We had the good fortune of connecting with Cassie Wegeng and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Cassie, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
I think most of us can say that our perspective on work life balance has dramatically changed over the last few years.
For the first 10 years of my working life, I managed to land several of my childhood dream jobs that took me all kinds of cool places, even living in the Caribbean for a couple of years. While it was a fun adventure, every one of those jobs required working weekends, holidays, and making next to nothing. I always justified those pieces of it as “part of the job” because I was living out my childhood dreams, so I was supposed to be happy, right? Over the years, adult me started to realize that what I valued had evolved, so I needed to make a change.
It wasn’t until COVID-19 quarantine hit that a path to true work life balance unfolded for me. Photography was my meditation during those long, slow months – it got me outside and I had the time to dive into learning the art more technically. I fell head over heels in love with it, and when I realized I could forge a viable career path and be my own boss, I totally went for it. 9 months after starting a photography side hustle, I turned in my 2 weeks at my full time job and have been managing my own business full time for about 8 months now.
For me, work-life balance was achieved once I could call my own shots. I want to work so that I can live my dream LIFE, not have my identity and time shaped by a “dream job”. It has required taking risks, learning to say no, sticking to boundaries, but absolutely worth it in the end!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I think what sets me and my work apart from others is a great client experience from start to finish. I became a photographer because it’s really, really fun, so I want my clients to feel that way when they’re working with me, every step of the way! When working with a photographer, a client should expect beautiful, professional images that align with their aesthetic, no question. But what makes my job extra fun and takes my work a step further is the experience. I take time to build a connection with every client and learn about THEM so that I can effectively tell the story they want to tell through photography.
I’m most excited about really diving into sharing the stories of the brands that I work with. I recently launched a photography subscription program that is designed to keep content libraries fresh and current with monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly photoshoots. It’s more cost effective, and totally takes the hassle out of planning for social and website content.
The primary challenge in building my business was time. I was working a full time job and doing photoshoots as often as I could in my free time. Initially, I didn’t plan to jump full-time into photography, I just loved it and wanted to do it all the time, so it didn’t feel like I was spreading myself thin, initially. But as I started getting busier and time to recharge was harder to come by, I realized photography was going to be my new career path and I needed to change my perspective. I wasn’t losing free time, I was now working toward a goal that would make it all worth it in the end.
I want people to know that my brand is all about showing off how cool, talented, and unique other people are. I do it because I love it, and hopefully create a joyful, authentic experience (including killer photos!) that my clients love as well.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
OH this is such a fun question. When people come to visit us, we spend a loooot of time outdoors. It’s is my happy place and I think one of the most amazing things about living in Florida! We are so spoiled! A picture-perfect weekend day for me would include a sunrise beach walk, surfing or paddle-boarding during the day, and fish tacos with a cold beer on a beach-side patio for sunset. Any place with live music is a plus (especially if we can bring our dogs!).
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I absolutely would not be where I am today without the education and encouragement from my amazing photography mentor, talented fashion photographer Nicole Hill. She and her husband, Dustin Damron (who is also a very talented photographer!), have cultivated an incredible crew of female photographers through their Horizon Found coursework. Being surrounded by such a talented, kind, and community-minded group of creatives inspires and motivates me to keep going every single day. I’m also so grateful that I have the biggest cheerleader at home in my husband, and family and friends that are always down for spontaneous photoshoots!