Today we’d like to introduce you to Rachael Elana.
Rachael, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I was always interested in photography as a child and funny enough, one of my many dream careers as a middle schooler was to be a photojournalist (in addition to being a choreographer, ballet dancer, and physical therapist)!
Despite that interest, I focused on studio art—painting, drawing, and mixed media until my early 20s. I didn’t start focusing on photography until after I graduated college in 2008. At first, I focused on nature and travel photography and then I began taking classes to master the language and manual techniques of photography. I’m a visual artist first, learned the technology second. I continued taking classes for years in more niche subjects such as family portraiture and advanced lighting techniques and in 2014 I launched my business Rachael Elana Photography.
Initially, I focused on portraiture and event photography while I assisted and second shot at weddings. Now I have photographed engagements, proposals, and weddings all around the Northeast and in the South of France! I constantly hear from my clients that they love how I capture genuine emotion and how nothing ever feels posed.
Lately, I’ve also been focusing on empowering “Badass Boss Lady” headshots and portraits for women. Women often don’t show confidence as easily as men—it is really rewarding to pull that confidence and strength out of my clients and show them how fabulous they are. I’ve also done pro-bono work for NARAL Pro-Choice Massachusetts and fundraisers for Planned Parenthood. It’s important that I use my craft to support causes I care about.
Has it been a smooth road?
It has been a rather smooth and very high-speed road. Before starting my business on the side, I worked in event planning where I often hired photographers and other vendors which gave me a solid grasp of the business side of being an entrepreneur. I learned a lot about relationship management, customer service, contract negotiation, explaining deliverables, etc. I’m also incredibly detailed-oriented and keep to strict timelines as an event planner—all of these skills have been instrumental in being a business owner
The biggest challenge has been forecasting what my business will be like from one season to the next and have a work-life balance. My business has more than doubled over the last year (thankfully) so delivery timelines that used to work for me, don’t anymore, so learning to adjust and plan accordingly has been a challenge and a process. My style attracts really lovely, down-to-earth people—many of clients have become friends—so being really busy often feels like spending time with friends and not like “work”.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
Rachael Elana Photography specializes in capturing genuine emotion with an artistic feel and creative manipulation and use of light. I’m known for “bright, happy, artsy” images and creative portraiture. I climb, squat, and move in often questionable ways in order to get “the shot”—I’m a very active photographer!
I have also been called a baby-whisperer as I love spending time with little ones and capturing those fleeting magical years of being a baby and toddler. I think what sets me apart is my client experience. Creative types are not always the best business people or the best communicators. I have those skills in addition to understanding how, why, and where my images will be used for commercial clients in addition to my family clients.
My clients initially hire me for my style, quality of my images, and likely from seeing my work online or being referred by a friend. I believe I have so many repeat customers and have a referral-based business because they enjoy the experience beyond the shoot from the planning process through ordering prints and albums.
Is our city a good place to do what you do?
My business has grown very organically through word-of-mouth, social media, and friends and family and I think that can really happen anywhere–it’s all about your network, how outgoing and determined you are, and your marketing and branding efforts.
- Website: www.rachaelelanaphotography.com
- Phone: 7168638581
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org