We had the good fortune of connecting with J Melissa Andrade and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi J Melissa, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
I think I have a very relatable story to most moms. I was going to school to be an engineer when I found out I was pregnant. I tired to push forward with school full time, working 40+ hours a week and being a new mom and wife but it became very difficult for me. I started slacking in every aspect. I had taken pictures for family and friends before so when I found out I was pregnant a second time a year later I decided I needed to focus on something that would give me the flexibility my family was needing from me. I loved taking pictures and having people react the way they do and people start businesses all the time so why not me! The worst that could happen is it doesn’t work out and you get another job.
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 love love and I genuinely like hanging out with a couple who’s in love and taking candid, in the moment pictures of their happiness. So, I think having my clients feel like they’re hanging out with someone they feel comfortable with is what sets me apart from other others. It has taken a lot of working on myself more than anything to get here. Learning to be confident in your work, not comparing your work or progress to others. Learning to not get intimidated or discouraged easily, and asking for help.
So many lesson are learned when you’re building your own brand/company. The biggest lessons I’ve had to learn are to be patient and productive. I’m not learning everything overnight and I’m not going to be the best overnight so I have to be patient with myself and my work. And learning to be more productive with time are what sets you apart from someone that is noticed and someone that isn’t.
I hope that when people see my work, they see a photographer that wants to show you the love, the smiles, the charisma that you are. We are so caught up in work stress, life stress, and everyone else’s social media page that we forget about the light and the love that we have in ourselves, and I hope I can capture that and show all of my clients.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Im definitely a more “lets be active” if we’re going out person so TopGolf, batting cages, anywhere that has a pool table, paintball fun on the run in Fort Worth . For eating you have to a hole in the wall place (taqueria guajardos or temos in Fort Worth), steak or bbq place because we live in Texas (Texas de Brazil or Woody Creek), and an out of the ordinary place (Delta Charlie’s or Reunion Tower). Going out for drinks would be a mix of Deep Ellum, Fort Worth stockyards, or a family members backyard where the drinks don’t stop, the laughs last long, and the dance floor is never too crowded!
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?
I’ve had so many mentors along the way but the one person that really brought me in and answered questions about everything, that made me take the leap was Amerika Rivas. She’s a great photographer who specializes in Boudoir and without her letting me shadow her back in 2018 I wouldn’t have put myself out there. Also my mom, my aunts and my kids ‘buela have been the ones watching my kids when I have sessions. Lastly my sister and her husband who have been an incredible backbone to my photography journey with gifting me a new camera and doing sessions for me when I need the content and overall the encouragement my sister gives!
Facebook: J Melissa Photography