Please tell us about yourself. Where you are from and what your business is?
I am in the state of New Mexico – U.S.A. I work fulltime, but also have a photography business – All4uphoto
When did the idea of setting up your own business occur to you?
I became fascinated by photography when I was 14. Those were the days when you had to send your film out for processing and then wait for the pictures to come back in the mail. My how things have changed.
Have you stayed true to your original concept or has it changed over time?
Absolutely. My passion is capturing what is “real”. I have not and will not become a photographer who does a lot of photoshop. My images have remained a natural and true reflection of what or who it was that I photographed.
Were you responsible for building your business from scratch and is the site entirely self-funded?
Yes, it took me years to get to a point where I could afford a studio.
Have you had any similar experience prior to launching your business and do you think it has helped or hindered its development?
I taught myself all aspects of photography including b&w processing and print making. I have done photojournalism, spot news, sports, weddings, commercial and portraits. All of my experience has led me to the place I am now.
What has been your proudest day so far?
Actually I am always proudest when I see the expression on the face of a model when she sees her images and says, “Wow!! You’re amazing! I can’t believe that’s ME!”
What was the biggest challenge you faced in setting up your business?
Marketing, promotion, and overcoming the stigma created by dishonest photographers and the number of scams that flood the modelling business.
What is the most important lesson you have learned?
It’s like what every successful person says – You haven’t failed until you stop trying.
When setting up your business did everything go according to plan?
No, of course not….there are so many stages where it would have be easier – maybe even smarter – to quit.
When have you been most worried?
I have worried about when it would be smarter to do something else – and rely more on myself and not be dependent on models and other people in the business.
Have there been any crises you’ve experienced with the business? How did you respond and how did it affect the site?
No crises so far…
I imagine you get a lot of feedback on your work from people who try to tell you how you should be doing things. How do you handle this?
Listen to the people who have achieved what you are trying to achieve. The others – just smile and say “thank you”.
What kind of response have you received so far?
Lately I have only been receiving positive feedback.
What character traits do you feel have helped you to get to this point?
Determination and discipline.
What character traits would you say are needed to set up a business like yours?
Confidence, curiosity, be open-minded, and you must be willing to work during all of the times you would rather relax.
What celebrity would you say best represents your business?
At this point since all “celebrities” have attained enough success to be known far and wide, I would say none of them since that is something I have not yet achieved. I hope to be my own celebrity one day.
What separates your business from others and makes it unique?
I don’t follow trends. That is both good and bad. I have a different agenda than most of my competition.
Would you say it was essential to have a unique selling point or that quality was more important?
You must have both. You can sell all day long and if you’re product isn’t a quality one you are doomed. And, you can have the best quality out there, but if you don’t go out and sell, no one will care.
There are many things that inspire. What things or people have you found inspire you the most?
I am inspired by quiet determination and anyone who has overcome the obstacles in their life and went on to achieve success and happiness.
What other people have influenced you the most along the way?
Photographers would definitely be Ansel Adams. Business – would without a doubt be Jerry Weintraub
What advice would you give to someone wanting to follow the same path?
Follow your heart but keep an open mind. Know when to listen and when to speak. Double the amount of time you are thinking it will take you to be successful – and that still may not be enough.
Would you say your chosen path has been the right choice and why?
I have always said that life is too short to be doing something that doesn’t make you happy. So for me, yes.
Is there anything you would like to add that we haven’t already?
Only that I wish you every success and much happiness.