We had the good fortune of connecting with Emily Rocha and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Emily, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
As a teenager, imagining that my creative hobby of taking photos could turn into a successful business was a wild idea for me–I never took any photography classes, had any in-person photography mentors, and only begun to learn the technical side by digging into manuals and watching hundreds of Youtube videos made by other photographers. During high school, I started taking more and more photos of my siblings and friends. Knowing other high schoolers, I started out with senior photography, and it slowly branched out into gracious families who let me take their portraits too. Early on, my mind shifted from having this hobby only being for personal enjoyment to something that could possibly make me a little cash on the side! When asked the “what do you want to be when you grow up?” question, I never had a clear answer. I knew I wanted to be a mom one day, and I always felt that doing something I love on the side (photography) would always be there for me as a way to stay creative and give of my talents to others.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’ve found that most artists, like myself, have had a bit of a round-a-bout way to get to their photography career. I went to college for speech-language pathology, added on another major of Spanish in the middle of it, worked at an amazing behavior analysis/autism center, graduated (Go Mean Green), got an alternative teaching certificate for elementary special education, got married, taught for 3 awesome years in Denton ISD before giving myself to photography full-time, and in June will have a beautiful baby boy to add to our family.
Everyone has such diverse experiences. My own set of life-happenings has allowed me to better appreciate, love and serve each one of my clients as the unique individuals that they are. You don’t have to be or look a certain way to deserve dignity and have your favorite people and memories captured. What I’d love the world to know about my brand is this: that I’m simply not a brand. I’m a human! Just as I want to allow my clients to be exactly who they are each time I photograph them, I want to give myself the opportunity to grow and change as time continues on. To be transparent, this has been one of my biggest challenges in the work! I struggle with the “business” side of things in terms of following the status quo and making sure I have an aesthetically-pleasing and consistent look online, as well as keeping up with social media norms, the “best times to post” and even what you “should” be posting for the highest engagement (looking at you, IG reels!). At the same time, I recognize and am grateful for all of the goodness and positivity that social media *can* offer the world, including the growth of my business through reaching new potential clients and keeping up with old ones.
Currently, I’m most excited for how my maternity leave will impact my creativity. This will be the longest work break I’ve given myself in years. I’m so excited to see the world through the new lenses of motherhood and parenthood and am curious to see how it may give new perspective to my images and documentation, particularly of children and families.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I have been in Denton for my entire life, so everything I list is all Denton-based! For food, I’d take them to Loco Cafe for brunch, and Beth Marie’s for an afternoon ice cream (my favorite is Bee’s Knees, yummm). We’d peruse Recycled Books and the Dime Store, and then pick a spot on the courthouse lawn to just hang out. I also love thrift stores, so Denton Thrift, Twice as Nice and Ruth’s Room would be some stops. Last, we’d take a leisurely hike and look for wildlife at one of my favorite photo locations, Clear Creek Heritage Center.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Starting from the beginning, I would first dedicate my shoutout to my parents! Growing up, they were always capturing the family with a video camera or camera of some sort. They supplied my first ever camera to practice with, and when my dad bought himself a DSLR, I ended up using it more than him! They both have encouraged me with my photography from day one.
I also would not have a successful business if it weren’t for the people who trusted me in the beginning to take their photos as I was still learning: The Cullum Family, The Reed Family, The Nowlin Family, The Stewart Family, The Jaimes Family, The Davis Family, The Saugi Family. My repeat clients have also given me confidence to continue in this business: The Cullums, The Zmoliks, The Awes, The Wegenkas, The Landrys, The Scotts, the Pittmans, and more. Every one of these families has also given the greatest gift an artist + business owner could ask for: word-of-mouth recommendations to their friends!
Friends and photographers who share their praises of my work online are amazing, and I’m so grateful to have an online community to learn from as well. Online educators who have provided countless videos and resources for me have taught me almost everything I know: Katelyn James, Julia Trotti, John Branch IV, and Jessica Kobeissi.
Lastly, my wonderful husband, Andres, also encourages me with my photography. I like to call him my “business manager”, as he is the one I go to for logistical questions, advice on client communication, and support with work-life balance.
Facebook: Emily Annette Photo
Carmen Washam Photography, Emily Annette Photo