February 10, 2018
Hey, My name is Tara and I am your amazing Hawaii Photographer! I currently live in the Big Island of Hawaii but I LOVE to travel. You can often find me on neighboring islands such as Kauai, Oahu and Maui.
an excerpt from my interview…
Thank you, Letitia, so much for the opportunity to be featured on your blog! If you want to learn more about me and how my company. You can read the entire interview here or scroll down.
My kids are actually the inspiration for my company. My daughter is named Skyla and my son is named Reef. So I named my company Sky and Reef Photography. My daughter Skyla is three years old and inspired me to pick up my camera again after a long break. After Skyla was born, I had an identity crisis. I use to be Tara; a cool adventuring college student who loved to surf and dance and teach fitness. Then I became a wife and mother and I was on lockdown with a new baby. All of a sudden I felt like I was stuck in a 1950s scene-cooking, cleaning and taking care of a child. I felt guilty, I felt stir-crazy, I didn’t want to leave my daughter but I also wanted more. I started studying for my MBA and I quickly figured out it was not for me. I was a bit confused about who I had become.
I then started spending hours with my camera trying things, I practiced, practiced, and practiced. I enrolled in a photography school in Los Angeles and refined my skills. While I was still in school I opened up a joint business with another photographer. I quickly decided I wanted to be the boss and grow the company in a different direction so we parted ways and I opened up a new business, Sky and Reef Photography.
I specialize in taking photographs of people.
From small beachside elopements to the grand luxurious walking down the aisle style Weddings. I also take the Family, Maternity and Children Photography in Hawaii and Southern California. I am starting Drone Photography in 2018 and will be offering Wedding Packages that include Drone Photography in the beginning of 2019.
The good old fashion word of mouth has been my biggest asset in raising my brand awareness. I believe a website with a good design and a social media presence is a great backbone for my business and has served as a way to showcase my brand but a huge majority of my work comes from friends, their friends, and vendors. It has really been about building connections and authentic real relationships with people. No one sings a song of praise better than happy past client or fellow vendor; they are your best asset.
My biggest challenges have been not bragging about myself and my business enough. I use to think my work could just speak for itself. But it shouldn’t. I need to advocate for myself and my brand. One of my 2018 goals for myself is to not shy away from telling people about my accomplishments. “Oh yes, I am a published photographer. Oh, you didn’t ask. well, I just thought I should let you know”. Ha! I am working on how to incorporate this a bit smoother into my conversations.
(sweet power pose, right?)
My daily practices include slothfully being torn from my warm bed in the morning (I am not a morning person). I will only wake up early to surf with my husband on occasion or to take breathtaking sunrise photos. I need to exercise at some point throughout the day and I now NEED coffee. I teach Pilates and Barre a few times a week and I must see sunshine every day.
My best practices for my business has been to not get overloaded by editing. I schedule the time to get my edits and get them done in a timely manner and return them back to my clients quickly. The bride and groom are more likely to share their wedding photo with friends and family a couple weeks after their wedding rather than a couple of months. That is a win-win for you. Free marketing and happy Bride and Groom!
I love being the boss. I find it so rewarding. I can make my own schedule and strive for a work-life balance. I am a mother and a business owner. I am actually writing on my computer while I snuggle my sick daughter right now. I love to the flexibility of the job. I normally edit at night after I put the kids down for bed while I listen to my favorite podcast which includes the Ted Radio Hour, Planet Money, and How I Built This.
(Skyla and me)
The biggest thing that keeps me motivated is that I am capturing the best moments in my clients’ lives. I take the responsibility very seriously. I want to show up to their event feeling confident with my creative juices flowing. I really love seeing people party and be happy. I am a romantic. I cry at a lot of weddings. I get into it. It is a real-life romantic comedy for me. I truly get my motivation from the bride and grooms energy.
Simple as the expression my grandmother always told me “Treat people how you want to be treated.” To give my client the best experience possible I put myself in their shoes. The most important part of my wedding was my dress (which blush colored and was gorgeous) and photography. I was once a bride and I understand weddings are stressful, budgets suck and there are so many moving components on your wedding day. It is really important you connect with your photographer. I try to talk, Skype and or email back and forth with my brides before their big day. I want to communicate with my clients to better their wedding day. I send out getting to know you questionnaires, timeliness, and inspirational photos. I also discuss editing style and what to expect with my clients. Many photographers don’t discuss editing with their clients, but I think it is so important.
I love goals, lists and New Years resolutions, so I will let you know what my list looks like for 2018:
Capture 15 weddings (already booked half!)
Create a hot sauce (started testing recipes with a friend..it’s gonna be fruity and spicy!)
Plant a garden with my daughter (currently growing Kale, Rosemarie, Tomatoes, just stared Broccoli and Butter Lettuce from seedling, next month squash, and peppers)
Get published in Martha Weddings (planning a stylized shoot next month, real butterflies are going to be involved!)
BLOG (My goal is to release a blog with my current work once a week)
I think it is really easy to compare yourself to someone else and think you aren’t good enough. I think this is easily amplified by social media and in particular, Instagram. But you are you and your style and creativity is worthy even if it isn’t like everyone else. I just read the book by Elizabeth Gilbert “Big Magic,” and I thought it was very inspiring for me and my business. Keep using your creativity and find your niche.
Check out the whole interview: