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Conversations with the Inspiring Melanie Riccardi

Today we’d like to introduce you to Melanie Riccardi.

Melanie, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I didn’t always know I wanted to be a photographer and it really didn’t have much impact on my life until I decided I wanted to pursue it as a career.

I went to school for performing arts and as a young adult, I was living in LA pursuing an acting career. I think when you are in your 20’s and living in a city like LA, you end up spending most of your time working odd jobs (to make ends meet) than actually working towards your career goals. Because of that, life became more about survival and less about my dreams, so acting began to fade into the background. I eventually got a full-time job, where I met my husband Charles. While I liked my job, I missed having a creative outlet, and I knew that it was time to figure out what was next.

I had shown an interest in photography and liked the idea of being my own boss, so my husband encouraged me to put in the effort to see if there was something there. It was amazing because I felt like it came natural to me. I decided to quit my job and put all my time and effort into learning the craft and starting my own business. Even though I had a lot to learn, it felt much more natural than anything that came before.

I began, like many new photographers, taking any job so I could learn learn learn. Once I got my first product shoot, I knew that product photography would be my passion. I started checking out craft fairs and local events to meet more people, and building these relationships really helped start my career.

Six years later, here I am sharing about it.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I don’t think any road worth traveling is ever smooth, but for me, this one has felt the smoothest. I definitely had obstacles and growing pains.

One that was pivotal was when I gave birth to my daughter at a peak time in my business. I was gaining a lot of clients working consistently and making a name for myself. I had no idea what my growing business would look like as a new mom. Would I be able to do both? Would I have to turn down projects, because of my new life long commitment? Would I miss out on being a mom, if I put work first? So many fears came with this new chapter in my life.

After a month or two of trying to juggle both at the same time, I had to make a change. I felt like I wasn’t able to give everything to both, and I didn’t want to be that mom or that photographer. So, I decided I needed to find a balance and some structure. I ran my business part-time and gave everything else to being a mom. When I was working I focused on work, and when I was with my daughter I focused on her. I hardly ever let them overlap, which made life a lot less stressful.

Even though it felt like I was giving less time to work and more time to being a mom, becoming a mom actually helped my business grow even more. I was more organized because I had to be, I started only taking on jobs that were a good fit for me which made my work more focused and ultimately more enjoyable.

My advice would be to any women out there who own a business and want to start a family, find balance as soon as you can. Don’t feel like you have to be able to do it all at once on your own. Make dedicated time for both and stick to it. Sometimes, I feel like I live two different lives, and I love it that way.

What should we know about Melanie Riccardi Photography? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
The majority of my commercial work focuses primarily on product and still life. I love being able to build an image from the ground up. I work with great clients that love to collaborate and create together. We start with an idea, sketch some things out, plan out some shots, then watch it all come together. I also have clients who will ship me products and give me creative freedom to create on my own. I try to make the process fluid, fun, and effortless for my clients, while delivering consistently high-quality work.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Melanie Riccardi Photography

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