Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in photography but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Sydney Snider, Founder of Sydney Marie Photography, located in Grand Rapids, MI, USA.
What's your business, and who are your customers?
I am the owner of Sydney Marie Photography. Specializing in capturing weddings and engagements in Grand Rapids, Michigan, with a photography style that exudes timelessness and vibrancy with an editorial flair. My photographs showcase candid moments and stunning portraits that are true-to-life edited. My goal is to create images that transport couples back to their special moments, even 20 years later, evoking the same emotions they felt on that day. As a hands-on and engaged photographer, I am actively involved in the wedding planning process and strive to provide an experience that draws from my 11 years of experience. By working together every step of the way, I ensure that no detail is overlooked and that couples feel confident in their choice of photographer.
Tell us about yourself
My journey as a photographer started over 15 years ago. In 2007 while I was in high school, I went on a trip to Europe through the People to People student ambassador program. My parents had bought me a Samsung 5MP point-and-shoot camera to document my trip. The experiences through that trip and ALL the photos I took really ignited my love for photography. So much so that I took a photography and darkroom class in high school, which eventually led me to pursue a degree in photography and advertising at Grand Valley State University. While most of my classes were 35mm film-based, I spent countless hours outside of class mastering digital photography. I started by taking photos of my friends' senior portraits and local concerts and exploring self-portraiture. Some of my self-portraits even made it to the pages of "Shooting Yourself" by Haje Jan Kamps.
In 2012, I photographed my first wedding and was immediately hooked. The unique energy and love that fill the air during a wedding day captured my heart, and I knew then that I had found my true calling. In 2016, I made a life-changing decision to leave my full-time job in hospitality management and pursue photography full-time. As I embark on my 11th wedding season, I feel incredibly grateful to be living my dream job, and I am determined to keep doing what I love for the foreseeable future.
What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?
This is probably the hardest question! I feel like I've had so many accomplishments that I'm so proud of, but I know I'm still climbing for more. I'm proud of the fact that my self-portraiture was featured in a book; I'm also proud to be on The Knot's Best of Weddings Hall of Fame list for my area. Every year I fill my books with wonderful couples that I adore; that's probably my biggest accomplishment that always seems to amaze me year after year.
What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?
I feel like for most small business owners, one of the hardest things is trying to navigate work/life balance. There's always this push for hustle culture and the work grind, but taking care of your own mental (and physical) health is so important. For me, it was creating work hours and taking the time to take care of myself that really transformed my business.
What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?
Take your business at your own pace, don't compare yourself to others in your industry, and make sure you are taking care of yourself - not just your business.
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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