We as social media marketers, are so moved and inspired by amazing visuals. We talk about this time and time again with our socialites — how an inspired visual can take your brand's presence to the next level. So upon finding Sarah Sweeney, how could we not just fall in love? Her aesthetic really aligns with ours and we couldn't imagine having our KC workshop without her! You could easily describe this photographer and photo stylists' style as light, airy, modern & just flat out lovely! Whether it's couples, lifestyle shots or styled shoots, each of her captures has you wanting more. What we admire most is her involvement in the community — she networks and collaborates with so many influential people in her local community.
We won't tease you anymore! Here is the interview we did with this extremely talented mama-to-be...
You’re a KC based photographer and photo stylist with an incredible, airy feel to all of your work. What type of photography do you specialize in/enjoy the most?
More than anything I really just love collaborating with other creative women. I enjoy doing portraits, but my real passion is in styled shoots that are a little more editorial.
You are a mother-to-be, how exciting! What has been your favorite part of that journey so far?
Reading this question makes me so giddy! I think my favorite part of the journey so far has been enjoying a new phase of life with my husband. It’s unknown and new to both of us, but so exciting at the same time. It’s so crazy how much the pregnancy has already changed us, and I think it has forced me to become much more self aware.
What are you anticipating the most? Most nervous about?
We aren't finding out whether it’s a boy or a girl, so I am probably most excited about the surprise. I think a lot of my nerves come from everything being so unknown. A lot of people tell me that you can never be prepared for having a baby. I know that our life is going to change and we are ready for that phase, but I’m not sure how everything is going to play out exactly with working from home and all of those logistics.
Has it been hard juggling the pregnancy and working as a photographer? What are your plans once the little one comes?
So far it’s actually been a blessing. I think once I got pregnant I was forced to re-evaluate everything in my business. I’ve always been up for taking on a lot of different photography jobs, which was great in the past to see what I liked and what I didn’t, but now with the baby on the way I am excited to move into second gear and to really focus on mastering the type of work that excites me.
How did you get into photography and when did you know this was what you wanted to do for your career?
Growing up I always loved taking pictures. I got my first camera when I was ten and from then on I decided I wanted to be a photographer. I ended up studying photography in college and really fell in love with more conceptual art and working with non-traditional processes, but once I graduated I didn’t know how that passion was going to pay my rent so unfortunately I didn’t pick up my camera much right out of school for a couple of years. Luckily though I ended up falling in love with a wonderful guy who really believed in me, so once we got married I moved right into working on starting my business and I have been enjoying the journey ever since.
What does your daily routine look like?
Everyday is so different, but most mornings my husband wakes up a few minutes before me and heads downstairs to start coffee. Usually I roll out of bed once I hear the coffee brewing. He makes me eggs…perks of being pregnant (wink)! We sit together and have breakfast for a good twenty minutes, this is one of my favorite parts of the day. Then I’ll either get ready for the day or head to a workout class (I’ve been using Class Pass recently!). I then head into my studio where I spend a good portion of the day. I start with responding to emails and making a list of the things I need to get done for the day. That list is almost always editing, but sometimes includes working on the website, running errands for shoots, or any other business related thing that is needing attention. I often have smaller shoots during the week, so sometimes that will break up my day as well. I usually try to leave the studio late afternoon and then if I have any computer work to do then I will do that from home. When I first started out I was horrible at time management, but recently I’ve gotten a lot better at staying focused during the day so that I don’t have to spend more time staring at a screen than is needed!
How do you get the word out about your company? How long have you been in business?
I am a pretty horrible at marketing myself, but it’s definitely something I am starting to hate less.
I think the most beneficial thing for me has just been making connections with other creatives whether that be through Instagram or attending events.
I went to a blogging conference a year ago and that was really helpful in making a few key connections that helped jumpstart my business. I’ve also been a lot more interested in blogging lately as I am entering into this new phase of life. I’m not sure if that will do much for the growth of my business, but it has been a fun outlet to work on some personal projects so I am excited to see if it leads to anything.
What has surprised you most about owning your own business?
Right out of school I had a lot of self-doubts about being able to support myself doing photography and I didn’t think I would ever be able to “make it” as a photographer. I definitely wouldn’t say I’ve made it by any stretch, but once I started to profit I was amazed that I was actually making money doing what I loved (as funny as that sounds now). Looking back I wish I would’ve fought a little harder and given it a shot right out of school because I think I actually would’ve been able to support myself, but I also lacked a lot of confidence and believing in yourself makes all the difference. I’m naturally a horrible business person, but it’s been neat to look back just a year and see how much I’ve grown in that area. Believing in yourself makes all the difference!
What’s your favorite social media network and why?
Instagram is really the only one I use and mostly because I am so visual. I love how easy it is to connect with other creatives. It’s also a great place to find inspiration. I’ve tried a few other outlets before and mainly I think I am just uninterested in keeping up with it all.
If you could give other entrepreneurs one tip of advice, what would it be?
Surround yourself with positive people who have similar interests." (Tweet this!)
Surround yourself with positive people who have similar interests. It’s easy to feel discouraged, but having an authentic community that you can be inspired and uplifted from is so important in keeping the fire going. Also, I think it’s important to not be afraid to try new things starting out. I have gotten so stressed out in the past about what my style is, but I finally just allowed myself some room for experimentation and it’s been through that freedom that I have finally started to discover my own unique niche. It’s so tempting to compare yourself to other creatives who are farther ahead in the journey than you are, but just stay focused on what you are passionate about and what you are naturally drawn to. Every now and then taking a break from Pinterest or reading other blogs can be one of the best things for us me creatively.
"Having an authentic community that you can be inspired + uplifted from is SO important!" (Tweet this!)
What exciting things do you have in store for 2015?
I am excited to develop my blog a little more as my pregnancy progresses. I’m also excited to share some work that is a little more curated. I feel like last year I was just getting my feet under me, so this year I am eager to really develop my business with a newfound confidence.