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Meet Trailblazer Tammy Zelez

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tammy Zelez.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
Ever since I was little, I have had some sort of camera in my hand. Whether it be disposable, a Polaroid, 35mm, or digital, I have wanted to document my life through images. From fun trips with friends or family to taking selfies before selfies were cool, it was just something I loved to do!

My children made it real for me. I didn’t want to forget a minute of their life. Every new outfit, every outing took, was on film. When there wasn’t anything fun to do, I would tell them to dress up and we would drive around until I found a cute location to have a photo shoot!

I’ll never forget, one summer day, my girls and I binged watched Americas Next Top Model. I loved the photo shoots in that show and my girls loved the fashion and hair and makeup. We were all so fired up, I told them to find totally off the wall outfits, and do their hair and makeup over the top and we set out to have an ANTM photo shoot! We had so much fun! The girls came up with all sorts of elaborate poses giggling their way through. The images were amazing! My girls have always been the biggest supporters of my photography and that means so much to me.

I worked with my parents at their restaurant for 22 years. I would do photography on the side, more as a hobby. I was too scared to consider it a job because of how passionate I was about it. I didn’t want it to have to pay bills or help put food on the table. I would then have the pressure of making sure I had jobs all the time and I felt the stress of that would make me resent it. So, I was content with where I was. Once we closed the restaurant, I took a job that I did not like and struggled for a year to realize how miserable I was. My husband sat me down one night, looked me in the eyes and said, “Quit your job. I know you hate it. It’s not you. Photography is. Paycheck or not, do what drives you, do what excites you, do what you love.” And so, I did. For the last three years, I have been a full-time photographer. I have truly loved every minute of it!

I am extremely humbled with where I am today in my career and my many goals for the future. My niche in photography is high school seniors and branding. Never once in these three years have I ever regretted the decision I made!

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
In any career, it’s not smooth sailing, right? If it were, there would be no growth. I have had struggles with consistency because of our amazing summer heat! It’s a very hard time of year to photograph outdoors. Last summer, I turned one of the rooms in our home into a studio and bought studio lighting to continue to work in the summer. I was able to do headshots, model portfolios, and growing family sessions. I hope to continue that every summer!

My advice for younger women photographers is to NEVER EVER COMPARE yourself to others. Because we live in a social media world, the opportunity is there to compare. It is something that kills creativity and authenticity. There may be thousands of photographers out there, but there is only one you!! Your clients and fans love you for that reason! There is something that makes each one of us stand out in our industry. Find it and run with it!

“Always be a first-rate version of yourself and not a second rate version of someone else.” – Judy Garland

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Tammy Zelez Photography – what should we know?
I specialize in senior photography. I have had a rep program going on for six years now. I love my seniors! I love defining their personalities through their images. I am passionate about having my seniors stand out and have an individuality that sets their sessions apart from their peers. No senior should have the same photos as the next because they are all different in their own unique way. It’s my job to convey that.

I started to realize how important it was to me to empower my seniors to show originality. I found that I wanted to help entrepreneurial women do the same. I developed a custom branding photography package to help women personally define themselves through images that give a quality behind the scenes look at what drives them to do what they do.

I feel that to define my brand would be to define my client. I am passionate about people doing what they love! I love to watch people succeed. It is what drives me to be a better photographer because I want to help tell the best story I can through my images of my amazing clients. Each senior is different and each entrepreneur is different and needs the opportunity to show how!

So much of the media coverage is focused on the challenges facing women today, but what about the opportunities? Do you feel there are any opportunities that women are particularly well positioned for?
I am a firm believer that women can do what men can do. If you set your mind to something, do it, but do it with integrity, not with an agenda.

I have seen many stories of women empowerment in recent months and I feel more of these stories need to be on the forefront versus what the media chooses to cover. This magazine, for one, is based on that empowerment and should be saturating the world.

Pricing:

  • Senior sessions starting at $425
  • Contact me to customize a branding package!

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Tammy Zelez Photography

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