Today we’d like to introduce you to Emily Acosta.
Hi Emily, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
I got into photography after taking photo classes in high school. I loved learning how my manual camera worked and working in the darkroom (!!). I also really enjoyed how I started seeing things from different perspectives when I looked through the viewfinder of the camera. From there, I kept going with a concentration in photography at University of Tampa in FL., and I worked for several different types of photographers during and after I graduated college. I did some commercial work, preschool photography (that was interesting!!), wedding photographers, etc., and I figured out that I wanted to work with people. I moved back to STL from Tampa in 2009 and ended up working for a high-volume newborn/kid photography & sales company for several years. I am so thankful for my time at that job because during that time, I was able to develop & figure out my style of shooting and build up a client base. I finally went out on my own a few years after moving back to STL, and it’s been amazing to be my own boss & run my business the way I want!
We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
Although it has been a relatively smooth road to get to where I am now, it was a long process that required patience, perseverance, and hustling! You can’t own your own business and only give 50%–because nobody else is going to get things done for you! I have really had to be and stay motivated; building up enough clients to be able to go out on my own required time, and during that process there were certainly days where I wondered if I’d ever get to where I wanted to be or even could be in order to quit my day photo job. I found that I really had to believe that I could do it, and having the support of my spouse and family really helped me to keep going during the hard times.
As you know, we’re big fans of Miha Photo. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about the brand?
Although I photograph a lot of weddings (my favorite!), families and kids, I really love photographing anything and everything! Events with adults can be a fun change of pace from goofing around with kiddos, as are headshots for professionals, product shoots, and shoots just for fur babies. I really am up for any type of shoot, and I really love that my job allows me to photograph such a plethora of different types of important life events for so many different people and organizations.
I think what sets me apart from other photographers is my shooting style. It’s always been a huge focus for me to first make sure my clients are as comfortable as possible during our sessions. I realized very early in my career that it can be very awkward to be in front of the camera being photographed! When people are uncomfortable, you can certainly tell in the photos, so I always do my very best to make sure my clients know that what they are doing is working! Another huge part of being comfortable is being able to have fun during the shoot, so there is no shortage of that on my part during the shoot, either. I also really try to celebrate the individual personalities that each client or group of clients has because, ultimately, I’m there to capture who those particular clients are at that specific point in their lives. It’s just so wonderful to be able to do this for people!
I think my proudest achievement for my brand has been to have a wedding published in STL Bride Magazine last year, it was such a beautiful & unique day–a double Hindu/Catholic wedding, complete with Indian dancing during the reception! Absolutely incredible. Another thing I’m proud of that just is kind of ordinary but so special to me is when my clients who were super nervous about the photoshoot tell me that they had a blast during the session and can’t wait for their next one. I know I’ve done my job every time that happens!
Are there any important lessons you’ve learned that you can share with us?
As cheesy as this sounds, you gotta believe in yourself & have the confidence to keep going! When things get uncertain or tough, you really have to know that you are awesome at what you do, you love what you do, and that things will work out & everything is going to be ok in a little bit. There were a couple of points along the way that things were slower than I anticipated/wanted, and I’d get a little nervous–is this sustainable? Do I need to get a second job again to just make sure things are ok? (which I DID NOT want to do) But then I’d have a fantastic shoot where it was just so easy & fun and the photos were amazing and the clients loved everything, and that would put me on Cloud 9 and get my head back in the game & I’d remember that this is truly what I’m meant to do, and I know I’ll make it work.
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: www.mihaphoto.com
- Instagram: @mihaphotostl
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/mihaphotostl