ABOUT DIANA'S PHOTO EXPRESSIONS:
I am often asked about how my business started and about my background in photography, so I thought a page about how this all began might be fun to share! I encourage you to think about what you love to do and how you might be able to DREAM BIG to create a small business based on something you enjoy.
In 2008, I was having a conversation with my sister-in-law about a few of her photographer friends in her area had a simple business plan of selling edited images of a session on a CD--no purchasing of prints required. At that time, I didn't know of anyone else in the area offering a service like this, and loved the simplicity of the idea. So, I went for it--bought my first D-SLR Canon camera, created a website and told my friends about what I wanted to do.
In naming my business, I doodled lots of ideas! I knew I didn't want my last name involved--I mean, who can pronounce or even spell Mandernach?! Since my goal was capturing expressions and true personalities, I finally settled on 'Diana's Photo Expressions' (which I still love today)!
My first fall of photographing kept me busy enough with many friends' families outside and offering a CD from their session for a small cost. They told their friends, and I offered a referral incentive (and still do). I learned quickly that one of the best assets of a small business is having great word of mouth advertising! The credit to my continually growing business is given to my returning friends (and new friends) who love to tell others about me, as well as the magic of Facebook.
So, I had my first group of 'clients,' but honestly really didn't know the basics of how to use my camera or much less, how to run a successful business. As I continued my part-time teaching job as an elementary technology teacher and worked on my master's degree (in education), I spent more and more time researching and learning online about photography and running a business.
My husband and I took a community education course together on the basics of how to use my fancy camera and decided to invest in studio lighting (again, no knowledge of how to use it when we bought it) to make it through the winter months when it was too cold to be outside. So, the basement evolved from a plan of a pool table and game room into a studio area instead!
At the end of my 2010 school year, my teaching contract was not renewed and honestly it was quite an emotional and self-reflective time for me. With the support of my hubby, I decided to pursue the photography business as a full-time job. With my 'on the job' experience of trials and errors, online research and creative goals, my photography has consistently improved and I can now say, I actually do know what I'm doing with my fancy pro camera :) And after hundreds of sessions, I've figured out lots of fun little tricks that 'work' and continually strive to improve my photography and my business.
Looking back on my journey thus far, every skill and piece of education I've had has led me to this path that combines all of my creative talents, technology background and love of interacting with kids. Therefore, my dream job has come about through a series of events and promptings.
As with any business or stories of success, there are always obstacles to overcome. My story of being a 'momtographer' turned 'photographer' is not welcomed by all in the photography industry, though. In the photography world and photographer forums, it's a very hot debate of selling digital files vs. photographic prints. As I've attended various professional photography seminars, it's often talked about as unprofessional and is quite the taboo topic. However, I love my workflow, I Love that I offer a digital product in today's technology-driven world, and I honestly LOVE my simple and sweet business plan. My work schedule (and work flow) is tailored around my family calendar and activities. There are so many creative ways to run a successful business, and this is what works for me :) I respect all types of business plans in the photography world--I just choose to love the way I run mine!
Every small business has a story of how it came about--and that's mine! If you're still reading this, I encourage you to consider what you love to do, listen to your inner voice and ask yourself 'why not?!' Focus on what you can do, step out of your comfort zone and give it a shot! Everyone deserves to have a job they love and I feel so fortunate and blessed that I have that! I look forward to many fun, creative years ahead!!