We had the good fortune of connecting with Hoami Tran and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Hoami, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
My work/life balance changed forever the moment I booked my first photoshoot. Since these early beginnings of my photography career, I’ve always had a full-time job in addition to all the photoshoots. Because of this, my work/life balance is more like what balance? Haha!

When I first started off in photography, I was working all times of the day. If I wasn’t working my full-time job, I was chasing opportunities to build my portfolio, editing photos, planning, marketing, and shooting engagements on the weekends! I was working on repeat. As my work grew and I gained support, it wasn’t an uncommon event for me to consider going full time with photography or not. While others leapt into full-time photography, I made the decision to keep photography as a side passion.

Honestly, I valued stability too much and this worked for me. With this decision, I had to find creative ways that allowed me to maximize my time with photography and also free up personal time to unwind. I made changes to fine tune my time management which included my business approach to developing content for social media and training myself to make decisions quickly. I used to spend hours deciding if this or that photo would be best for a client to edit. The improvements allowed for a quicker turnaround for clients and gave me more time to focus on other parts of my business and personal life.

The biggest change for me is that, in my situation, I do have a bit of the flexibility to decide when to accept photo opportunities or not. Since I do not depend on the business to pay my bills, I realized I can limit my availability to give myself a break, without the financial stress. This really has worked for me and my lifestyle goals.

These changes have helped reduce times I may have felt “burned out” or “stressed”. It has helped me grow in the business perspective and understand how to balance my passion, producing quality positive work for my clients while still making sure I take time for my personal and mental health.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My goodness! Can I just be humble and say I’m not sure what sets me apart? But if I have to pick something, I’ve heard it’s the fun, candidness, emotional photos, and experience I provide for my clients.

Currently, I can say my photography art is focused on engagements, small weddings, family, and lifestyle shoots. I’m loving the happy feels and completely appreciative of the clients that continue to find me to capture moments in their engagement. I started my work with anything and anyone that would let me capture them but I always had weddings, as a goal, in my mind.

The beauty, emotions, and moments that can be captured on this special day are always such a gratifying accomplishment. However, over time, my work has evolved into more intimate weddings, lifestyle shoots, families, and engagements. hence, a focus to help balance my current lifestyle.

I think, like many photographers, our work can evolve based on our lifestyle, our hunger to explore different creative avenues, or take time to fuel our passion differently; all of which I believe truly helps shape and grow our photography skills.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
San Diego has so much to offer! Mexican Food. It’s great everywhere in San Diego! Yelp is your best friend and will give you some real reviews. You can find some great mom and pop shops near downtown San Diego, south near Barrio Logan, Chula Vista, and National City. If you even want to make a short trip out of SD to Rosarito, i’ll highlight Tacos al yaqui in rosarito. 🙂

Skinny Donuts. If you’re vegan and haven’t found that guilty pleasure of a donut to melt in your mouth, well I am here to share that this year we discovered Skinny Donuts from Dark Horse Roasters. It’ll make you question, is this really vegan?

Sake Brewing. Yes, San Diego is known for its beer brewing culture, but what about Sake brewing? If my friend loved Sake, this would be a great tasting spot. Setting Sun Sake Brewing Co. Beaches. La Jolla Windansea, Sunset Cliffs, and La Jolla Shores do hold true to their reputation. Sunset is ahhmazing. Balboa Park. I’ll throw in Balboa Park as a classic spot to visit. So much variety abound from art, architecture, rose gardens, cactus gardens, and even trails. Something for everyone.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
So many people and groups to give credit too over the years! Aside from family and awesome friends, can I say thank you google + photography community? Jasmine Star is my go-to for business approach and her “you do you” mentality when it came to developing my personal brand. She has helped me a lot. Some other Facebook groups that come to mind are “Shoot and Share”, “Looks Like Film” for all sorts of photography questions and sharing, and “Second Shooters” which is a great group to find second shooters for weddings (and even some friends too!).

Website: www.deardarlingphotography.com
Instagram: www.instagram.com/deardarlingphoto
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DearDarlingPhotography
Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/dear-darling-photography-san-diego-4

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