We had the good fortune of connecting with Peggy Warny and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Peggy, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
My story may be a bit different than most people’s “origin” story. My passion was started early, I got my first camera when I was 9 years old, that camera and I were inseparable! I absolutely loved capturing images, and I was good at it. I loved the way the world looked through the lens and even more, I loved showing people how I saw the world. I have dyslexia, of course, in the late ’70s, I had not been diagnosed, instead, at that time, I was just the “dumb kid”. I felt like a failure at everything…I didn’t learn to read until I was 11 years old. The camera gave me the self-worth and confidence that I defiantly was not getting anywhere else. I was later diagnosed and was fortunate to have 1 amazing teacher (Mrs. Dodd) that believed in me and showed me how to unlock the power of my brain and showed me that I was not “dumb” but actually, gifted and told me that I could do and be anything that I wanted. Although life got a little easier for me, my passion and love affair with the camera never died. Right after high school, I interned with a high-end wedding photographer where I learned all the ins and outs of the photography business. I worked for a few studios. Very soon I realized, there was no way I could make a living working for other people, I know I wanted my own studio. Remembering the encouraging works of Mrs. Dodd, in 1994 I opened my first portrait studio and was on my journey. And a journey it was, I knew how to make it through difficult circumstances and refused to accept anything but success. I have been fortunate to have been able to turn my passion into my career.
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?
The world and business of photography has changed drastically since I opened my studio. People used to go to the studio every year for family portraits, they printed photos and sent them to friends and family. Today, everyone has a camera in their pocket and it’s rare to see people hanging prints on their wall, instead, photos are shared on social media. I learned long ago, it is not the smarted person or the most talented person that survives, it’s the person that is the most willing to adapt to change that survives. So… I adapted! I had to take an honest look around and ask the question…” Who NEEDS my skills and talents?” I had to do something that previously I considered a “no talent” duty…. Headshots. I used to think that headshots were just sitting someone in front of the camera and snapping a shot…something anyone could do, not the work for someone with my talent and experience. Then I started to realize that I could put more into a headshot than just that. After all, in the media-driven world, we live in… your Headshot is oftentimes your very first impression. So, I transformed my business into selling amazing and impactful “first impressions”. That quickly lead to me working with actors and taking talent headshots. A headshot to an actor is literally the biggest part of their marketing strategy, it is the one thing that they have to get the casting director’s attention to even get the chance to audition for a role. So, I began to dig deep and figure out the phycology behind an effective headshot. Capturing the emotion and feel of each character type they are trying to achieve. I started taking classes and interviewing top industry professionals on my weekly show “Headshots by Peggy: PRESENTS”.
2020 started off as an amazing year, my schedule was full, and things were looking good in the studio. THEN…. Covid! Obviously, when we were on lock-down I had to close my doors as I am a face-to-face service. Again, adapting, I started doing consultations over zoom and developed questionnaires to help my clients understand exactly what their headshots needed to portray, and become a headshot strategist. Now, I can offer my clients even more in helping them get effective headshots.
If I had to say there is one thing that sets me apart from other photographers, it would be the fact that I refuse to settle for anything less than the best, and I believe my clients’ personality is what needs to shine through their headshots, not my photography style. I believe that helping my clients’ succeed is how I achieve my success.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I LOVE LOS ANGELES! Of course, until Covid is under control and we are all safe, I understand that many of the things I am talking about may not be available right now. The first thing I would show a friend is Griffith Observatory, I love that place, the beautiful view of the city skyline and a great experience all around. After that, we would have to walk the Hollywood Walk of Fame and visit The Chinese Theater, I have no shame in being a “tourist” in my city! From there we would go to St Felix Hollywood for dinner and some drinks, it’s one of our favorite spots. I am plant-based, so I would also have to show off some of the amazing raw plant-based restaurants here in the area. SunCafe Organic, Wild Living Food, and Sage Plant-Based Bistro in Old Town Pasadena to mention a few.
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?
Although I have been a successful professional photographer for several decades, it wasn’t until I meant my, soon to be husband, Merrick McCartha, several years ago that I was able to take my career to the next level. It is living proof that when you surround yourself with the right people, there is no limit to your success.
All images are copyrighted by HeadshotsByPeggy.