We had the good fortune of connecting with Linda McDonald and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Linda, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
Starting a business was never really something I aspired to do. It’s just something that happened organically as I grew in my photography skills. But I’m really glad I did because now I get to do something I love, that’s challenging and fulfilling. I also get to be an example for my children so that they can see the benefits of owning a business and how it can enrich their lives.
What should our readers know about your business?
I specialize in wedding and portrait photography. I love being a photographer in San Diego because there is so much variety in the landscape. We have beaches, mountains, deserts, and urban settings to choose from as our outdoor studio and plenty of rain-free days. The creative possibilities are endless! I grew from being a hobbyist photographer to an artist and business owner by practicing a lot! I practiced for YEARS before I finally took the plunge and started my own business. I took photos at every opportunity I could get and used every minute of free time I had to learn the skill. Photography isn’t as easy as it looks and being a professional photographer comes with even more challenges, especially a wedding photographer. You have to master posing, lighting, photo editing and have great people skills. If you’re an introvert by nature, you can still be successful, however, you’ll need to learn to step outside of your comfort zone. I got to where I am today by being willing to do things that others weren’t willing to do. That is, I was willing to work as an assistant for other photographers for free or at a very low rate. I often traveled long distances and worked long hours to get the experience and skills I needed. To me, that was worth more than getting paid. The experience I gained, friendships, and connections I made were invaluable. It also gave me the courage and confidence to start my own business. What I’m most proud of in my work is that people appreciate my efforts and tell me so. Before starting my own business, I worked in the corporate world and never really felt appreciated or that what I was doing had any meaning. I love it when a client receives their gallery and lets me know that they are thrilled with their photos and their experience. It means the world to me when they are happy. Also, knowing that they will have their photos to treasure for a lifetime and pass down to generations makes weekends spent away from my family and the long hours of photo editing worth it!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’d take them to my favorite beach, Windandsea, at sunset because that’s the best time to be on the beach. We’d also head to some of my favorite hiking spots in East County like Mission Trails or Mt. Laguna. We’d stop at Cuyamaca Lake and explore Julian too. I’d also take them to the San Diego zoo and Balboa Park. Because after all, what’s a trip to San Diego without seeing these things? I’d be sure to show them the view of the beautiful San Diego skyline from Coronado too. For lunch, we’d go to Burger Lounge because they have the tastiest burgers and fries ever! Dinner would be at Saffron on India Street (they have the best curry dishes) or El Camino in Little Italy. I just love their street tacos! Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I wouldn’t be where I am today if I didn’t have the love and support of my husband. He was the one who encouraged me to buy a camera and has always been my biggest fan. In the beginning, he bought all of my equipment, which as anyone who is into photography knows, isn’t cheap. So I was really happy and proud when my business grew to where I could buy my own equipment. I’m also thankful and grateful to all the photographers/studios who hired me in the beginning when I didn’t have much experience in wedding photography. If it wasn’t for them giving me a chance, I would’ve never had the opportunity to learn and be the photographer that I am today.