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Meet Cindy Esquibel of Sweet Reverie Photography in Attleboro

Today we’d like to introduce you to Cindy Esquibel.

Cindy, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
While I enjoyed taking photographs when I was young, I never anticipated that one day I’d make it a career. Growing up in Michigan, I was mostly immersed in musical endeavors: choir, band, and musical theater. It wasn’t until I graduated college with a degree in Tourism and French, only to be laid off from my “dream job” that I found myself needing purpose and a new creative outlet. At the time, I was planning my wedding, researching photographers, and I became fascinated by the gorgeous images I saw. I really appreciated the attention to detail and the art of observing special emotional moments being shared between loved ones.

It was in 2009 that I decided to buy myself a mid-level DSLR camera and dive head first into my new photography hobby. For about three years, I spent every waking moment of my free time studying. I started by reading my camera’s manual from front to back. I followed that with a countless number of how-to books, YouTube tutorials, educational websites, and (with lots of trial and error) slowly figured out the basics of Photoshop. Once I started to feel more confident in my work, I signed up for more advanced workshops and reached out to some working professionals in my area and asked them to coffee. I offered to shoot for free in exchange for learning experience and enthusiastically accepted any invitation given. It was also during this time that we decided to pack up all of our belongings and move east to Boston for my new full-time job in the travel industry.

I established my photography business in 2012 but continued to work full-time, so that we would have stability as we set goals for buying a house and growing our family. We were lucky to find our home, despite having to move further south of the city than we originally planned. Soon I began to learn the huge importance of work/life balance. Even though I enjoyed my work, it wasn’t easy to manage a daily grind of commuting into downtown Boston five days a week, in addition to caring for my two children, and finding slivers of time for my husband and myself. It was wonderful and frustrating at the same time. Inevitably photography had to take a backseat, but I still yearned for the days when I could jump start my progress again. I set personal goals, saved all of my earnings from portrait sessions and shooting weddings, and started making plans to quit my day job. Thankfully I have a wonderful and supportive husband who understands my entrepreneurial drive and he (along with many friends and family) encouraged me every step of the way. In July 2017, with a belly full of butterflies, I turned in my notice and began focusing on building my brand once again.

Last fall I found a gorgeous studio space in an historic mill building in downtown Providence, RI. I was a little worried about making such a big commitment but felt in my heart it was the right next step on my journey. I took a deep breath, signed the lease, and got to work making it mine. These days I am focusing on portrait and documentary work for women, children and families. One of my big goals this year is to grow my documentary family portfolio. I stumbled across this lesser known genre last year and immediately became intrigued by the idea. I’m a natural observer so something about the unposed, authentic and real-life quality to the images really speaks to me.

I still have quite a bit of growing left to do in terms of contributing to my family’s finances; however the flexibility of being able to make my own hours and schedule is priceless. Not only have I made strides in my business, but I’ve had more quality time with my children and my husband. I’m determined to keep up the hard work, push myself even in times of uncertainty, have faith in my goals, and know in my heart that I’m on the right path.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I don’t think anything worth doing is a smooth or easy process – so yes, I’ve definitely had my share of struggles! Dealing with the conflicting feelings of wanting two things at once was very difficult for me. I was so grateful and excited to welcome two children into our lives (in 2013 and 2017, respectively) but at the same time it was hard to curb my independent nature and put family first before my professional goals. I was just starting to make headway from all my hard work when I was forced to take a step back. But after countless sleepless nights and putting all of my energy into keeping my kids alive, fed, and happy, I didn’t have much left to give. It was frustrating. Also, as an introvert, learning the ins and outs of starting a business and networking in my community was (and still is) a challenge. It makes the hustle that much harder.

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Sweet Reverie Photography – what should we know?
I am the owner and sole photographer of Sweet Reverie Photography. It’s much more personal than just a business venture for me. I pour my heart and soul into every shoot and hold myself to the highest standards possible. I specialize in portrait photography for women, children and families. In my studio, I offer a range of newborn and toddler portraits to pampering glamour sessions for women. When the weather allows, I love heading outside for family sessions so the kids can run and play to their heart’s content! I tend to prefer shooting close crops to emphasize relationships; and I always include small details that are important but often overlooked. Last, I’m working to grow my documentary work which captures people in their natural element – no posing, no lighting equipment, and no directions. I simply follow along on your normal day to day routine and document it as authentically and creatively as possible. The great thing about this type of photography is that it works wonderfully for all sorts of situations – couples, families, even small business owners looking for a unique way to market themselves. The most common testimonial I’m given by my clients is they feel like their true personalities shine through in my artwork. I consider this to be the highest compliment and the reason why I love what I do.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
I think an important characteristic in business as well as in life is knowing when to take calculated risks. It can be scary to jump into the unknown, but no risk, no reward as they say! I’m an obsessive preparer and tend to feel like there is always more that can be done to ready myself. However sometimes the best thing is to just trust in the work you’ve done, take the leap, and know that you’ll be able to handle whatever may arise in the process.

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