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

Hi Jamie, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
Work life balance is and will continue to be a struggle. When I first started, it was all work, no play. I quickly became burnt out realizing that I needed to get activities I enjoy back into my life. It wasn’t healthy working all the time. I am not living life just to work, as much as I love photography and want tp do. The hardest thing I struggled with, even still, is saying no. When you start your own company, money is a huge factor and stress in your life. Saying no to a gig means, you don’t get paid, but I also can’t work 24/7. As time passes and my company grows, I learn and find ways to make my life more of a priority, creating a better balance with work. It will never be perfect. It’s a working progress.

Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
While my company might still be young, I continue to learn so much in the growing stages. My goal is to assist in the growth of small brands, models, designers or start up businesses, all of which help to build a more united community. I want every person I come into contact with to have a good and harmonious experience. Everyone is treated with dignity and respect. In today’s society, I feel this aspect of business can be lacking. We’re all in this together and I want all of us to grow together. Since making the decision to start my own business, it was imperative that my mission statement be Creating Smiles Daily. I want models, designers, brands and companies to all experience the joy I have creating what I love along with the end result of my images placing a smile on their face. The journey to this point hasn’t been an easy road. The photography industry is known as the worst career to pursue for many reasons and I decided to go after it anyways. There has been a lot of ups and downs. I can honestly say that I have no regrets with the decision I’ve made, which flipped my life upside down. I face everyday challenges. These challenges can come from the creative nature of my job, learning a new skill set, or communicating with my clients. I could wish for my journey in the photography world to be simple, but I know that no career choice is easy. I try my hardest. I put all my heart into my photography. I build upon my skills. I take business and creative risks everyday. Life is full of unique experiences, which we must learn from to continue in our personal growth. The risks will always be there and the decision to keep going or to give up is part of the art of living. It’s what makes life interesting. I’ve seen this difficult choice first hand made by my own girlfriend. She started her own food business and there was a point in time where she had to throw in the towel. She may have ended that business, but she doesn’t see it as giving up. She learned from that experience and believes some of those lessons I’ve learned from as well. I too don’t see the close of her business as giving up. I’ve seen her continue to grow and strive for improvement. Her positivity keeps me and my business moving forward. Even with early successes of my company, I still have days/weeks where I debate if I am doing the right thing and if I should just quit. So, there really isn’t a simple answer, but I don’t let the fear of failure stop me from trying.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Without hesitation, the first location I would take my friend is the San Diego Zoo. I considered it my home away from home. I love animals! Being around them and knowing the San Diego Zoo is committed to saving species worldwide puts it at the top of my list. After an exceptional experience at the SD Zoo, we would head to Little Lion Café for lunch. Little Lion Café is a cozy, casual bistro that’s owned by three sisters who are very involved in the OB community. Their food is focused on seasonal, high-quality ingredients, something that I strive for in my own home. With a full belly, taking a walk along the Sunset Cliffs is a must. It’s a 68-acre natural park that borders the Pacific Ocean. We would enjoy breath-taking views and being outside in the beautiful San Diego weather. If time allowed, we would head over to Centennial Park in Coronado and watch the city lights turn on. From this location, you can see the entire downtown city of San Diego and catch beautiful sunsets too. To wrap up the day, we would head over to Cesarina for dinner. Cesarina means a grandmother, a mother, a daughter – someone who nurtures, feeds, and cares for her community. This is exactly what this restaurant does. Their exquisite Italian food will have you salivating at the mouth and leaving satisfied with the desire to come back. Following a jam packed first day, here are other locations and restaurants I would take my friend to throughout the week: 1. Three Sisters 2. Devil’s Punch Bowl 3. Bronx Pizza 4. The Crack Shack 5. Salt & Straw 6. Little Italy 7. Barrio Logan 8. Salud 9. San Diego’s 7 Bridges Urban Hike 10. San Diego Safari Park 11. Balboa Park & Museums

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?
When I reflect back on how I got to where I am today, there is one person that deserves a shoutout and so much more, my girlfriend. Unsatisfied with my job at the time, I felt my creative side was being stifled. My girlfriend told me to get out of my own way. Shortly after, I quit my job and pursued what I’ve always felt I should be doing, photography. I’ve never looked back. Without her encouragement, support, and mentorship, it’s highly probable my photography business wouldn’t exist. She has been my rock and continues to help me grow exponentially.

Website: www.phodesigns.com
Instagram: www.instagram.com/phodesigns_official
Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/james-hall-a830971a/

Image Credits
1 – Model: Regina Knoll @regina.knoll 2 – Model: Bekah Church @bekahchurch | Car/Home: Dr Marty Fallor @drmartyyy 3 – Model: Rachel Ramos @rachel_ramos | Business: Lush Moda Boutique 4 & 5 – Business: Sand Cloud

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutSocal is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.