Today we’d like to introduce you to Mei Lin Barral.
So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I never had a defining moment where the flip switched and I knew I wanted to be a Wedding + Portrait Photographer. It started gradually but my aspirations were solidified when I attended my cousin’s wedding almost six years ago. I was there witnessing her have a wonderful day marrying her love and I was also always noticing what the photographer did. I was already paying attention to the timing of when certain photographs were taken and I was even there after the wedding to see the physical album and the digital slideshow of images. I knew I could do this, and that’s when I had a specific goal to reach.
From there I didn’t start actively pursuing my goal until I was fortunate enough to meet Lena Mirisola — wedding + commercial photographer extraordinaire. She was the one who taught me that I didn’t have to be an “aspiring wedding photographer” I could *be* a wedding photographer as soon as I decided that I was one. Previously I had believed that I needed to finish high school, get a bachelor’s degree from college, and then could I start a business. After I had decided to start my business, I knew that the best way I would learn would be by assisting, second-shooting, & interning for photographers. This was right around the time I was fortunate enough to get to work with Ashley Largesse, a fantastic wedding photographer + mentor. We first met in person when I assisted her on a wedding styled shoot.
I brought a box of cupcakes for the team, and the rest is history (I’m still convinced she kept me around because I brought sweets—first impressions do matter!). Ashley introduced me to my first wedding as a part of the photography world and it was an incredible day. I’ve also been lucky enough to assist Lena as well as Caleb from Caleb Kenna Photography. I loved being able to witness three different amazing photographers work and to see how I could incorporate their expertise into my own work which has helped me and continues to help me grow infinitely.
Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
It definitely has not been a smooth road for me—I have worked hard to get to where I am today and I continue to work hard in order for me to keep growing. The beginning was a huge learning curve. I was learning so much about photography and entrepreneurship that I didn’t realize I could know at that stage in my life; this learning was all outside of my classes thanks to photography industry professionals that I previously mentioned.
Ever since the start I’ve had periods of self-doubt, periods of triumph, and everything in between. That being said, I have been incredibly fortunate to have chosen an industry that is truly compassionate and community-driven. I’ve been lucky to have worked with passionate people with incredible work ethics that inspire me and have helped me grow. Without the supportive people who answer my many questions and who believed in me enough to give me a chance from the very beginning, I would not be at this point in my career. The number one important thing for me is to give huge amounts of credit, praise, and thanks for those photographers who have helped me and of course my first clients who believed in me.
Please tell us about Mei Lin Barral Photography.
I started my business in 2015, with my first portrait session. The following year I photographed my first wedding. I was the main and only photographer and I couldn’t believe that a couple would want me to document their day. To date, it’s one of my favorite weddings, perhaps because it was the inaugural wedding but also because the groom wore a kilt and they had a piper. It was quite a way to kick off weddings for me!
Since then, I have loved photographing more weddings, engagements, and four-legged people. I have always loved animals and because of this deep love of animals, I love to incorporate my clients’ animals in their session. I’ve had dogs, horses, and sheep included in various portrait & engagement sessions. There is little that makes me happier (other than weddings & engagement sessions) than when I get asked for a photography session dedicated to an animal. Just last year I had one of my favorites when I photographed a senior dog named Grizzly.
Highlighting the loveliness of senior animals has always been a great passion of mine and I am excited to continue with senior animal sessions moving forward. It’s because of the animals I grew up with that I believe that animals are people too.
If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
If I had to start over I would have simply started earlier and have believed in myself more. Working as an entrepreneur and working as a photographer in the wedding world I’ve learned that it’s never too early to start as long as you are passionate for what you’re doing. I was too focused on labels and degrees and I realize now that there are more important things like making sure my clients feel comfortable when they’re in front of the camera and making sure that they get the best service before and after their wedding.
- Portrait Experiences begin at $250
- Wedding Collections begin at $1,600
- Website: www.meilinbarralphoto.com/
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mei Lin Barral Photography – main image (photography)
Andrea Porretta – Website: andreaporretta.wixsite.com/