We had the good fortune of connecting with Shannon Yen and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Shannon, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking.
Taking risks has played a huge role in how I began my career, and how it helped me grow my business. Throughout my years in college I always knew I wanted to work for myself, but I never knew what that could look like or how to make it a reality. At the time, I was studying Kinesiology in pursuit of a career in Physical Therapy. That’s what all my friends were doing, so heck, I figured that’s what I should be doing too. After college I knew deep in my soul that this path wasn’t right for me – so I jumped ship and dove blindly into the unknown. I quit my comfortable 9-to-5 job working at a doctor’s office, and turned away from the advice from many of my friends and family to stick to the secure and stable path. I had no idea what I wanted to do, only that this risk was necessary in helping me to find out. I’m so grateful I made that decision 10 years ago because it led me to where I am today! By following my heart I was able to discover what I love, what I want to do, and what I am capable of doing. Now I am so proud to say that I am living my dream of owning my own photography business, and am doing what I love every day!
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My art in photography has come such a long way, and I still have so much to learn! I am so proud of how far I have come, and something that continues to excite me is the possibility of what I can continue to learn and how I can continue to grow as an artist and a person. The road to building my business and producing consistency in my work has come with many challenges over the years. We’re talking long nights of never feeling good enough, comparing myself to others, and doubting if what I have to offer would ever be good enough. Remaining open to learning from failures and from every experience, good and bad, has allowed me to find a whole new confidence in myself and in my work. Rather than looking at negative experiences as failures, I started looking at them as opportunities to do better – to learn from. This new mindset allowed me to move towards becoming my best self in all aspects of my life (business + personal). I’m so happy and grateful to finally find myself in a place of feeling fully confident in my art and my craft. My entire photography and life journey has been centered around these core values: remaining humble + open, taking risks, learning from failures and implementing changes, being gentle and kind to myself and others, acting with intention and doing all things with love. I hope that in doing so, it reflects in my photography, my art, and in the positive + uplifting experience that I can give my clients and those who I am so lucky to love.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
I find so much joy in the simple things, so my idea of a good time with my best friend would be going on a nature walk or hike (maybe a trip to Yosemite or a stroll along Great Highway by Ocean Beach), followed by dinner at my or my bff’s favorite hole-in-the-wall restaurant. For a little more excitement, I would sneak in a street fair or something quirky like Corgi-Con! Of course, dessert and treats would find their way into this itinerary at some or multiple points, haha. Smitten Ice Cream is a San Francisco must-have for anyone who hasn’t been! And if we’re up super late, In-N-Out nightcap!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I feel so grateful to have had so much love and support throughout my journey in finding myself and growing my photography business. If it weren’t for the incredible mentors and friends in my life, I couldn’t have come as far as I have. Alex Martinez hired me to assist him in his photography business prior to me branching out on my own, and I owe so much to his friendship and guidance. I also wouldn’t be the person and creative that I am today without the support and love of my husband, Jacob. There are so many incredible workshops that have also showed me the way to being a business woman (Wild & Unwritten, Katie Griffith’s Workshop). I feel so lucky and grateful for all those who have show me and my business support, kindness, and love.
Shannon Yen Photography
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.