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Meet Tannaz Telikany of Tannazphotography in Culver City

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tannaz Telikany.

Tannaz, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I am originally from Iran. I got my bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design before immigrating to US. In college, I took few photography courses which generated enough passion in me to lead me to where I am today, a photographer. I started by just taking pictures of streets and buildings. I ended up traveling all around Iran capturing its wonderful nature with my lenses. After immigrating to US, I decided to follow photography professionally so I went to college. I was very determined at that time. I used to carry my camera with me everywhere capturing precious moments. I was so into it that I used to search and find my photos subjects’ contacts info, both individuals and business, to share my photos with them for free.

Being a social person, I have always been able to find quicker ways for progress and success. In the beginning, social skills let me find good models for my projects. Being in school, gave me the opportunity to hold few exhibitions in Los Angeles county. I won numerous international photography awards such as Prix De La Photograpie in Paris and International Photography Award. Two of my works received gold and silver medal in Prix De La Photograpie and they were exhibited in Paris. These awards were major motivations for me.

On the last year of college, I tried to start being more active in social media. After creating my own website and getting my Associate in Arts degree in photography, I was finally confident and independent enough to start my own photography business. This was milestone in my career. My business started to grow automatically; little by little, my clientele got bigger. However, I still work for free lot of times in to improve my portfolio.

In my opinion photography is not just about how you can operate your camera. I think the most important part is how you connect with people and surrounding as your subjects.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Not at all. I think starting a new business from scratch is never easy. There are always unforeseen challenges but I believe if you are motivated enough, conquering the hardships will be sweet and rewarding. The biggest challenge for me was language and cultural barriers. My English was not that good when I first started school in US. Lot of times, I missed opportunities and got low grades because I was having hard times understanding the assignments or because the instructor could not understand what I wrote. I spent lot of time on my English to get to a decent shape that I can avoid miscommunication now.

The other struggle for me was immigration itself. Because I moved to US alone, I got separated from my close family and friends. I had no support to start a new life, let alone starting a new business. Growing up in a very warm and close family and having a background of a family-oriented culture, made things even harder. I did not know where to start. Everything had to be done from scratch from school by building connections and learning the US business models which was completely new to me.

Tannazphotography – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Majority of my business is wedding photography. I have a team of assistants, second shooters, and videographers helping me covering the ceremonies. The process starts months before the ceremony though. Arrangements must be made with event planners, wedding crew, bridesmaids, and grooms maids. Individual shootings of bride and groom are usually done in multiple locations and scenarios. Then, the bridesmaids and groom maids are brought into picture. The whole purpose is to create a story out of the photos. Multiple rehearsals are performed to get the best angels and lightings days before the “big day” itself. This is crucial because the bride will only walk once in her life. There is also lot to be done after the wedding. Archives of thousands of photos and videos must be analyzed, picked, edited, and combined to shape the story of the “most important day in life” together.

Other than wedding photography, I also do headshots, family, and newborn photography. I think the uniqueness of my work lies within the emotions I create in my photos. I can connect with my clients very easily; I get the “You are the first photographer that I feel comfortable with” a lot. I am also known for my warm and friendly personality. I can bring happiness out of people and make their inner beauty unravel in the photos.

Photography is my real passion. I enjoy capturing the love, care, and happiness in people, and creating lifetime memories; those special moments that worth remembering.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
I define success as happiness and satisfaction from work. Neither money nor fame are success to me. All that matters are how you feel about what you do. In photography this means that you wake up every morning excited about what you are going to do, enjoying while doing it, and knowing that you are contributing to this world. Just setting some goals for yourself and know that you are achieving them is generally a success.

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