Meet Amanda McMahon. Amanda lives in Titusville, FL but she shoots weddings and portraits across the state. She started out using Canon equipment and hasn’t found a need to switch. She’s a right-eyed shooter.
Describe the moment you decided it was time to pursue this as a career?
I went to school for photography and just graduated in December 2007. I have seen so many others make a career out of it and become successful, so I knew it was possible. I knew I had the drive and ambition to make it work and I know that it can be hard. I have a good sense of motivation and I knew I could make it work. It’s a process for sure, but really…it’s the only thing I wanted from the get go and I knew I had to be able to do this everyday.
What is one thing you’ve learned so far that has proven most valuable?
To create relationships before handing your card over. People want to know who you are and why you do what you do, not just see your business card and off they go. I think it’s important to really build a friendship or at least start a relationship with them so they really have a sense of who you are. If they like you for you, then they will feel more comfortable with you and why you do things the way you do them. I am a people person so this is easier for me to do, but for some people, this is their biggest obstacle.
What makes you different from everyone else?
I think what makes me different is the fact that I can really relate to people. I understand them and want to be friends. I want their business of course, but truly, I do want to be friends. I want to be able to email and say hello and not have anything business related to that in the email. I love people and I love the emotions that people go through….and I want to be a part of them regardless of business or not.
Who is your one favorite up-and-coming photographer?
hmmm, I can’t say that I have one. To be honest, I try to learn as much as possible but usually, I dont recognize names…or I just don’t remember. It’s a terrible thing not to remember the name of a photographer whose work you liked….but I am working on that part of my memory 🙂
One item you can’t live without?
My 50mm 1.4 lens. I use it at every single shoot and I love it!
Your best bokeh image and why?
I think this would be my favorite currently. I just love the look of it!
Currently, I have a few, but one of them is The Lucky One that just came out by Nicholas Sparks. It really makes you appreciate life and love in a whole different way.
This is a tough one, but I would have to say that I have two and they are polar opposites. I love A Walk To Remember and I also love Big Daddy (with Adam Sandler).
Where do you find inspiration?
I read a lot of magazines, look at a lot of work, somedays I just walk outside. Inspiration is everywhere, it’s whether or not you really take time to notice it and really grab it.
What do you think is the most valuable aspect of your business?
The fact that I am always trying something works for me. And that I am a people person. Sometimes you will find many photographers who really aren’t, they shoot great work but they aren’t the most comfortable to be around and I think that’s a downfall for them.
If you could second shoot with anyone, who would it be?
That’s a really tough question, because there are SO many, but one that really sticks out in my mind is Parker Pfister.
Are you a member of any organizations and have you won any awards?
I am a member of FPP, PPA and a local chapter called APPA currently. I haven’t really put myself in a position to win an award just yet.
What did you have to do to actually take the leap? Did you have any hoops to jump through?
Well, after college….I put some things together for myself and really just took a leap of faith and went into business alone. I had assisted and second shot for other photographers, and still do….but really branching out on my own was scary and doing it all on your own was even more scary.
Do you have suggestions for others trying to make the transition?
You really just have to have faith, believe in yourself, and have support from others. Without those, you are much more susceptible for failure.
What is the biggest or most creative thing you do/have done to draw new clients?
I am working on something new right now actually, but doing a bridal show is a big help. Really setting yourself apart is what gets them. It’s something they haven’t seen before so automatically they are attracted to you, even if they don’t particularly like it.