We had the good fortune of connecting with Rana Tierney and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Rana, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
Work life balance was truly nonexistent when I started dabbling into photography. I was 29, single and had no one to be responsible for except for me. I worked both a corporate job and took on as many photo sessions as possible on the weekends! My goal was to quit the corporate world and pursue a passion that (I hoped!!) would later turn into a career! After 3 years of hustle, I was finally able to save up 6 months salary, put in my 2 weeks and say siyonara the corporate world! Woo hoo! I continued to work ridiculous hours and push myself beyond my limit, while also being in a relationship (with my now hubby). It’s only after the birth of my children that I began using that word everyone is afraid of… NO. Oh my gosh and what a powerful word it is! I learned my value, invested the time in my family, changed my perspective of what I thought “success” was and started to be intentional about where I was putting my efforts. I said NO to weekend work, NO to working weddings anymore (even though at one time I truly loved them… I was just in a different chapter of my life) and started saying YES to myself. YES to ME time, YES to shutting off once the kids were home from school, YES to taking time off when I wanted the time off…. It was all truly life changing. So to answer your question….. The balance is key; it’s needed to stay sane. We all live to work. We never stop and think, “Wow one day I’ll be 90… or I’ll be dead what do I want my life to look like?” I actually think of this a lot (I know, totally morbid!). But I want my life to matter. I want the moments to matter. I’m working because I love what I do. But at the end of the day, my family is the most important. The moments are the most important. And in order to get to this place, have balance between work and life is so important.
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.
Being a photographer in a sea of photographers is definitely overwhelming. Constantly comparing, wondering if you are charging too much or not enough, hustling to stay relevant. These were definitely the issues I faced a few years into my business. I had to step back and realize that, yes there are photographers everywhere. But they aren’t me. My clients get me, the full experience, the feeling of confidence when they leave my studio and a reminder that they are beautiful in every single way. For 10 years I focused on weddings (with portraits here and there). Once the kiddos came along, I realized that it was time to pivot to something that allowed to work M-F only. And that’s where my shift to strictly portraits came from. I focus on women. Mainly high school senior girls (and guys), women’s branding portraits and family portraits. My brand is all about being yourself. Letting the world see who you are. So many times I’ve had drop dead gorgeous girls walk into my studio feeling defeated. You look at them and would never think they dealt with bullying or self confidence issues. I get to hear their stories and spend a day reminding them how amazing they are.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Ahhhh Love this question! We would spend all of our dinners in the downtown St. Pete area. It’s by far my favorite place. St. Pete is such a beautiful, walkable city. Just park, rent a bike or stroll through the downtown. Stop in at Cassis for some delicious french american food, or Bella Brava for some hearty Italian. Want the best gelato – then Pacuigo is a dream ( love love the pistachio gelato!). From the saturday morning market to concerts at the park (of course pre-covid), it’s a place that’s perfect for singles, couples and families. And of COURSE I would take them to the best beaches in Florida. From Siesta Key to St. Pete beach and the Clearwater Pier. Remember it’s pretty much amazing most of the year (p.s. It’s 83 outside now… and it’s Jan 26th). Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
The friends and family who have encouraged me along the way are too many to count. That’s how truly blessed I am. Their love, encouragement and guidance is why I’m here now. But…if I had to name one person, it would be my husband Danny. I think everyday how in the world did I get so lucky to meet him. 4 months into dating her encouraged me to quit my job. It was on my radar for that year, but to have someone else believe so much in me, it definitely solidified my choice!
I took all these photos EXCEPT the horizontal photo of me and my family. That was taken by Samantha Hayn Photography