We had the good fortune of connecting with Tina Herald and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Tina, what role has risk played in your life or career?
Taking risks is by far the most important role in being able to work for myself, own my own company and being successful. You cannot grow without taking risks. The most common question I get from friends, clients and strangers is “how did you get started”. Well, I took a risk! I owned a camera and I took photos of animals, nature and landscapes. One day a friend got engaged and asked me if I wanted to photograph her and her fiancé. I immediately said NO! I don’t know how to photograph people!! I was clueless. I didn’t know how to pose people, where to go, what to do. Zip, zero, nada! But my friend wouldn’t give up. So, I did a little research online, prepared the best I could, met up with my friends and had a little fun. After I took her photos, another friend, then another, then another all wanted photos of their family, children or events. I was literally sick to my stomach before EVERY session and had no clue even what to charge! After all I was no professional and had zero confidence in myself. I told them just to give me a “tip”. So they did. One by one my weekends began filling up with clients. My confidence started to grow and I was able to start confidently charging clients. I grew from just friends to strangers! I was then asked to photograph weddings. If this isn’t a huge risk then I don’t know what is! Eventually came the biggest risk of my life. After 7 years working a corporate job alongside my hobby which turned into a full blown job. I had to make the biggest decision of my life and take the biggest risk. What do I do now? Quit photography or quit my well paying, steady corporate job? After much soul searching, financial juggling and organizing, praying and a whole heck of a lot of faith, I quit my corporate job. I took a leap of faith, jumped and hoped that net would appear at the bottom. And, it did! It will be 4 years since I left my corporate job and I have never looked back. My calendar is full every week/weekend and I’m able to create my own schedule and work from home and work for myself! Without taking that risk I wouldn’t be where I am today, that is for sure!

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I was an art major, however never took a photography class. I am self taught and have had to learn through trial and error. Anytime I was presented with a challenge or new request, I accepted it. Was I scared? Heck yes! But taking those risks and taking those challenges was the only way to growth. Had I never agreed to photograph actual people I wouldn’t be where I am today. Had I never taken the invitation to photograph an event, a newborn, a wedding, products or enter competitions I wouldn’t be here today. Had I never walked away from my comfort zones I would never have grown. What I love about my job is getting to be creative, and providing my clients with that final image that makes them, smile, cry, scream in joy, giggle, laugh and most importantly cherish those memories for an eternity. Clients have suggested that I pay someone to edit to give myself more time (because I am always busy). But I could never do that because the editing is the art, its my art. No one else can edit the way I do. And I do not edit like other photographers. We all have our own individual style and we all pour our heart and soul into what we do. I am an artist and editing is where I get to be creative and provide you with art, and not just a photo that my camera took. I have an artistic eye – I have since I was a young child – and that is something that you I think is reflective in my work. I can’t say that getting to this point was hard or challenging per say, but as I have said I did take risks, accepted challenges, pushed myself past my comfort zone to grow. I built my confidence in myself and by company. And I truly love what I do and that pushes me as well. Faith played a big role in my career as well. I remember sitting in church and God was providing messages through the preacher. I heard them loud and clear and knew that this path was paved for me. I was given a gift and I was to use it. I have donated sessions to multiple churches, charities and events. I have donated my time to volunteer by taking photos through the church ministry and volunteer events locally. I also gifted a session to a child who was sick with brain cancer – she passed just before Christmas this year – and after her passing I did a fund raiser to donate hundreds to the research foundation for that brain cancer. (Her name was Raegan Mize and the story was featured on the news, the cancer is DIPG and there is like a 1% survival rate, the foundation is Michael Mosier defeat DIPG Foundation and I will be raising money to donate to that foundation every year in Raegans name). I definitely have made a career out of my hobby, but I also want to give back to the community as well. My work has been featured in Baby Model Magazine, Calendar and Calendar cover. My work was featured at a local art event at Studio18 in Pembroke Pines Art Gala. I won two awards for International baby photography contest for best photo. I love what I do, I love meeting new families, I love watching those families grow. I love supporting small business and I appreciate others that support them as well. I guess others can learn from my story is that anything is possible, and you should reach for your dreams, but know that you can’t just decide today that you want to be something tomorrow and just quit your job. You have to take risks, make mistakes, learn from them, be bold and grow. You also have to be smart financially and prepare to make that leap. I built up a client base (with my “hobby”) for over 7 years before I ventured on my own. I also not only built a client base, but I built my confidence in myself and my work, I purchased equipment, I grew my prop collection, and crafted my editing skills and my art, I built business models for finances, editing work flow, shooting time, locations, maternity dress collection and pricing. All of this was accomplished before I was able to leave the corporate world behind and run my won successful business. Now I am able to just book sessions and enjoy every minute of what I do!

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 gosh, I love South Florida! I was born and raised here in Broward County, actually moved away for 4 years with my husband shortly after we got married. We lived in “Middle of Nowhere” Georgia, have you heard of it? haha it was actually called Union Point, GA, where we still own the land and home. We had our beautiful son there in Athens, GA but eventually moved back home to South Florida as I was suffering from depression. Florida probably saved my life HAHA but more so it was my friends and family that I needed back in my life. But Georgia was in the middle of no where and nothing to do. Here in South Florida it is an endless amount of options and opportunity. 20 minutes to the airport or the port to hop on a cruise ship (I’ll just pretend corona never existed), or 3 hours to Key West or 3 hours to Disney/Orlando! We own a pontoon and a 25ft Seacraft and we are out on the water every weekend (after my sessions of course!). We love the beach and the sunshine here. When friends come to visit, we have back yard barbecues, we would definitely take the boat out and either cruise to Haulover or Lake Boca. We like to take the boat to dinners at Nauti-Dawg, Bokampers, Shooters or 15th Street Fisheries, The Wharf, Southport Raw Bar, just to name a few. I love to find local festivals where you can taste the local eats from the food trucks, events where you can bring your doggies, art fairs, oh, a cool place off the beaten path we like is Lauder-Ale. I also love Zoo Miami, Lion Country Safari, Flamingo Gardens, Hollywood Beach, Little Hen, The Berry Farm, the Bonnet House, Arubas Beach Cafe, Las Olas downtown. Louie Bossi, Sushi Song, Flannigans, Brus Room, and we love going to Key Largo for a long weekend and going snorkeling or sandbar.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to thank Lauren Pye for being the first person to believe in me (even before I believed in myself) for pushing me to take that first photograph of “a person” ha ha! Without you I may never had ventured from photographing animals and nature to taking that risk to work with actual clients. I would also like to thank my husband for his unwavering support. To allow me to take a leap of faith and quit my full time corporate job not knowing where this adventure would take me. For helping me with building props or transporting props and for always being my biggest cheerleader. I love you. I also want to thank all of my friends and clients for their amazing support, for referring me to friends and colleagues and returning to me time and time again. There are a specific few – you know who you are – who go above and beyond when it comes to supporting my business. Without my amazing clients and friends I couldn’t be where I am today. Word of mouth is the biggest form of advertising and happy clients tell everyone about you! I am grateful to each and every one of you for your love and constant support. Lastly, I want to thank Ana Elvir for your friendship, support, motivation, education, business and genuine love for my business and growth.

Website: www.tinadasilvaphotography.com

Instagram: @tinadasilvaphotography

Facebook: www.fb.com/tinadasilvaphotos

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