We had the good fortune of connecting with Laura Tatiana and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Laura, what role has risk played in your life or career?
10 years ago I was introduced to photography. It was something I loved to do and soon after I graduated high school, I was given the opportunity to work for an event company in Brooklyn, NY. I was taking BTS shots, secondary photographer shots and even lead photographer shots sometimes- I got a good amount of exposure that summer, averaging at least 3 weddings a weekend. This is where I grew my love for portrait photography. It was great, I thought I would do that forever. But then came the pressure of pursuing a college career. All my friends were doing it and that was what I was taught to make you “successful”. So I pursued college. College takes up much of your time- so eventually, I just gave up on photography all together. I went to school for Communications and Media Arts but for some reason, didn’t really enjoy that route. Somehow I ended up gaining much experience in social work and child advocacy- clearly not related to the field I studied. I graduated in December of 2018 and began my career in social work. In the back of my mind, I knew I wanted to pursue something more creatively challenging but instead I stuck to what was “safe”. A 9 to 5- stable money- case manager job. It was absolutely terrible to say the least- I realized much about the system that I did not like. I even tried to move to a different department in the agency. While I did love what I did there- I was haunted by the idea that the child welfare system was messed up. And I found myself craving more creative challenge….. that matched the pay of course. I hated working for people- It made me feel stagnant.
In July of 2021- after long consideration, I decided to hop back into photography while still at this job. This reignited my flame for my passion. I was happy, I felt challenged and once I started back up- I began to dread my job. Every little thing that I once threw aside started making its way to the forefront of my mind. “Why am I working 12 hours days with no extra pay?” “why am I working for a CEO that is so closed minded?” “Why am I receiving added responsibility with no additional pay?”. Remembering my passion, drew a line for my career. I was miserable. The only thing holding me back was the fear of losing financial stability. By September I was picking up an unexpected amount of photography clients. The idea that I could make a career out of this began to surface. By the middle of September I decided I was going to take a leap of faith and quit my 9-5, I was terrified and it didn’t help that some family reflected their fears on to me. “Do you even have enough clients to quit your job?”. But I quit my job anyway on October 29th, 2021. I quit without having any clients booked for November, December or January. All of this was scary, but I had faith that I would hustle my way through. Here I am December of 2021 and I have shot over 70+ clients!
I am immensely thankful for the risk I decided to take. Because of this, I have realized that there is money to be made in your passion. While I do have to put in many hours into my craft- It never feels like i’m working. I have decided that if I ever pick up another career outside of my passion, it will be on my terms… But I hopefully I never have to go back to that again. In March of 2022, I am embarking on a new risk… I will be moving to Phoenix, Arizona. I don’t have any clients there- nor do I have friends or family there but I have proved to myself that anything is possible when you have the drive. I will need to build new clientele
out there. I’m excited but a little scared. I’ve heard before though that if you’re not doing something that makes you feel challenged or scared than you are not living. Wish me luck!
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I am a freelance portrait photographer. There are many people you can find doing my same field of work, however, what I like to think sets me apart is that I provide an experience for my clientele. I have received similar sentiments from many clients where they have said that they had fun during their photoshoot, they quickly felt comfortable and less tense. And I have also received compliments over the patience and positive attitude I bring towards any set. We all know how awkward it can be to pose in front of a camera- especially in front of a stranger. I make sure I build rapport with my clients so that they can be their authentic selves in front of me and Candid (my handy dandy Canon R).
Some lessons I have learned along the way is to be extremely detailed about my services. Sometimes I receive questions from inquiries that I would think are common knowledge but truly- I don’t think that’s a fair thing to assume (lesson learned). Some are new to looking into photographers while others know exactly what they’re looking for. I make sure to cover all my bases to avoid any confusion.
I take much pride in calling myself a professional in my craft while always remembering that I have so much more to learn. My newest challenge I will be facing is learning to network from scratch. I will be moving cross country and don’t have any connections over there just yet but it’s time to get creative!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I mentioned that I had some family members that spoke against my risk, but I can’t forget to thank the fuel that helped me take this leap too. My boyfriend, best friend and mom have been huge driving factors towards my success. Before I made the decision, I had to speak to someone out loud about my “crazy” dreams. These people pushed me to quit my job before I was taking that idea seriously. Shout out to Mark, Zully and Mom!