Studio Tour Thursday: Gianna Snell of Gianna Snell Photography
How long have you been a professional photographer?
About 10 years. I graduated with a BS in Photographic Imaging in 2003. While my degree taught me the art of photography, I needed to learn the business side of photography. I was making strides, but after joining Sue Bryce Education in 2017, my business has grown by leaps and bounds! Now I feel comfortable saying, “I’m a professional photographer.”
What was your journey to becoming a studio owner?
I had been doing all of my sessions on location for about 8 years. I had been doing in-person sales in my home for about 5 years. Then I began offering makeup and bringing the makeup artist to my home. I had this idea of an experience that I wanted to create, but it was a challenge doing the full experience in my home with a husband and three children.
I saw this building had an open parcel about a year ago, but I knew I couldn’t even afford to ask about it. Every time I passed it, I would pray that if it was for me, that the door would be opened. At the beginning of 2019, I had a very large sale that enabled me to have the cash in hand to pay for a full year of rent and purchase the necessary items to get the space.
When I went in there were only steel studs and a concrete floor. With the help of a good friend and interior designer/architect, Vanessa Crockett, the 500 sq. ft. space has been transformed into an amazing dream-come-true studio!
What’s most challenging?
Keeping up with all of the responsibilities of running a business. I don’t have a studio manager yet, so everything is on me. I am realizing that in order to grow my business, I have to begin delegating tasks so that I can focus on the things that make the ship go faster.
What would you have done differently in the beginning, knowing what you know now?
I would have been more persistent in pursuing a mentor in photography. I would have been a lot further along in my career, had I known how to price, how to sell, how to market. Sue Bryce is the mentor I didn’t know that I was looking for and the education received here is invaluable.
What inspires you the most?
Light. The way light falls is so intriguing and inspiring to me. Whenever I go for my morning walk or even walk into a restaurant or a building, I’m constantly noticing the way the sunlight falls over the landscape or through the windows. When I see gorgeous natural light, I’m always inspired to grab my camera and start shooting.
What has been the single most helpful thing that has helped your business grow?
The key to my success has simply been prayer. I pray every morning for God to bless my business and to guide my steps. I pray before every photo session, before every sales session and I ask God to bless my equipment, my hands, my mind, and my spirit. I’ve noticed a huge change in the trajectory of my business by consistently consecrating my studio, my finances and my clients to Him.
Advice for those just starting their portrait photography business?
Don’t give up! Don’t give up on your dream. Entrepreneurship can appear glamorous but it’s not always that way. There are moments of doubt, moments when you’ll want to give up, days when you won’t see how you’ll make it to the end of the month financially, but speak positively, go back to your why and keep pursuing your dream.