was meant to be, so I stopped them completely and my business grew faster when I did. I'm not saying you can't do both, because I know many that do, but for me, as a photographer, I want to create what means the most to me. And as I client, I want to hire someone who is shooting what means the most to them.
Q: What’s the best part about being a photographer and doing the work that you do?
Family work means a LOT to me. My family is my life. Where my greatest joy comes from. And watching my young family grow and grow and change every day, sometimes rips my heart out. How I want to preserve and save every stage, every quirk. And with photography, I can. And not only for myself, but for other people. I'm preserving what means the most to them. And so often, through those experiences with my clients, I come to be so close to them and their family. Picture day stops being a big stress and becomes something their family, their kids, look forward too. The ultimate compliment after a session for me is a family telling me how much fun they had at their session. How great the experience was. How much more rewarding can it get?
Q: When do you feel the most creative?
Usually when I shoot in someones home. When I'm there, I'm overwhelmed with looking for little details that I think might be really meaningful to that family. And I see it everywhere. Sometimes I think I may see more than the family themselves. We get so used to our home, our space, and we overlook these tiny precious details. And it fuels my fire to find those things and show them to a family that I know will treasure them.
Q: Have you ever felt that running the business side of things mentally overwhelms you? How did you overcome that?
Ummm, like on the daily. Haha. I don't think you can have a successful business and never feel overwhelmed. Show me one job where you never get overwhelmed. And honestly, you're dang lucky if you do. It means you are busy and business is probably busy. It's a great problem! But still a problem. For me, hiring out help has been completely life changing. A nanny, bookkeeper, assistant, house cleaner, whatever you can let go of, let it go. And watch your mind clear up and be open to new ideas and inspiration, and better work.
Q: What is your favorite part about teaching and connecting with students?
I LOVE when I teach a student something new and I can instantly see what a lightbulb moment it was for them. Their face lights up and they know their game is now changed for the better.
In and instant. It's the biggest high.