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Meet Sara Whittingham of Shots. O.C. Photography in Orange County

Today we’d like to introduce you to Sara Whittingham.

Sara, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
In many ways, photography is my first love but second act in life. I have vivid memories from my childhood looking through different magazines or seeing different billboards and wondering, “WHO took that picture?” As I grew, I was always the family photographer, making sure we had the best pictures to document our story. However, the older I got, the more worried I became that my deep love for this art wouldn’t be enough to grow a business. My self-doubt pushed me towards the “safe”, but probably equally challenging route of public school teaching. Even throughout my five years of shaping young minds in Orange County, parents and other teachers would comments on how the photographs I included on my website and emails told the story of our projects better than my words ever could, and so the thought of fulfilling my dream always lingered in the back of my mind.

After leaving teaching and having my oldest daughter, Marrison, I gained a new perspective on what happiness and success really meant. The only real goal I had for myself was the biggest one I had for my new daughter – that we never ask ourselves “what if…” So, while raising my family I started to build on my technical education of an art I felt like I had been developing my whole life. It was difficult but exciting to see how it transformed my photography and I began to take on clients. That is when I realized it wasn’t just getting a great picture that lit a fire inside of me. Helping my clients style and plan, executing the shoot and adapting to the difference of each client and location, and elevating the image through my unique editing style were all pieces of the business that excited me.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Anyone who has changed careers completely will tell you – it’s never easy. Deciding to take the leap in leaving a safe 9-5, honing my craft while also teaching myself how to build and market a new business, and trying to get as many new clients as possible without sacrificing my artistic style, has been nothing if not a roller coaster. I have often dealt with ‘impostor syndrome,’ a feeling I can only kick by getting behind the camera. Thankfully, I have been lucky enough to find an amazing group of female photographers through the Click community that have supported me in every step of my journey from enthusiast to professional photographer. I am looking forward to more growth and challenges with them this year at the Click Away conference in Atlanta!

Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Shots. O.C. Photography – what should we know?
At Shots, I focus on lifestyle and portrait photography. I truly believe that photography is the most powerful artistic medium we have to captivate an audience, commemorate milestones, and tell our stories. I pride myself on capturing the connections between people and families in a natural and meaningful way. My art revolves around elevating the legacy of my clients so that they look at their shots for years to come and still remember how they felt in that moment. Recently, I have also been using Shots to help other female entrepreneurs to elevate their personal brand. It has been exciting to explore this new service in my business and see the impact that my photographs have on other small businesses in my area.

Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
In today’s market, many photographers rely on booking as many clients as possible so they schedule, snap, send and get paid. The truth is, nine times out of 10, this approach is not going to capture you, your style or your story. At Shots, I help you pick a location and style your shoot so that you are excited and confident even before we meet, we collaborate as much or as little as you want so that I develop an idea of how to best tell your story, and I arrive to your shoot with a variety of techniques that will get us far beyond the typical “everyone smile” picture. I pride myself on getting the traditional portraits that make grandma happy, while also capturing artistic images that reflect your personalty and love.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Shots. O.C. Photography, Logan Brinkley

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