Today we’d like to introduce you to Tara Chatterton.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I began my photography journey about six years ago when my father-in-law lent me his old Olympus camera and kit lens. I had absolutely no idea what I was doing and at the time it was simply a hobby while I worked and completed my Master’s degree. One of my good friends, Cassandra, taught me all the basics of photography and allowed me to accompany her to sessions and even a few weddings. I look back at those images now and cringe a bit! But Cassandra’s willingness to pour into me and share her knowledge set into motion a passion for me that would end up meaning more than she or I could ever know. I began to learn more about the basics and eventually take on a few clients of my own here and there. I made every mistake you could as a new photographer and business owner- I’m talking no contracts, using every free preset I could Google, biting off more than I could chew all around.
Jump forward a few years and I found myself pregnant with my first child. Photography took a major back seat as I was working full time in another field and had a Masters degree I was supposed to be using. Motherhood ended up being more difficult than I anticipated and photography ended up being one of many things that helped get me through a dark time of my life. I reconnected with some old friends, networked with some new ones, and began photographing people for fun. That passion kicked back in and I started to go to more workshops, styled shoots, second shooting for more photographers, and basically working my tail off to learn all that I could. In the span of less than one year, I second shot over 40 weddings. I was exhausted by the end of last year but I had learned so much and made so many connections.
My skills as a photographer had grown by leaps and bounds and I find myself now confident and thriving in my business. But it is important to me to remember how it all began. I was taught by many people, people who shared their knowledge and trusted me to join them to capture their client’s memories. That spirit of sharing and teaching has stuck with me and is an important component of my business model now.
Has it been a smooth road?
My journey as a small business owner has been somewhat smooth I would say. There are so many components to owning a small business that no one tells you about such as the legalities of taxes and insurance or whether to be an LLC or a sole prop. There is also the challenge of numbers. For someone like me who has degrees in the liberal arts through and through, calculating my cost of doing business, income, and more makes my head hurt! Fortunately, there are helpers out there who can rescue the helpless like me. The areas that are not so easily fixable for me have been learning to balance my time and customer service.
My most important job for me, will always be to raise my daughter. I am still learning how to balance my busy season with ensuring she has my time and attention, as well as leading a Bible study and managing to sneak in a date night here and there. Working at 12 am sometimes is a thing. Customer service can be tricky as well. I look at my clients as people I serve, not just people who pay my bills. I am learning to balance the realities of running a business and having to say no to identifying my business as one that values relationships over the bottom line.
So, as you know, we’re impressed with Tara Nichole Photo – tell our readers more, for example what you’re most proud of as a company and what sets you apart from others.
My specialty and my heart are truly with weddings. There is something so special to me about celebrating with a couple and being next to them throughout one of the most important days of their lives. If I had to say what I hope I am most known for, it would be my connection and genuine joy for my clients. I am such a relational person so I want my clients to know I am truly rejoicing with them. I know my attention to detail and their comfort on the wedding day is a huge blessing to many couples, whether it be grabbing a glass of water after the ceremony or straightening up ties for the guys.
I also think my philosophy of “these is their memories, not mine” has served me well thus far. I know I could probably make more money by selling additional prints or images, and that is an amazing business model for many people, but I found that it just doesn’t work for me. If I have more amazing images from a session than I told my client I would provide, I’m most likely going to gift them with most of those. It’s important for me for my clients to have their memories! I think that work ethic and overall integrity sets me apart. There are so many amazing wedding professionals out there, but there are also so many who take advantage of people. To know that I am someone a couple can trust wholeheartedly makes me proud.
Let’s touch on your thoughts about our city – what do you like the most and least?
As a resident of downtown Phoenix, I would have to say I absolutely love the way Phoenix has embraced its urban vibe. I moved out of the suburbs for a place where my daughter might experience more than just chain restaurants and the same strip malls with big box stores. I love the fact that we have some restaurants unique to Phoenix and the plethora of small businesses to peruse. Besides the heat (the obvious choice of dislikes), I would say I really dislike seeing some of the old buildings being demolished (like the old Bashas on 7th Ave and Osborn). Oddly enough, one of my biggest concerns is downtown turning into an urban suburb. But I guess that’s just the price of change.
- Wedding Photography begins at $2000
- Wedding Videography begins at $1300
- Portrait Sessions begin at $250
- Website: http://www.taranicholephoto.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/taranphoto
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/taranicholephoto
Credit to Kaemere Photography & Design