Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in photography but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Laura St. John, Founder & Lead Photographer of Laura St. John Photography, located in Milford, CT, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

I am a lifestyle photographer and generally serve families looking for family photos, newborns, engagements, weddings, and everything in between. We have also added drone photography to our skill set and full-length wedding photos.

Tell us about yourself

Before starting my photography business 7 years ago, I worked in Fashion for many years. My first job was in high school, working at Contempo Casuals in the local mall. I was only 15 then and had to get a note from my parents so I could legally work. I have always had a strong work ethic and loved being in an artistic field. I made my way from my home state of CT to college in NY and eventually moved cross country to San Francisco for 12 years with a 2-year stint in Los Angeles. In California, I worked as a buyer for boutiques. It was through that career path that I got hired at a video game studio. I had been looking for a change and couldn’t pass up the opportunity. Working at a start-up studio was a complete game changer and inspired me to start my own business. I had already been taking photos of friends and coworkers for fun, and once I made a move back to CT, the rest was history. I launched my business and have been working steadily ever since. I feel so blessed to be able to do what I love. I am an extrovert, and meeting and photographing all different types of people is truly my calling in life.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment as a business owner is the volunteer work my associate photographer Kate O’Neil and I have done over the years. I believe it is important for every business to give back to their community in any way they can, whether monetarily or through acts of service.

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

One of the hardest things for me being a business owner is having boundaries with work and my personal life. It is so hard to ignore emails and shoot requests when they come in during off hours. Time is money, and everyone is so connected these days; if I don’t reply fast enough, they will likely move on to the next photographer. Every year I saw I wouldn’t overbook myself, and every year I do. It’s just so hard to say no to clients who become friends and when you are lucky enough to do what you love.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

I would give the following tips to anyone starting out as a business owner:

  1. Say yes to everything! During my first few years in business, I had a hard rule I would say yes to every shoot request whether I knew what I was doing or not. It is the best way to learn new skills and also narrow down your niche market. If you don’t try every shooting opportunity, how do you know what you enjoy and are good at?
  2. Hire a team you can count on! When I finally hired an associate photographer, shout out to Kate O’Neil, office manager, and accountant, my business grew exponentially.
  3. Take every failure as a lesson. When I first started, I made a ton of mistakes and often worked much harder than I needed to. As I got more and more confident in my abilities, I was able to break into other side markets for passive income. An example is being a paid influencer for Instagram and Facebook, where I am paid to post about my business. A win-win! I also have started getting into teaching classes on photography which is something I am really enjoying.
  4. Lastly, set goals for your business every year. It’s so important to continue to grow, and the best way to do that is to have clear goals.

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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