Cereatha is one of those strong women business owners out there, but at the same time she's soft spoken and sweet as can be. She owns CTO Bridal and Prom Dress Boutique. I've been lucky enough to have worked with her for nearly a decade! She's always willing to collaborate and participate anytime we do photo shoots, bridal shows and other creative ideas! She had helped me dress my two daughters for prom and I got to shoot her own daughter's senior portraits and her family photos! I love knowing amazing women like Cereatha and I hope we get to work together just as much if not more in the future!!!
I got to go to LA last week with my daughter/photography nemesis!!! We were so excited to take photos in LA and one day we decided to have a contest on how many people we could shoot at Santa Monica Pier. We split up for about one and a half hours and searched for our victims, I mean models!!! It was so much fun to really put yourself out there and ask perfect strangers to photograph them. I loved chatting with people and learning about them, and my most favorite part was when some of them told me it really made their day that I asked them. One was even a mom and she dressed up to go to the pier with her kids and she was so flattered!! Another, was a girl who was graduating and was so excited to be a model for a minute! And of course, we can't forget the bulldog. Okay... he was my favorite!!!
Family portraits are so important! As a portrait photographer it's easy for me to say you should get them done at least once a year. But I also recommend you take as many photos of your family together all year long, even if it's with a selfie stick using you phone! Time passes so quickly and you'll be missing out on so many precious memories! I hear excuses all the time with all types of reasons not to take photos, but it's all we have to remember our past! One of my favorite things to do is look at old family photos from when my kids were little, or even older ones when me and my husband were young. The best ones are to see what granny and grandpa's family looked like many years ago! If they didn't take those photos think about how sad it would be! Take family photos as much as possible not just for you, but for the future generations!
I'm often asked by students of photography questions about the business and my career in particular. A friend from California asked these questions today. I liked it so much I thought I would share!! :D
1.How did you become interested in this career?
I’ve always like taking pictures, but when I was 18 my sister’s boy friend gave me his old camera. So, I took classes in college to learn how to use it.
2.What are the aspects of this career that you like?
I love being able to be creative! Working in television news got boring and redundant. With photography I can be as creative as I want to be, working all different locations and really push the limits of my imagination!
3.What are the aspects of this career that you dislike?
I really do love every aspect of my career but if I had to pick one it would be the business side! Dealing with taxes, accounting, sales, marketing, social media etc. It’s a huge part of what I do. In fact it’s most of what I do. Taking pictures is a very, very small portion of the job. I don’t love doing a lot of paperwork but it’s necessary to run a successful business.
4.Which classes or training did you take in college?
I minored in photography in college for two years and I got my degree in broadcasting. Broadcasting actually helped because I worked with television cameras that taught me a lot about digital technology before DSLR digital cameras came out.
5.Is there opportunity for advancement in this career field?
There’s always room for advancement as a photographer. In this business we call it evolving! Most photographers start out making very little money. But there are many photographers that make six figures or seven figures. It’s a matter of learning how to run a successful business and doing what you love.
6.Can you describe your daily work?
Most of the work I do it on a daily basis is at my computer in my office. I do paperwork, answer emails, phone calls, at least an hour or two of social media marketing. I’ll make appointments, scheduling and I work on taxes and accounting. The “picture taking” part is only about one or two hours a couple of days a week. And editing usually only takes a couple of hours. I typically work a 40 - 50 hour work week. Most of that is in the office at my computer.
7.Which skill do you think is the most important to perform this job?
Learning how to be a photographer and the technical side of the work is very important. It helps to be artistic and have an imagination and talent as well. But you could be the most talented photographer in the world and not make a penny. The thing you need to do to be a successful business owner as a photographer is to understand business and treat it like a business, not a hobby.
8.How do you keep your skills current?
I invest at least $2000 a year in education. I go to work shops, take classes online, I’m always studying and researching. Watching trends, staying current and also studying the market is super important . All of these things keep any business owner current in their field to stay successful.
9.If you were hiring a person for this job, what would you look for?
Anyone can be taught the skills necessary to be a decent photographer with proper training. But the thing I would look for when hiring someone is their work ethic. How hard you work and your drive would determine how good you will be. A hard worker can do almost anything.
10.What one thing would you do differently in regards to your career?
It would be nice to have a team. I would love to have an office manager, social media coordinator, editor, and other people to help outsource my work. I’m a one-man band and sometimes it becomes overwhelming.
11.What is your advice for someone who is interested in this field?
My biggest advice is continuing education and treating it like a business. In anything that you do, you need to adapt and keep up with the times. And, in order to be successful you must treat it like a business. It’s fun to take pictures. It’s a fun hobby. But if you want to make money and support your family, it needs to be treated like a business. Insurance, taxes, computer skills, social media, marketing etc. It’s more than just taking pretty pictures.
It's been a long dreary winter. So, I was SO excited to finally get to take some springtime engagement photos with Brianna and Ty!!! I'm so excited for their wedding at Indigo Falls this year!!!