Interview with Orlando photographer
How did photography become a career and what were you doing before?
I was working full time for Starbucks for eight years, and while I love the company, it became harder and harder to work the crazy hours while staying at home with two young kids. I have no idea what made me decide to hop back into photography and I honestly wasn't planning on making a career out of it, I was looking for a creative outlet because my job was all business and numbers.
I started taking a few of my friends’ pictures, their kids and families. I quickly learned that that was not my cup of tea. Then I had a friend of my husband's ask me to photograph their wedding. I was pretty dang sure I wasn't going to do it because it seemed like a boatload of stress and responsibility. I loved, however, how my husbands friends completely trusted me and my skills so I decided to go for it! I knew I had 9 months to prep, eat, sleep, and breath weddings. I Googled every article I could on how to and what to shoot for weddings, how to make timelines, and pinned a million and one images for inspiration. The wedding day came and although it was like nothing I have ever done, I loved the entire process: the thinking on my feet, and best of all, spending an entire day with a couple madly in love on one of the best days of their life. I came home that night exhausted and exhilarated; I knew that this is what I was supposed to do! I edited all the images, sent them to the couple, and on a whim decided to send the images to my favorite wedding blog, Style Me Pretty. Within three days I heard back that they were going to publish them. I was over the moon and so was my amazing couple!
I knew I had great groundwork for building a business as I had a lot of experience managing multiple stores and dealing with finances. I gained a ton of experience working for Starbucks, learning their philosophies on how to serve customers and always be one step ahead. They called it setting up for success. I think that business experience in dealing with customers or a specific client base is a huge help before running a business of your own since 90% is the actual business side, financials, client care, etc. I started Amalie Orrange Photography back in 2011. My photography business has evolved so much in the past few years and last year, I decided to take another big career risk and start another company, called The Branded Boss Lady. This business was started because of a need that I saw while coaching business owners (yes, I have another side business I do creative business coaching and consulting): most people had a beautifully written site and great images, they were missing images of themselves and images that represented their brand. I decided to focus on only working with women because I know the struggle of working as a women in a male dominated field, I know how hard it is to be a mom and run a business, I know that we as women usually put ourselves last on the list. I wanted to make women feel empowered, gorgeous, and proud of what they have created in their business, and share their voice though images. I launched BBL back in 2016 and it has brought me incredible amounts of joy to be able to cheer these ladies on.
How has Amalie Orrange Photography grown and adapted since its start?
Adaption, growth and continuing education are imperative for running a successful business! Adapting... keeping up with current trends and algorithms in social media - that alone is a full time job! Growth...changing our workflow to automated emails and questionnaires to save time and partnering with other makers or businesses to help each other grow. Education... to me this is one of the most important keys to success in my business. I am constantly looking for new ways to educate myself either with editing/shooting techniques, new apps or programs to save time, and of course, listening to hours upon hours of podcasts on business. I love watching Creative Live videos. I look to industry newcomers as a way to up my game, to them to see strategies they are using, ways of marketing or new techniques in shooting, and learn from that to evolve my business and brand. Being in business for seven years now, I am still learning something new every day.
How have you personally grown since starting your business?
I love doing all the things but I have found that in doing so, something will get left behind or suffer. I let my health go, my schedule was crazy, and I took on a lot more work because success meant having a full schedule. I have a secret... that is a big fat lie! Since then, actually the past three years or so, I have learned what I loved doing, what brings me joy, and I also learned what sucked the life out of me and how to say no gracefully without feeling bad or needing to explain myself. There is an art to work/life balance and it requires constant tweaking. It is never perfect but I found when I am doing something that I love it just seems easy.
I have grown so much since starting and even in the past year. I reached out to another local wedding photographer at the beginning of the year and mentioned something to her about working with her. I told her I have a big love for shooting weddings but all of the work leading up to and after was becoming overwhelming to me. She loved the idea and as of last week we have partnered together so that I still get to do the shooting on the wedding day and the engagement session and she handles all the contracts, timeline, emails etc. It is a match made in heaven and will greatly help me expand my branding photography business.
Find more of Amalie on her site: http://amalieorrangephotography.com/
This story was first published in Issue 8: Grow.