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Check Out Maren Nelson’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Maren Nelson.

Hi Maren, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself

Hi Maren, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself
Hi! I’m Maren, a wife to an almost Physical Therapist (we’re so close to graduation!) and a mama to the sweetest/sassiest 4 year old you’ve ever met, and I’m a Birth & Family photographer.

I often get asked “How long have you been doing photography?”, so you’d think I’d have an easy answer. I don’t. I’ve been doing it so long it’s hard to pinpoint a time as the ‘start’.

First, it was junior high yearbook, then high school, then classes as a senior and in college, as a hobby, starting to charge but not knowing enough to set up an actual business… you get the point. So we’ll go with when I finally went legit and registered my business in September of 2017, going on 5 years.

I’ve hardly taken the shortest or most efficient path in my business. The first two or three years I just remember blundering around. I invested in education but it wasn’t the right education and as a result, I ended up confused and frustrated, listening to too many voices telling me to do too many different things without actually telling me how.

In 2019, I was blessed to find my first mentor and that was an absolute game-changer. Not just some voice I was listening to on the internet, an actual living, breathing person I could talk to, ask questions, and get feedback from. She taught me a lot about SEO which was crucial when we moved states, from Utah to Arizona, in the middle of that year.

With her help and the things she taught me I was booking within a few months. But I was hustling hard and a crash was inevitable. Sure enough, just before covid hit in 2020, I had a serious conversation with my husband about how our life felt out of balance and re-establishing our priorities. I realized my greatest dream of motherhood had been taking a back seat and it had taken a toll on our family, most of all on my daughter who was acting out because of it.

I took a serious step back. For 6 months, I did nothing but the minimum. Answering inquiries, shooting, and editing. I’m a very all-or-nothing personality and during that time thought, because I couldn’t give my all to my business, I couldn’t have it at all.

I was so wrong.

To my absolute surprise, as fall approached, due mainly to the SEO training my mentor had given me, the inquiries started flooding in… and I was booking a lot! It was the busiest I’d ever been. When I went to do my taxes, I was shocked at how much money I’d made and opened my heart back up to the possibility of doing both. Having a business and a family. Be an amazing mom and photographer. That striving for balance would be worth it, even if some things still fell through the cracks on both sides.

There have been a lot of ups and downs since then. I’m lucky that my family doesn’t depend on my income so I can choose to create in a way that feeds my soul. In 2021, I especially focused on finding my why, why photography is my medium and what I hope to give to my clients through the images I create.

After a lot of soul searching, it boils down to truth. There are so many voices in the world, screaming at us through social media and entertainment, that we’re not good enough. Photography can slice through all that and show us the truth. The truth that you’re beautiful, worthy, loved, and enough, just the way you are. 2022 is about making sure I’m delivering more than pretty pictures, that I’m delivering that truth.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I don’t think starting or running a small business is ever a smooth road, doesn’t matter what you’re selling, it’s hard.

I think the biggest obstacles through the years have been finding the right voices to listen to and then trusting myself. Imposter syndrome is a real thing and is always waiting for any moment of weakness to rear its ugly head.

And Reels…. Reels are a major obstacle for me right now. I know they shouldn’t be that difficult but I just have such a mental block about them. It sounds so stupid but I’m including it because I’m sure I’m not alone in my loathing for Reels.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I specialize in everything that comes after the wedding. So families, newborns, maternity, anniversary, milestones, birth, seniors, etc.

I hope that what sets me apart is the belief that pictures have the power to change your life and strengthen your family. A session with me isn’t focused on capturing what you look like forced into uncomfortable poses, but real moments that tell your story and will make you feel something when you see them the first time and take you back to that feeling every time you look at them.

I hope what sets me apart is truth.

Are there any books, apps, podcasts, or blogs that help you do your best?
Apps:

• Thought Diary – This one is great at helping me process what I’m thinking and challenging imposter syndrome.
• Unscripted – Great for prompt and posing inspiration though they are adding more tools all the time to help photographers
• Sun Seeker – Light is so important for photographers and trying to guess where the sun is going to be at session time is a gamble, this takes the risk out of it by telling you exactly where it will be when at different times of the year.
• 17Hats – Helps me keep everything organized while delivering a professional, consistent experience to my clients.

Books:
• Self-Compassion: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself by Kristin Neff (haven’t finished it yet but it’s so good!).

Mentors:
• All Heart Access by Stormy Solis has been a game-changer this year!

Pricing:

  • All of my sessions start at $400 (family, maternity, newborn, senior, etc.)

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Maren Elizabeth Photography

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