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!