Q: What’s your educational background and how did you get into photography? I can’t say that I am trained in photography specifically but I studied Visual Communications at Penn State (and I am a fiercely passionate Nittany Lion). I studied a lot of different aspects of photography, graphic design and communications but I knew I wasn’t interested in being a photojournalist. However, I know that ‘training’ comes through in the way that I like to tell stories with my images. My Nana and Pappaw got me my first camera the winter after my brother died after a long battle with cancer. I had started carrying around a small point and shoot and knew I wanted something better. I started photographing anything and everything and my first paid shoot was of my 6th grade teacher’s family! She gave me such positive feedback and I think that pushed me to do more.
Q: What inspired you to start your own business? How did you know when you were ready to take SSP full-time? I have a passion for childhood cancer awareness and a long personal non-profit background. I went to work full time for a national childhood cancer non-profit after graduating with my BA. I knew almost immediately that it just wasn’t for me. I loved what I did but I just wasn’t adjusting to the environment. I didn’t think I could financially afford to start my own business but I took a huge, risky leap in September of 2014 and left my office job to put all of my energy into Savannah Smith Photography. I am the happiest I have been in a long time! My passion for childhood cancer awareness didn’t change and I also run a small non-profit with my mom in memory of my brother!
Q: If you could describe SSP in one sentence, what would it be?
Natural light portraiture for all of life’s beautiful moments.
Q: Do you specialize in one area of photography? I am a natural light portraiture artist. I don’t work with flash or artificial light unless absolutely necessary (like at wedding receptions). While I don’t specialize in certain areas, I do love capturing stories like weddings, births and the growth of families. I love working with kids!
Q: What do you love most about your work as a photographer? I adore the flexibility but also the interaction that I am able to have with my clients. They almost always end up intertwined in my life in many other ways. I love when I capture a new family and they come back again as their children grow! I’m also just counting down the days until I can capture one of my former brides becoming a new mom! Family is important to me so being able to choose my own schedule allows me to spend a lot of time with my family. But that also keeps my passion fresh and new - and I’m able to give my all to the families that I capture.
Q: What advice do you have for other women looking to start their own business? JUST DO IT! I didn’t think I could afford to do this or that I would be successful enough, so it was a risk. I don't mean, quit your job and cross your fingers. Even if you can invest a few more hours into your personal passions each week, that's a wonderful start. Learn good social media practices, be your best, make a personal connection with your clients and stay current.
Q: Why should readers shop Savannah Smith Photography on Small Business Saturday? For Small Business Saturday, I thought it was important to recognize the amazing women in small business (of all ages). I also know how important it is to convey your professionalism and abilities to your clients. A professional portrait can really help to set yourself above the crowd so I am offering $30 micro head shot sessions to women in small business on 11/29! Click here to learn more!
Savannah Smith, Savannah Smith Photography
P.S. From Stevie: Savannah did MY head shots this past spring, and I can't recommend her enough! She really knows how to pose and direct you so she captures you looking your best. If you are looking for a new job or starting your own business, I think professional portraits are a MUST as you start getting your name (and face) out there!