There is a reason for the saying ‘women’s intuition’ according to Jamie Siragusa. And Jamie’s women’s intuition was telling her that her post-college career in product development and social media just wasn’t the right fit. While she enjoyed some aspects of her job, it just wasn’t fulfilling. So she followed her own advice to take risks, quit her 9-to-5 and became Jamie Siragusa, photographer.
As her own boss in an industry that allows her to do what she loves, Jamie relishes the ability to live her passion and her life. Sharing her talents and passion with clients as Real Love Photography is Jamie’s version of success. As she puts it: “Success is having the honor to photograph the love, laughter and joy that each person and relationship brings to the camera.”
Did you always know you wanted to work as a photographer?
Ever since I was little, I have always enjoyed capturing special moments with close friends and family. I was lucky enough to study photography in high school. That class helped me move from just taking pictures to thinking creatively behind the lens.
After college, I began a career in product development and online marketing. Although I did enjoy some aspects of my job, I didn’t feel completely fulfilled and I knew that I was meant to do something else.
I had always dreamed of becoming a photographer, and after years of capturing special moments for the people I love, I took a big leap and started Real Love Photography.
How did you get your start in the industry? How did this lead to you launching your own business?
As photography has always been a passion of mine, I knew there was still so much I wanted to learn. I attended various lighting, portrait, and technical classes and began to build a solid foundation of the industry. Mix those classes with a leap of faith, and suddenly, I found myself diving right in!
Once you had a business, how did you begin to grow your client portfolio?
Before I started Real Love Photography, I had taken extensive pictures of family and friends, as well as special events like birthday parties and charity events (to get as much practice as I could). Once I started the business, my first clients were friends, and then friends-of-friends, and now many jobs are based on referrals.
What tips do you have for our readers who are looking to launch and/or grow their own business?
Always listen to your gut. There is a reason for the saying ‘women’s intuition’ after all. Only you know what will make you fulfilled, satisfied and happy. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help. The more knowledge you have, the better and more confident you will become.
What is your schedule like? What kind of hours do you work?
I shoot sessions throughout the week, but weekends are the most in-demand as it’s a convenient time for family and friends to easily come together. Plus, events like showers and birthday parties are usually on the weekends as well. On weekdays, I spend most of my time post processing the images from previous sessions.
I create my own schedule, which is great. This allows me to be able to spend time with my family, participate in activities that matter to me and still have time to exercise!
What does ‘work/life balance’ mean to you?
It’s important for me to separate and dedicate time to both my work and personal life. My job provides me with a sense of independence and self-worth. I have the luxury of creating my own hours, so I’m still able to participate in all of the important things that matter most to me in my personal life – my family. I’m blessed that I get to experience all of the special moments with them. It also means so much to me that I am able to show my son how important it is to be inspired by working hard at something I love.
Where do you find inspiration for new photo setups?
Every session, I try to ask myself, “How can I make this photograph unique?” Whether it be shooting from a different angle, or capturing someone’s personality in a distinct way, I love the challenge of creating something different every time.
What tips can you share with our readers for taking a great photo for their LinkedIn page? Any tips for creating a natural smile?
The best photos are taken where there is soft light. Soft light creates soft transition, which means it’s important that the shadows are light and not too harsh. Clear and simple backgrounds are key also. They help keep the focus on you. You don’t want to compete with the backdrop.
When taking the photograph, it’s best to angle your body about 45 degrees from the camera, but keep your head looking at the camera with your chin tilted down a little bit. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to smile and show your true personality!
What does success look like for you?
Success is having the honor to photograph the love, laughter and joy that each person and relationship brings to the camera. The fact that these photographs will remain for generations to come is truly a gift in itself.
What are three pieces of career advice you’re willing to share with our readers?
- Be willing to take risks.
- Be passionate about what you do.
- Strive to always learn … because life is short, and it should be sweet!
What advice do you have for our readers who want your job?
Working as a professional photographer entails a lot of hard work, and there is definitely pressure to capture photos that satisfy your client’s needs. Equipment is expensive, and post-processing can be very intensive. However, all of these challenges are worth it in the end because you are giving your clients a treasure they will have forever.
I’d Love To Grab A Drink With:
I Can’t Live Without:
Chapstick before going to bed
My Go-To Outfit Is:
Jeans, flowy top, ankle boots
My Favorite Place To Grab Dinner Is:
Anywhere that has great sushi!
My Favorite Song To Sing In The Car Is:
“Rhythm Nation” by Janet Jackson
My Favorite Way To Unwind Is:
A fun dinner and delicious wine with my amazing family and friends
I Feel My Best When:
My son sleeps in until 7 a.m.!