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

Hi Rida, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
When I first started taking photos as a hobby, it didn’t initially occur to me that I could turn my passion into a business. After posting photos of my creative work consistently on my photography Instagram account, people from school and local DFW photographers started to follow my account. Many of my friends started to ask me to take their senior photos, and in May 2021, I did my very first paid shoot. I quickly realized that I needed better advertising and editing software, as well as a more cohesive Instagram feed since most of my clients found me through social media. As I slowly saved up money from doing more photoshoots, I invested that money back into my business. I bought a subscription to a photo gallery delivery service called Pixiset, and I also created my website through them as well. I purchased Adobe Lightroom and other necessary software/photo equipment to speed up my editing process, printed off business cards, and revamped my Instagram look after taking inspiration from other photographers whose work I admired. But most importantly, I realized that I needed my own personal editing style that would make me stand out from other photographers and be more appealing to clients. Through trial and error, I found an editing style that worked for me and the kinds of photos I was taking. While my style is still evolving, I now have a consistent look that could apply to many situations. To this day, my biggest motivating factor for starting my own photography business is that I wanted a place to showcase my work. Prior to starting the business, I was an active member of my school’s band and theater, but with the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, I lost my outlet to express my creativity. After creating a platform to showcase my work, I have found myself to be more confident and certain in my work, which translates to my business as well.

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 most proud of my eagerness to learn new skills constantly, and of my resilience to develop my business even when things became stressful. Currently, I am a high school student, so learning to become my own scheduler, website manager, marketing team, and secretary while also balancing a full-time course load is definitely a challenge. Luckily, I have a good support team (aka my family) who help me create that balance. It’s important to set aside time to edit photos so that you can deliver galleries in a timely manner, while also making sure that it doesn’t cut into necessary study time. Parallel to that, one of the most important lessons I’ve learned along the way is to not compare my work to that of other photographers. Everyone’s work is so different and unique to their creative eye, so I decided to not look at my work from a critical standpoint, but rather brainstorm what I could do differently in the next shoot to achieve the look I wanted. Making that mindset switch has been beneficial to me because I am now more assured in my work. In these last couple of months, I have really branched out into trying new photoshoots and learning to incorporate my drone into them, and I am really excited to see where that takes me in the future. I would like the world to know that I want to help each of my clients create memories in the form of art so that they can look back on them for years. Using a timeless, candid, and warm approach, I strive to make sure that the time I have with clients is one where they feel comfortable letting loose and having fun!

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.
If my best friend was visiting the area, and I wanted to show them the best time ever, I would take them pretty much all over the city. One of my favorite things about the DFW area is the food scene. If someone tells me that they’re hungry, there are probably a million restaurants they could choose from to try. I personally love Sixty Vines and North Italia, especially the Dallas Uptown locations. I also love the food trucks at Klyde Warren Park, as well as the restaurants in the Bishop Arts District (Eno’s Pizza is a must-try!). As far as sightseeing, you can never go wrong with the Dallas Arboretum, Dallas Zoo, Dallas Museum of Art, and Perot Museum. I also love the food and shopping scene at Legacy West in Frisco, as well as Stonebriar Mall and Galleria Mall. Another fun place that my friends and family like to visit is Grandscapes in The Colony; Kilwin’s Ice Cream is a personal favorite, and there is an adorable outdoor concert area, restaurants, and small boutiques if you like shopping. Another one of my favorite dessert places to try is BigDash; they have really good kinafa (cheese pastry), baklava (crispy dough stuff with walnuts), and Arabic ice cream (with pistachios!). All in all, there are plenty of fun places to see and amazing restaurants to try in the DFW area!

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 would like to give a shout-out to my yearbook advisor Ms.Cooper. She has helped me become more confident in my work and to be proud of the photos I was taking. She helped me learn a lot of the working details of a camera, and learn new editing software and ways to edit and file photos in an organized manner. She actively encourages me to take photos of new events/sports to get out of my comfort zone, and she taught me to take photos from different perspectives. She encouraged me to learn new photography skills, sharpen my creative eye, and try new equipment. In her classroom, I fostered my love of learning photography, and I was able to easily transfer that knowledge to my photography business because I applied the technical skills I learned in her class to my photoshoots. I owe a huge thanks to Ms.Cooper because I would not be who I am today without her support and passion for photojournalism.

Website: https://www.ridajphoto.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ridajphoto/

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutDFW is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.