We had the good fortune of connecting with Haley Lynne Russell and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Haley Lynne, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
To be perfectly honest, I would have never guessed that I would be pursuing a career in the creative field. I attended a fine arts high-school and realized very early on that I wouldn’t meet the expectations that many of my teachers had for up and coming creatives. I didn’t want to own an art gallery, and I definitely did not see myself on Broadway. I truly felt like there weren’t successful options outside of this glorified level of artistic success, so I really ditched the idea of a creative career. I discovered my passion for advocating for women and children, and chose to pursue that route. Throughout college, I changed my major a handful of times. I really struggled to come to terms with this idea that I would be working a conventional job. As I got older and life got a little crazier, I was yearning for a creative outlet. I hadn’t painted or touched my camera in years, but I began playing around with both, again. I began working to build this business from the ground up. Over the next few years, my photography skills grew and I realized how thankful I was that I had this incredible opportunity to pursue a career in photography. The creative freedom and scheduling flexibility has been one of the most amazing things for my mental health. Once I found my passion in photography, it was hard not to want to pursue a career in it.
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 am a wedding, family, and lifestyle photographer. I love to follow stories and families from the beginning of their journey and throughout their lives. I think I am most proud of the progress that I have made in this last year. I quit my day job in August of 2019 and decided to pursue photography full-time. I am so amazed at the growth my small business has made now that I’ve committed 100% of my working time to it. There have been many scary moments. Going into a pandemic 6 months after committing to this career was nerve-wracking to say the least. I think that staying confident in the art, being kind to my clients, and offering a product that provides a small sense of normalcy has really helped me to overcome any challenges related to the pandemic. I’ve learned that persistence is one of the most important qualities of a business owner, and following right behind that is an honest interest in the well being of my clients. By investing time into hearing their stories and truly getting to know them, I believe that we are able to build lifelong clients. I think that I’d like the world and young creatives to know that it is totally possible to be successful in a creative art field or career, regardless of if you meet the standards or criteria set by others. I think too often, we overlook this huge field open to young entrepreneurs. I want others to see my business as an example of pursuing passion versus pursuing success. I sought passion first and success is just an added bonus.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Oldwest Cafe in Denton has THE best pancakes. Not only are they as big as your face, they come in a ton of different flavors. Lunch and breakfast shots at Rooster’s Roadhouse is a total must. Dinner definitely has to be on the square, Barley & Board is always a fun spot. Dessert at Beth Marie’s icecream- the best flavor is the cinnamon! Anywhere on the square you get a good sense of what Denton is about. People are usually spending time together on the courthouse steps or picnicking on the grass. Miss Angeline’s is a fantastic little bar with a cozy patio to enjoy drinks with friends.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
When I tell this story of becoming a business owner and specifically diving into it as a full-time career, it is literally impossible to tell the story without mentioning my incredible fiance, Cameron. From the beginning, he has supported my creativity and my desire to take this business to the next level. He was most definitely the most influential person when it came to believing that I was capable of pursuing this career full-time.
Haley Lynne Photography Gingersnap Studios
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