Business Name: Tara Giles Photography
Name: Tara Giles
Location: Puyallup, WA
Tell us about yourself and your business.
I am a senior portrait photographer based in Puyallup, WA. For many years, I worked as an administrative assistant full time, and did photography on the side. It was just a couple years ago that my husband and I made the HUGE decision for me to stay at home with our 2 children and work on growing my photography business. It was the best decision we have ever made! Like many photographers who are just starting out, I photographed anything and anyone who came my way. It was just about 6 months ago that I made another huge decision and dropped everything else to focus exclusively on high school senior portraits. Now that’s all I do. I am a senior portrait photographer, with a successful Senior Model program. (My team currently consists of 18 girls from the class of 2017, and 16 girls from the class of 2018.)
What is in your gear bag?
I have several different lenses and a back up camera that I bring to every session, just in case. As well as several back up batteries, CF cards and SD cards. But my favorite camera and lens combo is the Canon 5D Markiii with a 70-200 2.8 lens. It’s what I used for this session.
Where do you draw inspiration from?
My inspiration comes from several different places! Each new season brings new outfit choices, and I love to showcase them all. From flowy spring dresses to cute winter jackets. Pinterest is my go-to for posing ideas. If I feel like I’m getting stuck during a session, I’ll pull out my phone and take a quick look at images I’ve saved. Just a few seconds of this and I’m back in the game with ideas flowing. And most importantly, the unique personalities of each of my clients is key! I want to showcase who they are and make sure that the way I have them pose reflects their true personality. For this session, I was working with some of the girls from my class of 2017 Senior Model team. I wanted a winter season photo shoot, without heading into the snow, and a final editing style that was a little softer and cooler than my usual. And since I have worked with them during many sessions over the past year, it was easy and natural for all of us. I know what kind of posing each of them likes and doesn’t like, and how to pull their personalities into the image. We were all laughing and having fun behind the scenes, and you can hardly tell it was only 27 degrees outside! I love how it all turned out! These girls were so fun to work with.
What is one obstacle you had when you first started your business? What did you do to overcome it?
I feel like my biggest obstacle was comparing myself to other photographers. I would scroll through Instagram to check other work to see what I should do better or differently. I finally just had to tell myself that I had my own style, and that was ok! If I was like everyone else, there would be nothing to set me apart. My editing style and quality of my final products is why my clients choose to work with me. It took me a long time to get comfortable with feeling that way. But once I did, I was happier, and my business began to take off!
Please share one tip that you found to be successful to share with other photographers.
Take all the business and marketing courses you can! Learning how to successfully run a boutique business model is what really got my business off the ground. Being a business owner and knowing how to run it properly it so important not only to the success of your business, but the overall happiness of your clients! It leads to great customer service and an experience that they want to tell their friends about.