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Meet Trailblazer Savannah Daras

Today we’d like to introduce you to Savannah Daras.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I’m 30 years old and I’m a creative portrait photographer based in Portland Maine, however, I travel to Boston frequently, it’s one of my favorite cities. I’m completely self-taught. I’ve been pursuing photography since 2005/2006, although I’ve been in love with art and creativity my whole life. I got started by being inspired by looking at other artist’s work on websites like deviantArt, and wanted to learn to create what they were creating. I also started to take more self-portraits and portraits of my friends when MySpace was popular, it was such a fun and creative community that inspired me a lot. From there, I realized just how passionate I was about photography, and I haven’t stopped since. I specialize in photographing women, as I love to help bring out and show their inner goddesses. I also love incorporating nature into my work and often use it as my canvas. I feel very connected to the earth, so my photos often feature lots of plants, flowers, trees, etc. Almost all of the people that I’ve met and worked/created with have been brought to me through social media and the internet, in general. I think it’s so incredible that we have so many resources right at our fingertips – we’re truly living in one of the greatest times for pursuing our passions and being an entrepreneur.

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?
It definitely hasn’t always been smooth sailing. I think that it’s completely normal for anyone to experience challenges no matter what they’re pursuing in life, but especially as a creative/entrepreneur. Creating a business entirely on your own is incredibly challenging, but so rewarding in my opinion. Struggles that I’ve experienced along the way have involved learning to take on multiple roles by myself. Often times, people don’t realize how much it takes to work for yourself; you are your own boss, accountant, secretary, agent, editor, marketer, designer, etc. Every role that your business needs is filled by one person (until you reach a point where you can hire employees). So, this takes a lot of strength, discipline, and time management. For me, time management is probably my weakest skill, I am a natural procrastinator so you can bet if there’s a distraction, I will find it! Being my own boss has taught me a lot about discipline and how to manage myself – something you might not think about if you’re used to working for someone else.

My advice to other women starting their journey would be to remain passionate, dedicated, and believe in yourself. I think that women especially have a challenging time in the business world when we’re trying to create our own empire. We’re not often viewed as leaders or trailblazers, but I absolutely think women are capable of anything they set their minds to. Remember that it’s okay to feel emotional, to come up against challenges or to doubt yourself. It happens to all of us, but if you’re truly passionate about something then there is nothing that can stop you from getting what you want!

Please tell us more about your work, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
I specialize in capturing creative ethereal portraits of women amongst nature. I also am very passionate about self-portraiture. Taking self-portraits is what truly got me started in the world of photography, it’s always served as a way for me to express myself. I’ve just always been drawn to visuals more than anything. I would say that I’m most known for my self-portraits, although a big majority of my work is photographing others.

I’m really proud of my ability to create something magical out of an ordinary location or situation, I’ve always been very crafty and open minded – I love shooting in nondescript spots and making them look more extraordinary than they may appear in “real life”, such as a small flower bush, or patch of plants on the side of the road. I also think that I have a very calming and understanding demeanor that a lot of people have told me helps them to feel comfortable and relaxed during our shoots. I think that as a person who provides a service, it’s important to play to our strength and be genuine. If you’re an outgoing person, then be that, but if you’re quiet and reserved, don’t feel guilty about it or think that you should be someone else. When we stay true to who we are is when we attract what we most want out of life.

Finding a mentor and building a network are often cited in studies as a major factor impacting one’s success. Do you have any advice or lessons to share regarding finding a mentor or networking in general?
Finding a mentor or networking is so much easier now with the internet and social media. Before the internet existed, we were constrained to the town that we lived in and not much else. Now, we have the opportunity to connect with people anywhere and everywhere in the world, and it’s so much easier to find like-minded people who share the same values and mindset. It’s truly amazing. My best advice would be to just reach out and ask for what you want. Introduce yourself to someone you follow and admire, as for them, if they want to meet up for a coffee and connect (if they live near you). If they’re long distance, simply strike up a conversation and see where it goes. It never hurts to ask.

One of the most important things I’ve learned about being successful or getting what I want is that I can’t sit around and wait for it to come to me. Most people will never know who you are or what you do unless you introduce yourself to them. Reach out to companies, comment on someone’s Instagram post, find a group or organization in your town that shares similar values. There are always so many opportunities to be found in your community. And if you can’t find what you’re looking for, be the one to create it! Start a club or group for people who like what you like.

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Image Credit:
Savannah Daras

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