Sheri McAninch – Bellaire Ohio Your Business Name MacSnaps Photography, LLC Business Website www.macsnapsphotography.com Instagram Account @macsnapsphotography Interview by Olivia Bush
How did you decide that you wanted to get into the photography business? Initially, I was a mom taking pictures of her kids’ sports. I would take them and post them on social media. One day, I had two of the moms on my daughter’s softball team ask me to do senior pictures for their children. I just laughed….but they insisted! From there it has taken on a life of its own! In the spring of 2017, I started thinking that it might be God trying to tell me it is time to create a business. So, I did! July 5th, 2017, I became an official business in the state of Ohio. It has been a journey of pure faith. Currently, I have an office, a large indoor studio space and a beautiful outdoor studio and business is booming!
What do you love so much about getting to take photographs of teenagers and capture their beauty? I love it when teens are unequivocally themselves and it shows in their images. I love helping them witness their true beauty! I also love to hear what their hopes & dreams are, and their plans for their future! I am a middle school teacher and used to lead a youth group with my church, so I have always loved being around young adults. My very favorite thing is when parents tell me kids hate to get their pictures taken or hate to smile and I manage to get them to have fun with it and work a few smiles into their session!
I know that one of your goals is to start a model team, what are your goals for this and what would you want it to look like? I really would like to showcase teens and their talents. Dancers, athletes, artists, actors … Whatever they feel makes them unique and special. Teenage years can be rough, and a time when kids become critical of themselves. I want them to celebrate what makes them amazing and to capture their true beauty.
What was the toughest thing about starting your business? What advice would you give to others looking to do the same? Doubt. Doubt creeps in big time. All the “what ifs” start to pop in your head and it is easy to fall into a trap of comparing your work to others. When I went to rent my indoor space, it took me a long time to commit. I was worried sick that I wouldn’t be able to make rent and bills. I worried people would not like my work. The best advice I could give is BE YOURSELF and be willing to take risks! I started my business at the age of 48! You will never know what you are capable of until you put yourself out there! Three years ago, I would have laughed if anyone told me they knew my business would be where it currently is. I am proof that staying the course and believing in yourself can help you achieve anything!!
I know that currently you do not do any destination shoots, but would you be interested in starting them? What different places would you shoot? I would LOVE to! I did an engagement shoot one time in Pittsburgh, PA, which is about an hour from where I am located. It was SO much fun! We discovered so many cool places to shoot! Part of the fun of a shoot is discovering little hidden treasures that create amazing images!
Who or what influences your style most? My cousin Scott. He is a retired photographer and is my mentor, sounding board, and the one who pushes me and challenges me to continue to get better and grow. He never tires of my endless questions; he is honest and supportive. I could never show enough appreciation for his incredible influence.
If you could learn from any photographer or business mentor, who would it be? I love Annie Leibovitz’s work, and Peter Hurley’s. I love how their images capture the soul of someone. I also enjoy the work of Chris Orwig. They would be amazing to spend a day with and learn from!
What was the last podcast you listened to? It wasn’t a podcast, but a recorded zoom meeting with Beverly Williams. She is pretty “to the point” and fun to listen to.
Do you photograph anything other than teens? If so, what? Yes!! I also enjoy doing families, engagements, smash cakes, and newborns. I love people. I love their stories, and I love capturing their personalities and emotions in an image. My husband, who is a retired Army helicopter pilot, teams up with me and we also do drone photography!
Other than photography, how do you spend your time? I love spending time with my family. Having all my people in one space and listening to their laughter is the absolute best! I also love stealing a little bit of time with my hubby where it is just he & I.
What advice would you give to upcoming photographers? Immerse yourself. Take in all that you can learn from other photographers. Since I have had images recently featured nationally, I have come across some really incredible photographers. It is fun to study their style and learn from them!
Favorite image you have ever taken? (below) Yikes! There are many, all for different reasons. The one that sticks in my brain is Tanner. It was our first drone shoot for a senior, and he did great, and it came out amazing!
Best business book you ever read and/or conference you ever attended? Worth Every Penny by Sarah Petty. It has some incredible techniques in how to properly market yourself.
Three things on your bucket list: Do a tour of Europe! I have been to a few countries…but so many more on my list!! See Eric Clapton in concert! I have had the privilege of seeing many of the greats, but he is one that we missed! See an actual Broadway play ON BROADWAY! I am a lover of musicals!
