We had the good fortune of connecting with Hillary Campbell and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Hillary, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
When I imagined starting my photography business, there was obvious financial risk involved – I had to buy a suitable camera, a bag for that camera, memory cards, I had to file for an LLC, etc. I didn’t go crazy with top-of-the-line equipment or materials to start, but all those little things add up to significant money. And that risk is fairly easy to calculate: this + this + that = financial risk, and you do the mental math: “okay, it’ll take me ___ sessions at $___ to recoup the start up costs.”

But what I wasn’t expecting was the more weighty personal and emotional risk. I wasn’t prepared for how scary it would feel to make social media accounts and ask my family and friends to follow them, to make posts with my photographs, to share my work with strangers! There’s a significant vulnerability in just putting yourself out there, and let me tell you: when I started, my pictures weren’t great – they just weren’t! And then, there’s tremendous risk when you cross from hobby/portfolio building to charging for your work. It takes a lot of courage to believe and proclaim “My work is worth it! It’s worth people paying for!” and to hold on to that belief even when people don’t book you.

It’s so risky to start a business and I still engage with risk every time I run an ad or I reach out to a potential client, every time I invest in new equipment or further my photography education through a new course. Building a business is absolutely taking a chance on yourself, but I am so glad I did!

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Getting to where I am today in my business and photography was certainly not easy! I didn’t take in courses in school or really touch a pro-level camera until I was starting. But, my super power is that once I decide I’m going to do something, I really throw my whole self into it and can spend hours and hours learning without growing tired. The first several months, I would stay up everyday until like 3am taking whatever courses I could get my hands on, researching equipment, learning the ins and outs of photo editing, taking pictures of anything and everything in my living room. I read books about photography, about managing a business, etc. I just had an insatiable hunger to consume any information I could about photography. I think this allowed me to improve and advance at an accelerated pace. Thankfully, I had lots of friends willing to model for me, too, so I had so many subjects to practice on!

I’d say that’s probably the thing I am most proud of – my commitment to learn and grow and see this thing through, as that’s not always easy for me! I have so many other projects in my life I have started and abandoned, but I am really really proud of the work I have put into my business. I am really proud of how far my photography has come and I am so excited about where it’s headed, about how much I am going to learn in the years to come.

I’m really excited, too, about all the clients that have joined me in that journey – that have decided I am their photographer! I LOVE capturing family photos, especially with young kids, because the session is almost always full of tears, meltdowns, and lots of bribing – it’s be absolute chaos! But my FAVORITE thing is showing the gallery to that family and seeing their stunned faces when they realize, in the midst of chaos, I captured their kids beautifully. My thing is honest + authentic photos. Sure, I take the adorable posed photos grandma is going to hang on her wall, but I also want to capture the essence and personality of each person who steps in front of my camera. Whether it’s family photos, engagements, or a wedding, I love hearing my clients gush over how much they love their photos and how surprised they are that I managed to get such beautiful images in the chaos of the day! I’m all about creating an environment where you forget I am even there, and then delivering pictures of who you really are in your unique beauty.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Well I am based in Denton, so of course we’re gonna start there by hitting up the square! We’ll get coffee at West Oak, of course!

When we’re headed into the city, a MUST eat at place is Delucca Gaucho Pizza & Wine. It’s to die for! Another place we have to go for a meal is Legacy Hall in Plano, one of those en vogue hipster food courts where everyone can get what they want.If we’re headed out for a drinks a spot I love with speakeasy vibes is Midnight Rambler, hidden in the Joule hotel. Another great coffee stop in Dallas would be La La Land Kind Cade because I love their aesthetic! And I am a sucker for lemonade, so we’re going to Wow Wow Lemonade in Bishop Arts.

Of course, we’ve also gotta head to the Dallas Arboretum for an afternoon of gorgeous flowers!
Also, I am like the biggest Mavs fan, #MFFL so if it’s basketball season, we’re going to a game at American Airlines Center. We’ll finish it all off by seeing a Broadway Dallas show!

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?
Oh man, there are so many people I have to thank in making my business what it is! Number 1 would have to be my husband, for believing in me and encouraging me in the risk of starting out my business! He has also been such a willing model and test subject for every new piece of equipment. (I have tons of shots of him watching tv, allowing my to test different flash brightnesses on the poor guy).

Next would be my dear friends and fellow photographers, especially Alex Smith, who have allowed me to ask tons of questions and have brainstormed with me, run mini sessions with me, and geeked out over new technologies and practices with me! Generally the photography community has been so helpful n finding my footing!

And of course, all my friends and families who took a chance and hired me when I was starting out and my work wasn’t great, but they believed in me and saw something in me I didn’t always see in myself!

Website: hillarycampbellphotography.com

Instagram: @hillarycampbellphoto

Facebook: Hillary Campbell Photography

Image Credits
Hillary Campbell Photography

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