Meet Emily Todd of Emily Rae Photography, located in Huntsville
Newborn, Children, Maternity & Family Photography
What is the greatest joy you get from owning your business?
This business continues to deliver happiness in so many ways, but my greatest joy comes when my work evokes a genuine emotional response from my clients. I experience joy in every birth that I am humbled and privileged to witness. Every mother who is brought to tears by the overwhelming love she feels for her baby during a session or when viewing her photographs. Every father who beams with pride for his family, and every swooning grandmother, remembering when her own children were small, and understanding how quickly and precious these moments I’m capturing truly are. At my best, I am able to evoke these little, precious, fleeting moments of reflection for my clients, and it brings me an incredible sense of gratitude, accomplishment, and joy. An emotional response is often how I gauge my success, and it is always the highest praise I receive from my clients. I experience joy in building, practicing and documenting something I love. I have young children myself, and though there are many hours I have struggled spending time away from my family while building this business, it has given me the opportunity to be home with them and design my own schedule with freedom and flexibility. I hope that my own children see how passionate I am about my job and learn that it is important to love your work. I hope to set that example for them and that they may be able to do the same with their lives, and live a life they love.
What does being a woman bring to your industry?
I think that modern day family photography has been revolutionized by women and shifted photography as a career away from being a male-dominated industry to being largely run by women. Essentially, my experience as a woman and mother allows me to intuitively understand the needs of my clientele. It enables me to approach children in a way that is warm and playful, to gain their confidence and trust, and ultimately go on to create images that are genuine, relaxed, and treasured by my clients. Being a woman helps me to connect with my clients, both young and old, and ultimately provide an experience and product that keeps my clients coming back. As a newborn photographer, it is critical that I am knowledgable and comfortable in handling babies in their very first days of life, so my clients can relax knowing that they are in good hands. Often times I hear clients leave my sessions saying “you are a magician and we cannot wait to get home and try the soothing techniques we watched you perform today” or just “can you please come to our house and be on call for when baby is fussing?” Nothing makes me happier than hearing my clients recount how their children spoke fondly about the time we spent together shooting and “playing” and that they have been looking forward to their next session, and I do associate a lot of this with being a mother myself. The ability to anticipate and understand the needs of babies and children, how to interact with children to create an environment that feels safe and comfortable, the ability to interpret and assess family dynamics, as well as intrinsically understanding the desires of my clients in terms of final product delivery and emotional connect, is something that I largely attribute to my experience as a woman and mother. The advantages to being a woman in this industry are endless.
What advice do you have for other women that are thinking of starting up a business?
My advice would be, first and foremost, don’t undervalue yourself. So much work and effort goes into starting and running a business behind the scenes that you may not anticipate, and your clients will not likely see. I think it is so important to have a clear understanding of exactly how much time you are investing to be sure that you are building a business that is sustainable and will continue to grow organically without undercutting yourself and your family. Set goals, continuously, for steady growth and when you reach those goals, raise the stakes and work hard to achieve your next personal benchmark. Do your best not to compare yourself to others, and know that it is okay that not everyone is YOUR ideal client. If working with babies and children has taught me anything, it is that patience is a virtue and its been helpful to regard the growth of my business with the same patience I reserve for my smallest clients. Nurture your business and treat it with love and, just like children, one day it will seem it all grew overnight.