Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in photography but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Megan Morello, Founder of Megan Morello Photography, located in San Diego, CA, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I'm a commercial and editorial photographer that specializes in creating food and beverage imagery. I document any step of the food journey from plant to plate. This can entail capturing growers and food artisans in action, styled food shoots in my home studio or on location. I typically work with food and beverage brands, restaurants, chefs, and editorial publications.
Tell us about yourself
My journey to becoming a food photographer was definitely non-linear. As a kid, I always gravitated towards photography and was lucky enough to have a camera, but my love affair with photography began in earnest while living in Chile for a couple of years and traveling throughout South America. Everything I experienced was just different enough to be completely fascinating. The garbage man announced his arrival by striking a steel triangle. I would wake up to the megaphone chant of "Naranja, NaranjAA, NARANJAAA," coming from the neighborhood fruit vendor on his bike. Incredible empanada stands and fish markets provided some of my favorite meals to date. Observing and capturing the nuances of day-to-day life in an alternate hemisphere quickly became an obsession.
My formal education had been in nutrition, and when I finally returned to California, I ended up working as a nutritionist for nearly a decade. I was regularly photographing food and recipes as a part of my job, but it took years for me to realize that food photography could be a career in and of itself. While I mostly enjoyed my job, I longed for a greater degree of creativity and flexibility. I also worried a lot about looking back and regretting not taking more risks. At the end of 2018, I quit my 9-5 job and went all in. I've been slowly and steadily plugging away at it since then.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
That's hard to qualify. Probably both happy clients and proving to myself that I am capable of running this business. And seeing it grow a little more every year. I have a 3-minute voicemail that's been saved on my phone for about the last 18 months. It's from a client after they received their images. They were gushing that I nailed their brand in the images and that they almost cried when they opened them because they were so perfect. It was so surprising and wonderful to receive that feedback. I keep it so I can listen to it on tough days, and there are still plenty of those... Anyway, in the instances I'm able to make a client that happy, it certainly makes it feel like I've chosen the right path for myself.
What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?
Being a solopreneur can be so liberating and, at times, really lonely and a bit scary! While I love the independence that comes along with it, I really miss being part of a group and experiencing that camaraderie on a more consistent basis. These days, I really look forward to working on larger productions because it means I get to work with an entire team of creatives.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
- Find your people! This is two-fold. The first group is the people that already love you, support you, and believe in you and your vision. You're going to need them to remind you that you can do it. All the time. The second group is your peers. For me, this means other photographers. They are experiencing the same challenges and victories that you are. You can bounce ideas and experiences off of one another, hold each other accountable, etc. Developing these relationships will help you see that many of the obstacles you're confronted with that feel so personal are actually universal (for the most part). It's not just you!
- It may sound obvious, but get your finances straight. This is not glamorous but essential. Know exactly how much it costs you both annually and monthly to operate your business. This will help to determine your pricing so that you can actually have a profitable business.
- Just keep going. Not particularly profound, but that's my inner dialogue on repeat the majority of days.
Where can people find you and your business?
Photo Credit to: Michelle Bowen Photography
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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