Photography is an art many enjoy, but the rare, faithful few jump into it as a business and create Cute photogenic walls in Harajuku Tokyo. Although, I remember when Mr. Dial and I were researching wedding photographers in the area. Wow. Google can hardly contain them all. Of course, in addition to wedding photographers, there are a number of other subsets – boudoir, maternity, family, commercial, etc.
It’s always interesting to meet the person behind the art. A few years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Andrea Farmer, owner of Andrea Farmer Photography. She offers a variety of unique, photographic art and can capture your special memories – maternity, newborn, children, family, seniors, professional headshots, engagements or weddings. We met through a fabulous local organization we both volunteer with that is all about historical preservation. As I’ve gotten to to know Andrea, I understand why her clients love her and her beautiful work. She has an irresistible personality, a contagious laugh, an eye for capturing unique shots and perspectives and knows how to get the job done! She’s also an incredible mom and wife, too! I’m very excited to introduce you to…Andrea Farmer!
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Andrea, tell us how you discovered your passion for what you do.
When I got my first Fisher Price camera as a birthday gift for my 6th birthday. What a lucky girl- I found out in Kindergarten what I wanted to be when I grew up. That left the rest of my life to just learn, have fun and play!
Who is your target customer and/or reader?
People who value the priceless nature of photographs – the ability to capture a moment in time and to portray people genuinely and at their very best.
How do you maintain a work/life balance?
Having two children and a husband who is also an entrepreneur makes balance a tricky thing. I love giving my children things that I get on this online baby gift store because I can see their happy faces when they see what I bought. Time together, QUALITY time together, is our top priority. I spent too many nights falling asleep at the keyboard doing late night edits and missed out on bedtime stories and quickly realized that was not the kind of family life I wanted. So I took a workshop on Life/Work Balance and it really put some things in perspective and I had the opportunity to learn from others’ experiences.
Communication is paramount. Its not fair to assume the other person assesses life events and appraises them with the same value you do, and visa-versa. For example, to YOU saying yes to the double-date with your best friend and her hubby on Friday night may be a 5 but to your husband it may be a 2. To your husband, taking a run together on Sunday morning may be a 5 but to you it may be a 2. Say so. Communicating what’s important to you and what you NEED your partner to say yes to is vital. Also, I try not to ever turn down an opportunity to play with my children when they invite me into their sweet worlds. That time, you can’t ever get back. 😉
Do you have employees / an assistant / intern program? If so, how did you adjust to letting go of the work and entrusting someone else with it?
After trying to do everything myself as a one-woman show, I was running low on spare time to spend with the people in my life (refer to Question 2). So I made the executive decision to take the roles that I either a.) enjoyed the least or b.) wasn’t extremely adept or skilled at doing… and I sought out experts in those fields and selected pros in those areas to delegate to. I have found illustrious leaders in the Graphic Design, Lab & Printing and Website Design fields and have had great success with our partnerships.
What has been your best method for generating new business?
I am a grassroots kind of girl so up to this point, it has only been word of mouth. I preferred this kind of growth as it’s grown organically and given me the opportunity to build my business without many growing pains.
What is the biggest personal sacrifice you’ve had to make because of your business?
Honestly, time with my family. But that’s a work in progress and I’ve made huge strides in finding that balance over the past year.
What aspect do you most enjoy about your business?
EVERYTHING- working with people, getting to know the families, playing with props, sets, styled shoots, my camera, lenses and other gear. The post-production side of things… all of it. The photography community is just an amazing group of individuals- some who are wired for the creative side and some who are wired for the technical side. I try to learn from the best of both sides.
What is your favorite thing about being self-employed?
The freedom to plan my own schedule so I can be there for the soccer games, art classes, story times and family dinners. That’s the most important aspect, for me, of being an entrepreneurial mother.
If you could go back and give yourself one tip from day one of the business, what would it be?
Don’t compare yourself to others. Especially in a creative field.
Are you involved with any community outreach / non-profit organizations? If so, tell us about it/them and why you got involved.
I am. Community so important to me. I am on the Board of Next Generation Heritage Foundation, which holds community involvement and historic preservation at the helm of our mission. My husband and I also do a lot of work with Autism Speaks. We do a lot of volunteer work and charitable donations. We try to do a lot of the monetary donations anonymously because, to us, that’s the true definition of altruism.
Where do you go for inspiration? (Person, website, location, book, etc…)
I get inspiration from EVERYWHERE. A cup of tea, a conversation with a friend, a children’s story book, a day at the park, movies, EVERYWHERE… I really respect the work of other photographers and artists and draw a tremendous amount of inspiration from perusing others’ work. I love that we can all draw inspiration from one another- it keeps us all connected and can provide a fresh view of an old landscape when you see it through someone else’s lens.
What one thing have you not done that you really want to do?
Shoot a traditional Indian wedding. Go on a photo safari around the world- especially Eastern and Western Europe, South Asia, Eastern Asia and Africa.
What gets you excited about the future of your business?
Watching the families grow, add new family members, reach exciting new milestones, get married, graduate high school… and to grow alongside them
What activities make you lose track of time?
What is the one thing you would most like to change about the world?
Wish people would let go of bitterness and one-upmanship and just open themselves up to being happy and lifting up those around them.
What’s your favorite joke? 🙂
A: What’s a nosy pepper do? Get’s jalapeno business! heehee
How can we connect with you?
Thanks a ton, Andrea! Wow, I don’t know many people who actually knew at such a young age what they would choose for their career. I certainly didn’t! At that age, I wanted to be a veterinarian, an astronomer, a marine biologist and an actress. Clearly, none of those panned out, but I’m okay with that. 😉
So what did we learn from Andrea? Did you take away a few great nuggets? I hope so! Although I’m not a mom yet, I will say that family is one of the biggest reasons I’m thankful for my business. I love being able to set my own schedule and be a daughter, wife or friend when it’s most important…not just on the weekends or after 5pm.
In closing, a HUGE thanks to Andrea Farmer! Please do connect with her on Facebook and check out her lovely portfolio on her website. You have big weekend plans? I’m in Dallas learning about some MAJORLY exciting announcements for my business. I can hardly wait to share! Until next week!