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Meet Laura Ananian of YIP’s Pics: YOUniquely Inspired Photography in The Northshore

Today we’d like to introduce you to Laura Ananian.

Laura, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
YOUniquely Inspired Photography (YIP’s PICS) was officially founded in 2017 but informally originated with the birth of my oldest daughter in 2006 when my parents gifted me my first digital camera.  Two years later, my second daughter was born and capturing their ordinary moments behind the lens felt like the most extraordinary experience to me.  I was so captivated by their inherent beauty and with each passing day, I was aware that the moments were turning into memories before my eyes and my camera felt like a way to pause the clock.  Naturally, I digitally documented birthdays and holidays but my true fascination was in preserving the memories of their every days through daily images that held the story of their unfolding lives. Photos of anticipatory lips blowing dandelions and bubbles, the skip of feet chasing seagulls across the beach, the sleep of their cribside cheeks, and images of frosted and finger-painted faces all started to decorate the walls of my work and home.   Over the years, the images drew a lot of positive attention from others and I was frequently asked to take pictures for friends and family who all suggested that I take up a career in photography.  The idea certainly had appeal but there wasn’t space in my schedule for such an undertaking as I was busy with the combined demands of motherhood and a career in school counseling.  Thus, I continued to casually delight in photography until 2017 when some challenging personal life circumstances led me to turn my passion into my second profession.

In 2016, I lost my mother to a long battle with Lewy Body Disease while simultaneously navigating a divorce.  That same year, our 13 year old dog suddenly passed away.   In the blink of an eye my children had suffered the loss of their lives as they knew it and I was faced with the challenging decision as to whether or not I could financially keep them in the house that had become their home. Naturally, I was hesitant to create yet another significant change in their tender lives and my daughters desperately wanted to stay in their neighborhood where they had developed familial friendships.  In order to maintain this thread of stability in their lives, I would need to supplement my income and starting a photography business emerged as my immediate solution.

By the Summer of 2017,  I had spontaneously entered and won two photography contests and was well underway for laying the groundwork for my business.   I started compiling images that I had taken throughout the years, purchased a DSLR camera, took online editing courses, learned about social media and websites, and started accepting jobs from clients. What began as a hobby started its evolution into a thriving and rewarding secondary career providing my children with a consistent home environment and me with a creative outlet that has been rewarding in every capacity.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
My experience starting my business has certainly been exciting but I’m not sure I would say easy.   I think we bring our strengths and our challenges to all aspects of our lives and starting my photo business was not an exception for me.  I tend to struggle with creating balance, as I am inclined to want to do things 100% or not at all which has resulted in me taking on too many photography sessions at times.  This fall, I was waking up at 4 am every day to edit for a few hours before heading into my school job.  Often, by the time I got into my office it seemed like high noon as I felt like I had already experienced a full day of events after working out, editing, and getting my kids and dog ready and dropped off to their respective destinations all before 7:15 am.  Additionally, I began shooting every weather permitting moment that was available to me after school and on weekends and my energies quickly became depleted with the lack of any real down time.  I am currently restructuring some aspects of my business to create a little more balance in my both personal and professional lives.

I have also been challenged with the more “linear tasks” of running a business.  Managing websites and learning social media,  tracking income and expenses and marketing etc. are all tasks that I don’t find inherently easy or enjoyable necessarily as my brain has never done well with these types of left brained tasks.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
YIP’s Pics offers YOUniquely Inspired Photography services that creatively capture the true beauty of life’s special days and every days.    1/2 hour, 45 and 60 minute sessions are all available to accommodate every budget and encourage clients to grab their loved ones and get in front of the camera.  By offering shorter sessions, clients are able to turn more of their moments into precious memories without making a huge financial commitment.  Although traditional portraits and poses are a part of every photography package that I offer, I especially enjoy creating an authentic connection with each client which allows for more candid and natural moments to unfold.  I am extremely committed to to fostering a calm, casual, and playful atmosphere with each and every session as I want the images that my clients receive to hold positive memories of an experience that was truly enjoyable for them and their family.  I will frequently introduce props for children and offer kids with choices of locations and poses so that the photo session is something that we create together.  One of the most consistent pieces of feedback from my clients is how “fun and enjoyable” their sessions are and for me, that is as important as anything else because the real beauty is in watching individuals fully enjoy and express themselves.  Additionally, my background as a counselor is instrumental  in making my clients comfortable and confident in front of the camera.  Often times, mothers will show up and tell me that they don’t want to be in any of the photos because they aren’t happy with their appearance and I actually have a high success rate of encouraging them to jump in. Our children don’t know our beauty by our size or shape or style. Our children know our beauty by the vibration of love in our voices, the strong arms and brave hearts that hold their sicknesses, sadnesses and secrets, the way that we show up for them over and over and over again.   My daughters think I’m most beautiful when I’m sweaty from a run with big messy bun on my head and these are the memories that their hearts will likely hold of me.  Although I wouldn’t encourage clients to necessarily show up sweaty to a photo session, I do help them to express who they really are in front of the camera because that is where the real beauty of any image is born.

What were you like growing up?
I still feel like I am growing up. I am and have always been a lover of life, love, movement and the outdoors.  As long as I can remember, I have had a deep appreciation for the beauty and fragility of life. Connecting to myself, friends and family and the natural world have always been my biggest priorities. As a kid, I loved to dig in the dirt, be active outside, be sentimental and reflective in addition to silly and spirited. I don’t think much has changed.

Pricing:

  • Standard Photography Sessions vary from 30 mins to 60 mins and range in pricing from $160-$250 respectively.
  • Repeat clients are eligible for a 10% discount off of any regularly priced package.
  • Special events subject to individual pricing.
Contact Info:

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