Women In Business: Bella Photography

Here at Just An Ordinary Family we love telling you about some power house women that know what's what.Today's feature is no exception.Ali is the photographer, founder and owner of Bella Photography.She captured our Jane at 6 months old.
Ali and I first crossed paths when our daughters took a ballet class together when they were two through parks and recreation programs.We met again at an annual picnic last summer through the midwife clinic.Ali had her baby there and I was about to.She was taking photos of the event for them.It wasn't until we met again that our friendship "stuck".Now I have had the privilege of getting to know Ali and I just love her! We are practically neighbours, have kids the same age who will be going to school together and we have some friends in common too.
Ali is so funny and makes me laugh out loud.She has this totally awesome hot pink hair, her eyes actually sparkle and she is just as beautiful on the outside as she in on the inside.And her insides are great! She is so kind, seems to be friends with everyone and is always involved in the community and looking for ways to donate her time. Plus she is a wife, mom and owns not one but two businesses on top of that! Basically she makes me look like I do nothing all day.
Photo by maddiegray photography 
Ali was so kind and was willing to talk to me for the blog about her journey to be her own boss.We did a Q&A to learn more about her experience, advice and expertise about being a lady boss. 

Back to school portraits.We know this darling and yes, her eyes really are that blue! Amazing!

Just An Ordinary Family: When did you begin your photography business. 
 Bella Photography: I have been asked this questions many times, and it's hard to put an exact date, because I started just "dabbling" in children's photography about 5 years ago, then doing it a bit more after I had my youngest. It was Jan. 2014 that I was like "Giddy up, lets do this" and decided to set my focus on newborn and family photography. 
JAOF: What, or who, inspired you to start your own business? 
BP: I don't know if I was inspired by anything or anyone, it happened very organically. Once I had children I realized I wanted to stay at home with them myself, as opposed to having them in full time daycare, so I needed to use my skills to make that happen.
JAOF: What career did you have before? What experience did you have in owning your own business before? 
BP: I graduated from the Langara professional photo imaging program in 2005, and then quickly became an image editor for a travel photography company.The I had my first daughter. One day, my mom and I decided to purchase Buttercups Children's Boutique ... having NO business experience. We just thought it was a good idea. 
JAOF: What advice would you give to someone who is hesitant to make the leap from employer to starting their own company and being their own boss? 
 BP: Being hesitant is good! Make sure you have looked at every angle before you leap in. I see so many people start their own business assuming clientelle and the money will just roll in. I think once you realize you need to run it as a business, figuring out your cost of goods etc, see if you can truly make it profitable for you. It is hard work, but you are working for YOU which makes it the most rewarding career you can have. 
JAOF: Do you make your own hours? If so, how do you set them up?  
BP: I wish I could say I have set hours, but as a mommy to two tiny people they make my schedule. My oldest is in full time school, but my little goes 3 days a week for 4 hours so those are "office hours", and then evenings and weekends when my husband is home. Quite often clients will find responses at 1am because that is what works for us. 
JAOF: Do you work from home or studio? How does your space work for you? 
BP: I have a home office, but all of my studio shooting is done in my gorgeous new studio in Tsawwassen! I love it, it's like a second.. much cleaner home  
JAOF: Being a mom, wife and entrepreneur is hard work! How do you manage your time?  
BP: I am slowly getting better at this but really what it comes down to.. is coffee My most productive times as 8pm-12am. Not ideal for everyone, but it allows to me to a hands on momma, drive a van full of kids to cheer leading practice, and play play dough with my little. 
JAOF: What 3 pieces of encouragement or tips would you give to someone who is starting out as their own boss? 
 BP: 1. Treat yourself like you would treat an employee. You wouldn't expect an employee to work for free 18 hours a day, make sure to take care of you!2. Slow and steady wins the race. I have been a photographer for 10 years, I didn't start out amazing. Oh my gosh, my earlier work is down right embarrassing. But slowly over time you learn and grow. I am SO happy with the direction my work is growing.3. DO IT RIGHT!!! Pay taxes, have insurance.. Ugh it scares me that the large majority of photographers don't have business liability insurance.... this is SO important. We don't want to think about things going wrong but if they do you can loose everything. Make sure you are acting as a real business. 
JAOF: How does your work connect you to the community? What kinds of ways do you involve yourself in community activities?  
BP: It's too funny because I am always showing other people's faces I guess not many people know what I look like. I will be out in public and mention my business name and people get SO excited and tell me about a friend who's photos I did. I have even had people tell me that they are my "fans" which is mind blowing to me.
I love to give back to the community! I do a ton of small charity events over the year but I think my favorite by far is the annual Ladner Business Association Breakfast with Santa. There is NOTHING better than seeing a child's face light up when they see Santa.The best is when I see a child I know coming up and I whisper their name to Santa, when he calls out their name... it's magical. 
JAOF: Tell me about marketing. Do you market yourself? In what ways? What are your favourite tools to use? 
BP: I have only recently started marketing, but honestly 99% is word of mouth, which is the most valuable marketing you can have! 
JAOF: Who inspires you in your work?  
BP: There are about 2000 newborn and children's photographers that inspire me, but I love to look outside of those and look at other forms of photography. Two of my all time favorites are Sue Bryce, she is the most amazing, strong woman. Her brand is all about empowering all women to feel beautiful. My second favourite right now is Hunter Leone from Three Nails photography. First of all he is dreamy, but also, his work is both ethereal and gritty. Ugh.. LOVE!' 
Bella Photography was at the annual picnic held by the midwifery clinic to capture photos of all the pregnant mamas, babies and families. That's our Claire in the middle. I can't believe how little she looks less than a year ago.And on the right is the wonderful staff that all played a part in our birth journey with Jane.

This family is dear to me! Their daughter has become one of Claire's close friends and they are starting to do everything together. Kelly is absolutely stunning, as you can see. We instantly clicked and I love her down to earth and humble attitude. She is so honest about the reality of being a mom and I find that so refreshing and always leave our visits feeling encouraged. Plus her and her husband make the cutest babies! 

You can follow Ali and Bella Photography on Facebook right here and also on her website and blog here.Thank you so much for sharing with us Ali! We love seeing your work come up on our Facebook news feed and around the community. You are so gifted and we hope that your success with Bella Photography continues to grow!

1 comment:

  1. Aww thank you so much lady! It has been amazing getting to spend time with you. you are the best. <3


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