Today we’d like to introduce you to Taylor Gonzalez.
Hi Taylor, please kick things off for us with an introduction to yourself and your story.
As long as I can remember, my mom always documented small or big moments. She was the first to take out her camera, directed everyone where to smile or captured the candids. As a little kid, I never minded it. One thing I looked forward to was when we would have family video nights. This is where we would watch old family videos together. There was always something so intriguing to me when we would look back and remember how special and precious life was and is.
When I was 13, I had a good family friend who would talk to me about her photography ventures. She did it for fun and taught me a few things that she was learning along the way. I was fascinated at the process and the freedom that came with it. She heard I was going to Washington to see family, so she lent me her camera for the trip. My family has a farm up there, and that’s where I explored nature photography for the first time. It was a whole new world, and I was fascinated. I couldn’t stop!
When I got into high school, I decided to focus on sports for the first few years. On the side, however, I would take my friends on random photo adventures. I had a small blue digital camera that I would bring with me everywhere. We would just shoot for fun, dress up all fancy, and try to create some type of art. That’s where my love for photographing people flourished and outshined all the other photography categories for me. My favorite part was interacting with the client and making them feel confident. I look back on those photos and laugh, but also remember the fun we all had together. Those moments were very impactful and have taught me so much about directing my clients.
It was the summer before my Junior Year that I had to pick my new classes, one being an elective. It took me two seconds to choose “Photography”. I knew deep down this could be the beginning of something that would have a huge impact on my life. I had no idea that this class would change the direction of my life forever.
Looking back, I remember the feeling of a new passion and motivation developing inside of me. The encouragement from a community of people (my classmates and teacher) helped me step out of my comfort zone and learn beyond what I thought was possible at the time. Their words also helped me believe in myself.
My photography teacher, Mrs. J, is someone I give a lot of credit for in my early developments in this art. She was the most thoughtful teacher and truly put others first. I felt so seen in that class by the way she cared for me. She saw potential in my art and never gave up on me. Growing up, I always felt second best, but her love for me made me feel like I could conquer the world.
I believe that having a deep care for people makes photographing people much more fulfilling and fruitful. Unfortunately in 2015, my photography teacher Mrs. J passed away. She left a huge legacy, and part of that was her love for others. Her encouragement towards me motivated me to go forward in my career as a photographer. I held onto that as I pursued my photography business. The people I chose to surround myself with truly helped develop a very deep love for my business adventure.
My love for people, capturing their story and smiles has been my biggest motivator. Yes, there have been setbacks, but I try to remember where I’ve come from and where I feel like I’m going. Surround yourself with people that truly care and see the best in you — If you take a few steps back in your career or passion, they will be there to lift you back up and remind you of the person you’re becoming.
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
I have definitely had struggles along the way, but I have to remind myself that that’s life.
When one of my biggest motivators in life – my photography teacher – passed away, that was very hard. She committed suicide in her photography classroom. My friends and I couldn’t understand why she would do that to herself and to her favorite people in the world – her students. Sometimes you don’t get answers to these hard questions, but I learned to use this as a motivator to work hard and provide clients with the best experiences. That’s what Mrs. J would have wanted for me. She still is one of my biggest motivators in life and photography.
I think another struggle along the way has been comparison. A lot of times, I see competition over community in this occupation. That definitely feeds a lot into the comparison that lives in my heart more than I would like. However, I have found other photographers in my life that have played a huge role in lifting me up and encouraging my work. Our work looks very different, but we all have the same goal – making art that inspires and brings good into the world.
Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
I am a lifestyle photographer that specializes in photographing people. I am known for making people feel safe and seen in front of the camera. I am most proud of the way I interact with my clients. My clients have told me time and time again how much they love working with me because of the way I make them feel comfortable and confident. Also, my candids and the way I tell stories through my photographs is unique compared to others in the industry. I am most known for my family photographs. I love bringing families on wonderful adventures and capturing the love through each interaction. I thoroughly enjoy getting to know my clients on a personal level. I don’t want my business to be transactional, but an experience and community that brings people back for more wonderful memories!
The crisis has affected us all in different ways. How has it affected you and any important lessons or epiphanies you can share with us?
So many wonderful lessons learned through the Covid-19 crisis. When it first came about, I wasn’t sure how it would impact my business. However, after some brainstorming, I learned that many families wanted to capture time with their families more than ever before. With so much uncertainty, many families wanted to make sure they had photos before anything else happened. I moved forward in that and provided a service that could make that possible for my clients. I learned how to photograph 6 feet apart and decided to travel to people’s homes. This idea turned out to become “Porchraits – portraits on porches”. It was a great learning experience for me and gave me a better understanding that photographs truly bring people together.
Another lesson I learned was – love people where they’re at.
- $230 family mini session
- $340 hour family session
- $290 30 minute headshot session
- $210 15 minute headshot session
- $360 hour headshots session
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: tayjoyphoto.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tayjoyphoto/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/tayjoyphotography