Have you been wondering how to gain confidence you need to put yourself out there more?
In this Q and A Carmen shares her personal journey with us- from starting out in the photography business to gaining confidence at big events and working with celebs.
Tell us about your photography business and what led you to become a photographer?
I am actually on to my third career so to speak, I have background in fashion and a degree in fashion management, I worked in the fashion industry up until I had my first child. Along the way I spent a bit of time studying and actually thought at different stages in my life I might be an accountant, a personal trainer, an MYOB consultant, a nutritionist and the rest.
When my first baby was born my husband and I started a spec building business, it was in the building boom and super busy, I managed the office, and designed all the interiors, choosing colours, kitchens, bathrooms, paint, tiles etc. When the recession hit the building slowed right down, by then I had three kids and discovered photography. It started as a hobby and then when I decided I would quite like to make this my new career I spent a year shooting everything and everyone and got my first paid job about 8 years ago.
You have a calm energy that helps make people feel confident in front of the lens. But how do you feel being on the other side of the camera (IE having your own photos taken)?
Haha not sure I am calm! I don’t love being in front of the camera but a couple of years ago in about the space of a week I had three people say ‘oh that’s what you look like!’ as people had seen my work all over social media but never had seen me. I decided it was a good idea to occasionally take opportunities to put my face out there as think it is just good for business- people like putting a name to a face.
Where would you say you fall on the introvert/ extrovert scale?
A bit of a mix of introvert and extrovert – I love being around people and photography has definitely given me more confidence. It was a bit of fake it till you make it at the beginning, when I started shooting events with hundreds of people I was definitely nervous walking in to the room but now it doesn’t bother me at all!
Definitely photography has given me more confidence, a big part of my job is photographing events and parties etc with what some people might call NZ celebrities (other people don’t like to call them that!). When I first started I would find well known people a bit intimidating but actually now I don’t at all- we are all just the same! I have always loved a party and being surrounded by people so probably not so much an introvert but definitely I have had a shy streak in the past... not sure it is completely gone!
You have grown a significant audience online with over 6,000 followers on Instagram and 22,000 on Facebook. What's been your best strategy to build those accounts?
Instagram and Facebook definitely helped to build my business and get my name and work out there. The 22k on Facebook was early on and to honest it hasn’t moved much in the last 2 or 3 years and the reach is woeful now! I have 3500 personal friends on Facebook and use this more as a business page – it has way more reach that my page with 22k. Instagram has been slow to grow followers, I just keep posting and hash tagging!
You've just launched a new business, can you tell us a little bit about that?
High on my wish list is travel and I am trying to incorporate it more in to my work. I have had some great trips this year for work, Bali with some ladies who were setting up a business and Hawaii with Augustine and hoping to build on this next year.
I have started travel writing and had a few articles published and have been talking to more magazines about publishing my travel stories. With all the travel I get to take photos of beautiful places so have now set up a new website with a section selling professionally printed and framed landscape and travel images. Super excited about this and cant wait to build on it – I have just bought a drone too so looking forward to taking some aerial shots of beautiful beaches and sunsets!
Where can we find you?