Mallory Neil – Hollidaysburg, PA Mallory Neil Photography Business Website malloryneilphotography.com Instagram Account MalloryNeilPhotography Interview by Olivia Bush
What inspired you to want to get into photography and start your own business? I have always loved photographing everything and I decided to ask for a DSLR camera for Christmas several years ago! I started my own business because I knew it was something I wanted to continue to do. Starting my business and majoring in photography at Point Park University are two of the best things I've ever done! I was inspired to attend college to major in photography because of the opportunities I receive at my college to photograph many different things! If someone tells you that you can't do it, prove them wrong!
What is your favorite thing about photography and getting to take pictures? The absolute best thing about photography is meeting all the amazing people who are in front of my camera as well as the other photographers I get to meet! Because I photograph people who have done amazing things, who are just down to earth and genuine, it makes my job so fun! I love getting to capture a moment in time for these people!
Tell me more about your model team, what they do and how you started it! My model team started about 3 and a half years ago and has really taken off since! I have 13 on my team this year and they help me try new things, location-scout and really stay on top of my game! Their willingness to help me is amazing to me. Some of them drive more than an hour to make it to sessions and I am extremely thankful for them! I started with just a few friends while I was in high school and since, I have expanded to ladies from all over Central Pennsylvania!
Where is the coolest place you have shot so far? What is one place you would really want to shoot at? The coolest place I have shot is Pittsburgh in general. I love the architecture and the variety of photos you can get just from one session. It is a cool city with more and more to discover. In Pittsburgh, I also get to shoot at Highmark Stadium photographing professional soccer players, and that stadium has a great view of the city!
What is one goal you have for the future of your photography business? One short-term goal I have for my photography business is to book more sessions in Pittsburgh! I have a large client base in Central Pennsylvania, but I would love to get some seniors and other amazing people in downtown Pittsburgh with me!
Do you photograph anything other than teens? If so, what? Yes! Not only do I do other portraits such as couples, I have done a bunch of sports photography for my college and I got an amazing internship for the professional soccer team in Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC!
Danielle Monk – Elkview, West Virginia Greyscale Photography, LLC Business Website: GreyscalePhotographyLLC.shootproof.com Instagram Account: @greyscalephotographyllc Interview by Claire Plath
When did your passion for photography come about, and what do you love most about being a photographer? Looking back photography is something I have enjoyed since I was a child, I was about 5 years old when I got my first camera. In college I pursued photography even more. I got a “fancy” camera, took a photography class, and started booking sessions. I love that I can capture the beauty of someone or something in a moment and save it forever. Tell me about the different genres of photography you focus on in your business. I focus on a few different genres; weddings, family, lifestyle, newborn and seniors. I enjoy landscape and nature as well! I have also had the opportunity to photograph merchandise for a local boutique which was new and exciting.
What inspired you to start your own photography business a little less than a year ago, and what has the process been like? A couple of years went by and I never picked up my camera. One day I picked it back up, started taking pictures of my daughters (step) and that passion I always had came back. I began booking sessions for friends and family and as I shared my images with others, I was encouraged to start my own business. A friend who is also a client of mine offered to pay for my business license so, I took the leap and registered my business online. Since, I have booked holiday minis, family sessions, formals, weddings, seniors, and newborns. I also have a local business that rents studio space out for me to use whenever I need it. For the first year of business it is going quite well. My professional background has helped me prepare for the financial side of the business. I take care of taxes and all other financials on my own. How do you stand out in a community saturated with talented photographers who have been doing this for years? There are so many outstanding photographers in my community. I have used these individuals and their work as inspiration for my business. What makes me stand out among them is my style of work. I stay away from trends unless I have a client that requests something specific. My goal is to offer scenes and styles that other photographers aren’t offering at that time. My editing style is minimal. A photo captures who someone is in that moment and I don’t want to alter that, I simply want to enhance it.
What does your photography business stand for, and what does it mean to you? Greyscale Photography LLC is my outlet to pursue a mission of beauty, to help others find confidence within and share their passions. Who or what influences your style most? My clients and their individual styles.
If you could learn from any photographer or business mentor, who would it be? Milton Greene, he photographed Marilyn Monroe. I would love to stand back and watch him during a photoshoot.
What advice would you give to upcoming photographers? Follow your passion! Take positive feedback and run with it, take the negative feedback to fuel your fire. Best business book you ever read? Right Hook, Gary Vaynerchuck
Favorite image you’ve ever? Our youngest at age 11 in the creek by an old white chapel. “Take Me to Church” (above) Three things on your bucket list – Safari Photoshoot, Swim with Sea Turtles and interact with elephants.
Other than photography, how do you spend your time? I work a full time job at the West Virginia Golf Association. Me, my husband and 2 daughters spend a lot of time on our boat in Summersville, WV. I love to bake and cook.