I have been in business since 2003, 13 years. I started a wedding photographer and then moved to family and seniors. The family and wedding market is pretty saturated here, so I began looking for new business in boudoir in 2011, I still have a handful of weddings this year and still take a small number of seniors and families.
I have been doing photography in one form or another since high school. I have always loved taking pictures and was self taught on film in the 90s. My first family and wedding jobs were also on film before switching to digital. I am self taught, never having taken a photography class. I read a lot of books about photography and I have taken millions of photos.
I have always been into photography, but I didn’t consider it as a career at first. I actually have a graphic design degree and went into design for marketing and advertising. While working at a small ad agency I was asked to do some photo still of cars in the studio because the staff photographer’s wife was ill. It stuck. A co-worker asked me to shoot her wedding and the “rest is history.” I continued to work full time but was doing more and more photography on the side. Some changes came to my employer and the path became clear. I left my full-time job in 2007 and have been only a photographer since then.
I am about 75% boudoir at this point. I do still take on seniors, a handful of families and a few weddings. Two years ago I shot 23 weddings, this year I have 5. Boudoir has been very rewarding professionally and spiritually. I enjoy meeting and chatting with women like me. I really enjoy photographing them and seeing them transform in front of me. I love knowing I have given women confidence and self esteem they needed. This is actually pretty similar to senior girls, with a less sexy vibe, but I overall just really like working with woman and girls that trust me and let me be creative.
If you knew someone who wanted to be a photographer, and could give them one piece of important advice, what would that be?
Take lots and lots and lots of photos. Practice. Practice, Practice… and learn about business and sales. If you want a successful business, you need to know and understand the parts that actually make you money, and it’s not necessarily the images.
Have you ever done a boudoir session yourself, if you are a female (sorry guys 🙂 ? Do you think it’s something that is important for female boudoir photographers to do?
Yes! I just did it this past month and it was amazing. I really am glad I was able to experience it from the client side.
How do you feel about the male / female debate regarding boudoir photographers?
I have no opinion.
What do you do to avoid burn-out? Is there ever a time when you just want to throw your camera out the window?
YES. Boudoir has been very successful for me the past two years and we have no had a slow season. I used to treasure (and dread) those slow months, but we simply haven’t had one. If someone has tips on battling burnout, I am all ears right now!
In the past I would take some time off, do creative projects, do workshops and chat with other photographers. We haven’t had a lot of time for that and I am needing to make that happen soon.
What do you love about the business?
It’s different every day! I love that no two days are ever alike.
What do you hate about the business?
Having to hustle all the time. Justifying pricing. And, like any true business owner, never truly being able to shut off thoughts about business.
Are you a member of any professional photo organizations like PPA, WPPI? What benefit do you feel you get by being a member?
PPA – I honestly don’t see the point in being a PPA member anymore, but I keep it as a support of my industry.
Do you compete and do you have any opinions on it? AIBP runs contests regularly. Do you participate? If not, is there a reason you don’t?
I don’t generally because I don’t take the time to do so. I also have very limited clients that sign full releases so my pool of images to participate is small.
SOME FUN MORE PERSONAL STUFF:
I like a lot of things, but Indian Food is probably tops.
One guilty pleasure in life?
I buy way too many clothes.
What is your favorite piece of clothing?
My yoga pants.
What’s one song on your playlist?
Sexyback. That song just gets me going.
What’s your favorite movie genre? Example?
Historical Dramas and Romantic Movies. I like chick flicks. Dirty Dancing, The Notebook, and things like Shawshank Redemption, Braveheart
Favorite shoes to wear?
Tiek Ballet Flats. Yes they are worth the money.
What are you currently reading?
Nothing. Just finished the Lilac Girls and haven’t started something new.
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would that be?
If you could go back and do over anything in your life, what would that be?
I would have went to business school and got a business degree. I have made a lot of costly business mistakes learning how to be a business owner. The creative side was easy, the business side, not so much. Now I think I have a good business and have used my lessons to improve and grow as a person and business owner.
If you could meet and photograph someone famous, who would that be and why?
Brock O’hurn. Because… Brock O’Hurn
What do you struggle with the most in life? (not photo related)
Work/life balance. I have really busy kids and have a hard time juggling it all sometimes.
Are you married, single, have kids, husband? Is life a juggling act for you?
I have been married for 14 years to Dwayne and we have 4 kids. Life is very much a juggling act. As much as I try to think I can do it all, I finally hired a cleaning lady this summer and a dog poop cleaner. It’s the little things that help… And as for the kids, it takes a village. We have a great network of neighbors and friends and that helps.
Who inspires you the most in life? Work?
In my work, definitely the women I meet and photograph. Everyone has such unique and beautiful stories. I love that I get to see that. In my life, it’s definitely my kids. They ground me and motivate me and always teach me lessons.
If you could provide one single piece of advice to influence a young person’s direction in life, what would that be?
Whatever you do, do it with all your heart. Don’t half ass anything.