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Rising Stars: Meet Paloma Ruelas

Today we’d like to introduce you to Paloma Ruelas. 

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
My love for photography started with the help of both my mom and my Tia. My Mom would always gift me different cameras and my Tia was the one who always took photos and documented the milestones in our lives, printed them, and added them to albums that we still cherish to this day. As I got older and a camera was always at my fingertips, I eventually became the one to document everything and everyone!

After losing my uncle in 2016, I realized that we didn’t have enough photos of him and it made me realize how important it is to have photos of those I love and how it should be important to everyone else too. When my mom gave me my first DSLR camera in 2019, I started offering photoshoots to my friends and family. Bless their hearts for letting me capture their milestones at the beginning of my journey because I had no idea what I was doing!

Over the last few years, I practiced and practiced with friends and family. Over the last year, I took this hobby of mine more serious and made it an official business over the summer. I learn something new each day and evolve as time goes on. This journey of mine is only at the beginning and I am so excited to see where it goes in the near future.

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?
My journey has not been as smooth as I would like it to be. Photography is not about the gear that you have, it’s about the creativity that the photographer has within themselves and the education that is utilized along the way. I always had an eye for photography but being your own CEO, accountant, marketing director, and social media manager all while having two jobs/full-time job is not easy.

At the beginning of my journey, I had just graduated college with a degree in Sports Management from GCU (Go Lopes!). I pursued a career for the Suns that started in the ticketing center all while working as a server at a local restaurant. Since it was at the beginning of my journey and I had a good grasp on my schedule, at this point it was just about learning and practicing. Once COVID hit and I lost both of my jobs, the only thing I had left was Photography. I started planning different types of shoots, asking friends if they can model for me, and even offered sessions to seniors who couldn’t finish out their senior year the way they’d hoped. Once I got a full-time job in the middle of the pandemic, I had less time to do what I am really passionate about! As time went on, I’ve been able to manage my schedule and take in as many clients as I can.

Currently, my struggle is just comparing myself to others, which is rule number 1 in this industry… but it’s hard to not see others’ success and want that too. Not too long ago, Instagram (my main source for new clients) announced that they will be pushing more videos than photo posts and I’ve noticed how that’s taken a toll on my engagement with potential clients. Now it’s just time to stay relevant! Over the summer, I made my business official, which required a lot of technical work that many don’t see but I see now that the rough patch I just went through is so worth it and has made it easier for me to maintain my projects.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I am a Latina photographer in the Phoenix area and I specialize in Lifestyle and Boudoir Photography. Even though I am in Phoenix, I do travel if I need to! As a  Lifestyle  Photographer, I like to capture and document important milestones in your life such as capturing the last years of high school or college, a birthday, a couple celebrating their love for one another, a recent engagement, an elopement, seasonal family photos, motherhood, content for blogs and branding, new life with a newborn baby, the occasional wedding and so much more! I love to specialize in the little things in life because capturing these moments are so important!  

I am also a Boudoir Photographer for women around the valley! As a Boudoir Photographer, I like to make sure women feel a sense of empowerment that most of society teaches us to suppress. I believe that all bodies are beautiful, women are powerful, and that they all deserve to be celebrated whether you are doing this session for yourself or as a gift for a significant other. My favorite part about Boudoir Photographey is when a client comes in a little nervous and after I show them the first few poses from my camera, a whole new side of them comes out! I love the “OMG. That’s me?!” reactions and right then and there, they feel the power to take on the world and it’s such a beautiful thing to see!

With a lot of people in this industry, it’s very easy to get lost in the sea of talent out there but I believe that my energy and my ability to easily become friends with my clients sets me apart from the rest! From the moment we start speaking, I want to be friends so that by the time we meet in person, we’re already acquainted and feel like we’ve known each other since forever! Building relationships with my clients is a must and it is definitely important to have a good bond with the person you are working with.

The crisis has affected us all in different ways. How has it affected you and any important lessons or epiphanies you can share with us?
Oh COVID, I have a love/hate relationship with this pandemic. Honestly, the pandemic made me re-evaluate my whole life. I was forced to reset my life and made me realize what I really wanted for myself and what was not worth my time. It’s cliche, but it made me realize that life is too short. 

When it comes to my business, the pandemic was the turning point where I began to turn my hobby into a small business. I took this opportunity to reach out to friends so I can practice posing, editing, and directing, I used it to reach out to other photographers I look up to for mentor sessions that provided me a lot of insight, and I used it as an opportunity to learn the business side of things. After this phase of really taking the time to learn, I realized that this was the moment that people started taking me seriously. This was the moment that I was forced to be resilient in a time where everyone was the most vulnerable and I didn’t have any other choice but to try to succeed. 

Contact Info:

  • Email: palomaruelasphotography@gmail.com
  • Instagram: @palomaruelasphoto & @paloma.boudoir
  • Facebook: www.facebook.com/palomaruelasphotography
  • Other: linktr.ee/palomaruelas – this has the link to my portfolio and sign up questionnaire


Image Credits:
Andrea Macias (for the first headshot photo of me)

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