We had the good fortune of connecting with Shelly Anderson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Shelly, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
The process behind starting my own business was based on the fact that I had been working for other wedding photographers for a few years (editing, emailing, designing albums, uploading galleries, associate shooting, marketing, etc.) and had an “ah-ha!” moment that I was running others people’s businesses, and could be running my own instead! I do think that working for a few other people and getting to know the ins and outs of the wedding photography world (especially behind the scenes) has been key to my success. It helped me build not only knowledge, but confidence to go off on my own.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
As a wedding photographer, the goal of my art is to make ever-lasting memories that just so happen to be stunning, beautiful, fun and loving for my couples. What sets me apart would probably be the warmth in my images, as well as the candid rawness. Every couple that works with me say that they fell in love with just how relaxed and easy my photo sessions look. “You made them look so natural and un-posed!” is often what I hear. I’d also say that my life experiences have brought me to where I am in my work. Every place I’ve visited, person I’ve encountered, story I’ve read, they have all played a part in how I view the world through my camera. The road to success wasn’t overnight. I’ve been in business for about 7 or 8 years now, and I STILL think I have so much room for growth. I think the hardest part hasn’t been photography, but learning how to be an actual business owner. The “art” part and clicking a camera is easy. Accounting, marketing, advertising, client management….now THAT is the exhausting part! But it is all worth it!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Well if they were coming to San Diego for a long weekend, I already have my go-to places! I’m a big hiker, and I’ve taken so many clients out to the mountains just east of the city for photo sessions, and I’m always surprised how many locals have never been there! (I’m talking about Mount Laguna, Cuyamaca, Anza Borrego…). I’d take them on a few mile hike around Mt. Laguna, and see the overlook of the desert up there on Sunrise Highway. I’d also take them to some fun restaurants in Little Italy! I love cute cocktail and wine bars, such as Polite Provisions or Carruth Cellars. I also love me a great coffee shop, such as Communal Coffee or Java Earth. There are SO many cute little shops I love to take people to in North Park, as well as in Liberty Station, such as Pigment and Moniker Warehouse! For late night, it’s PB all the way! We might catch a sunset on the roof of El Prez or Waterbar.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are SO many people that have helped me on my journey to where I am today with my business. Viera Photographics was one photographer duo team that I worked for before going off on my own. I also became friends with Paige Nelson who has really helped a lot of San Diego wedding photographers come together and emphasizes community over competition. My finacé Ryan Varga is also a photographer, but has a completely different style and market than myself. I feel that seeing his work has started to shape and evolve my own as well! Chadwick Braithwaite also gets a major shout out for putting together a photography workshop that I’ve been attending for the last 4 years now!
Shelly Anderson Photography