Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in photography but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Fizzah Raza, Owner of Fizzah Raza Photography, located in Brentwood, TN, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
Fizzah Raza Photography is a luxury branding and portrait studio. My primary clients are women who are looking to break out of stuffy, traditional headshots and branding photos and step into powerful, authentic, and beautiful branding photos instead. Many of my branding clients also opt to incorporate personal photos such as boudoir, glamour, couples, or family portraits. I also photograph personal portraits as their own session - maternity, mother-daughter, boudoir, couples, family, etc.
Tell us about yourself
When I first began dreaming about starting a portrait studio, I was still a full-time teacher in Los Angeles. At the time, I was focused on weddings and family portraits as a side job. I spent a lot of my free time taking classes and workshops and reading anything photography-related that I could get my hands on that. But I wasn’t sure how I would be able to become a full-time photographer.
After I married my husband and moved to the Bay Area, I had the opportunity to either get another job or start my business. I decided to go for my dreams and have never regretted that decision. I launched my business in the Bay Area and was in the growth stages. I took a bit of time to enjoy the precious baby years with my kids at home. Once we moved to Nashville, I was ready to relaunch my portrait studio in this vibrant, creative-driven city.
Photographing women for fine art glamour portraits is not something I initially set out to do. In fact, once I started doing it professionally, I realized I had been doing it during my learning experiences when I practiced with my friends. As I was learning lighting, posing, and other elements of portrait photography, I’d invite my girlfriends over for a dance and photo shoot party. It was perfect – they were all glammed up for the dance party, and I’d pull one out at a time for photos while the rest danced and had fun. It was especially fun for me because many of my friends wore a hijab, a head covering worn in public by some Muslim women, and so had not ever had portraits of themselves while in full hair and makeup. I always felt a rush of excitement and emotion as I got to reveal their photos to them and see their reactions.
Years later, as I began exploring which genres I wanted to photograph professionally, I kept feeling drawn to photographing women. I want my portrait work to show women as beautiful, strong, determined, soft, sensual, and everything in between. I want the portrait experience in my studio to be one in which women feel the center of focus for the day and are treated like amazing, valued people they are and should be recognized for. Mostly, I want women I photograph to walk away not just with the transformational portrait experience but also with printed artwork of themselves in the form of albums and framed prints. I want them to feel empowered as they go through the portrait experience and every time they look at their wall art and albums. I love to tie in relationships when photographing glamour – husbands, wives, girlfriends, boyfriends, sisters, daughters, and best friends.
From there, I realized I loved working with women entrepreneurs, speakers, coaches, and high-powered executives that needed branding and headshot photos. These are some of my favorite sessions to photograph. I am a very self-motivated person, especially when I am passionate about something. What motivates me each day is to create a sustainable business that helps my clients stand out with their branding and powerfully reconnect to themselves while also allowing me to create my dream life and schedule.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
My biggest accomplishment as a business owner has been the enormous feat of successfully launching my business in a new city, with little to no network, at the beginning of a global epidemic.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
One of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner is the overwhelm that happens when you take on all the jobs and tasks in your company and at home. Trying to find a balance while still being very ambitious and determined is a challenge.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Failure is a part of growth and progress. Fail faster and more often.
- Value yourself, your clients, and your team.
- As you grow, focus on your zone of genius and learn to delegate and outsource other things.
- Invest in coaching and business education.
Is there anything else you'd like to share?
I think this is an especially challenging but fulfilling time to run your own business. The world needs your skillset so if you're thinking about starting a business, take the leap. It can be a tiny jump as a side hustle or a full-on jump - just start.
Where can people find you and your business?
If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.
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