We had the good fortune of connecting with Emily Dang and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Emily, how do you define success?
A lot of trial and error, whenever I want to take risks, I usually let it play out for a couple of months while considering all other possibilities. If the outcome of that risk is just a minor setback, I have a security blanket and push forward while taking another path. I never take a risk if the results don’t benefit me in any way.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I started photography as a hobby way before it became a small business. People were so supportive and had so much expectation for me that I was always nervous about how I presented myself and my work. When I started getting clients for bigger gigs, such as weddings or engagements, it was hard for me to be a “people person” and instead I became a “people pleaser.” It was hard for me, I didn’t set deadlines or standards for myself so my productivity kept decreasing whenever I had newer gigs. I only posted things that catered to one audience, and that market was tough to sit in. Actually, any market, from graduates to newlyweds, are all challenges since some photographers are in it just to make money and crush the competition. When I started working at a doctor’s office (yes, I am also a healthcare worker), my work ethic sky rocketed. I never expected that another career would bring out so much potential in my side-job. I’ve eventually learned how to intensively time manage my deadlines, consistently communicate with prospective and current clients and learned how to keep a steady mindset when taking on huge projects. All the skills that I had as a medical assistant contributed to my photography business and vice versa. My life is very balanced and active because of these two distinguished careers.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Riverside used to be so boring (it still is, in a way, since I’ve lived here for about 20 years) because I’m out of town half of the time these days. I would say my best friend and I would try all the boba shops in the area, maybe hit the mall, then stroll around downtown around the evening time. I’m so critical about my hometown, but Downtown Riverside is where it’s at.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’d like to thank the past and present students of Ramona Dynasty for allowing me to take pictures of them and experiment whenever I can. Taking pictures of band geeks that are moving and capturing these moments in 10 minutes was always a fun challenge! My sister, who means the world to me, for the small encouragements. Whenever she asks me to take pictures, she’s always critical about her own portraits that it motivates me to improve in the tiniest of details. My friends have been very supportive of me from the start, they’ve been coming to me for portraits and mini-sessions (even if I only have my phone on hand). A few of them have gotten married and wanted me to do the honor of documenting their love! One of my best friends often does photoshoots that allows me to experiment like CRAZY, so I appreciate her for that.
Personal image by: Asia Jones All other images produced and edited by: E. Dang Photography