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Rising Stars: Meet Sammie Ploch

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sammie Ploch.

Hi Sammie, so excited to have you on the platform. So before we get into questions about your work-life, maybe you can bring our readers up to speed on your story and how you got to where you are today?
I started being interested in photography when I was a junior in high school in 2018. It first started out as playing around with a beginner DSLR Nikon camera that my dad gifted my mom for Christmas. I would take photos of my friends and post them on Instagram. After a year of practice, someone reached out to me wanting me to take their photos, it was the first paid shoot I ever did in 2019.

I graduated high school in May of 2019 and my friend group had our graduation photos taken by Ryanne O’Donnell, on Instagram she is @ryanneodonnellphotos and from there she became a dear friend and mentor. I learned a lot about running a photography business from her, but the most important thing she taught me was to have confidence. I think when you are starting a business, self-doubt can creep in and it’s so important to remind yourself that you CAN do it.

Once I graduated high school, I went off to the University of Missouri- Columbia (Mizzou) to study Business Marketing. People tend to ask me why I didn’t major in photography in college, and my response is always that these days, education is at our fingertips, you can learn so many things through youtube, other photographers have educational courses and I learn a lot from my mentor Ryanne by second shooting with her.

When I get to the second shoot with her, I get to see how she interacts with her clients and how she runs her sessions. Since my freshman year of college – the current I attend school full time and travel back and forth from Columbia to Saint Louis on the weekends to do shoots.

Building my client list came with time, word of mouth and social media has been so powerful for my business. Out of nowhere, my favorite hobby became my job and I am so grateful for photography.

We all face challenges, but looking back would you describe it as a relatively smooth road?
For the most part, I would say that it’s been a smooth road. The only struggle worth mentioning is the battle with self-confidence.

I think that making the jump to start a business can be intimidating and scary, your mind likes to tell you things like “What if I fail,” “What if no one chooses me,” “What if I am not good enough,” and “What if I’m not successful”. Especially in the photography world, the market is very saturated, there are so many photographers just in the Saint Louis area, but the special thing is, is that there is enough room for all of us to thrive and have work.

Every photographer has their own strengths and different editing styles which attracts a variety of different clients.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I do high school seniors, college graduates, couples, and engagements. I think what sets me apart from others is that I pay close attention to the way I interact with my clients at shoots. It’s important to make your client feel comfortable with you because being in front of the camera can sometimes be awkward.

I make them feel comfortable by complimenting them constantly, talking to them as if I am a friend that has known them forever. Keeping clients updated after their session is important as well, I would say staying connected and being a good communicator is crucial in any business.

We have to remember, that we are all humans and all humans are searching for genuine connection.

We all have a different way of looking at and defining success. How do you define success?
I think if you have a great community around you, you are successful. I don’t want to measure success by the amount of money I have in my bank account, or how many luxury items I have in my closet.

I think you have reached success when you feel fulfilled with your life, you are happy and healthy, you are impactful to those around you, and you have a good community of family and friends that support you.

Most importantly, you have reached success when you love who you are and are proud of yourself for everything you have accomplished.

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