Small Business Saturday, featuring A N N E S C H M I D T P H O T O G R A P H Y
Coming off our very first Katy Moms Network Guide to Katy Photographers, it’s only natural that our Small Business Saturday focuses on one of those talented photographers! And this is one who is passionate about meeting new families in the Katy community to capture beautiful memories for. That woman is Anne Schmidt, the creative, talented mama behind Anne Schmidt Photography.
Anne has spent the past fifteen years crafting her photography journey, and has had the pleasure of documenting some amazing moments in peoples’ lives. She began her education in photography in the dark room, shooting and developing her own film, something she still incorporates into her work ’til this day. Over the years she’s had the privilege of seeing her images printed in various industry magazines and news outlets and worked with countless beautiful families.
If you want a photographer who’s literally done it all, that’s Anne- from weddings, to births, to newborns, to families, to food and everything in between. Anne brings to her craft a depth of experience in documenting the beauty and love that people share with one another, and the personality and passion behind everyone that she photographs.
Her portfolio is as expansive and big as her talent and we are so thrilled to give some more spotlight to this business. We chatted with Anne about her love for photography, her journey to making her passion a true business, and how she balances it all with her joy of being a mama. Read our interview with her below!
Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in Katy?
I was born and raised in Maine and lived there all my life until moving to Katy four years ago.
How long have you been a photographer and have you always had an eye for it?
I picked up a camera a little later in life than those people that say they’ve been a photographer since they were a kid. I was nineteen when I took my first photo class. It was a black and white film darkroom class. After that I was hooked. I then spent time as a hobbyist in college, and worked as photojournalist for my college newspaper. After grad school I started accepting paying jobs and ran a part time wedding and portrait business for a few years until I took that business full-time in 2012. That lasted for a few years, but since moving to Texas, and then having my second daughter here, the business has transitioned back to part-time.
So the long and short of it is that I’ve been developing my craft for over fifteen years. I do think I had an eye for it right away, but I have worked extremely hard over the years to fine tune my skills. You can never stop learning your craft.
Tell us about your photography business and when you decided to pursue it outside of just being a passion?
Honestly, I don’t know what made me pursue it as a job. I just knew I was good at it! My photography business has always been about telling peoples’ stories and capturing honest personality through images. I want people to understand how important their family history is and to be able to have something to pass down to the generations that come after them.
What did you do before opening this business?
I went to graduate school for Higher Education Administration, so for six years while I was shooting part time I worked full time at a few different colleges back home in Maine in the area of student services.
Have you always been entrepreneurial minded and creative?
I have never really been comfortable with that term “entrepreneur.” This day and age, it has an implication of someone who works 80 hours a week and never sees their family. I have never wanted that. But I have always been willing to take a little bit of a risk with my careers and life. I like a challenge from time to time, and starting my photography business all those years ago seemed like a challenge that I just wanted to try, even if I failed at it. Growing up, I never thought I was creative at all. And honestly, I still don’t see a lot of what I do as that creative. I’m just really good at paying attention to what’s going on around me and seeing things through my camera. There is so much about being a photographer that has nothing to do with creativity. It’s about being present.
You photograph it all! Where would you say you shine and specialize?
I feel like I really have! Although, I never really got into pet photography. Wasn’t my thing. Haha! At this phase of my life I mostly focus on birth sessions and family portraits, with an occasional wedding thrown in there. I’ll never escape weddings! HA! They are a beast, but really rewarding.
What makes you unique in the competitive photography industry?
The average photographer will be out of business in five years. That’s according to the PPA and labor statistics. So I feel like I have beaten the odds already, and that is something that I’m really proud of. I have a lot of experience in my craft and that is something that not a lot of photographers can say in this very crowded market. The barrier to entry is so low with cameras being so good, but I feel like my training all those years ago before digital really honed my skills to what they are today so that I can give my clients a really polished product. I also have a style is very timeless and I pay attention to things like light and composition, and use them to give my images that extra pop. This attention to detail and being able to look at your photos and not say, “Oh, that was so 2018” is something that sets me apart. I’m not here for trends. I’m creating images that will stand the test of time.
Favorite thing about capturing moments with a camera?
The camera doesn’t lie. It is a recording of history and that is something that I love and take very seriously.
You’re also a mama yourself, how has being a mother shaped you as a business owner and photographer?
When you are a parent you can’t spend time on things that don’t matter. I think that same philosophy can be applied to running a business. At this point, since I’ve been doing this for so many years, I have learned that you can easily get bogged down in junk that doesn’t matter.
How has the Katy area community had an impact on your business?
Honestly, I still feel like I am very new to the community so I am very much looking forward to meeting more families who have an appreciation for high quality photography and want someone to document important moments in their life.
What’s one thing you’d like to go back and tell the you before you were a business owner?
Be patient. Things will happen when they are meant to.
What other local or nationally recognized photographers inspire you?
Annie Leibovitz will always be one of my favorites. Her work evolves over time and I love watching that growth. I love the work of street photographers of the early 20th century like Margaret Bourke-White and Vivian Maier.
Advice for anyone wanting to start their own business?
This is really hard, truly, because I don’t feel like I should be giving people business advice. I’m a one woman show. But…I would say that if it’s something you truly want to do, start out slowly. Don’t think you have to quit your job right away. There is something to be said for a steady paycheck!
When things get hard, what’s one thing you tell yourself to keep going when running a business?
That this is a marathon and not a sprint.
How do you balance everything that comes along with owning your own business?
I don’t believe balance exists, nor should it be the goal. Sometimes things take precedent over the business or visa versa. Alain de Botton said, “there is no such thing as work-life balance. Everything worth fighting for unbalances your life.”
Who inspires you most in business? Is it a person, a book you turn to?
My husband. My friends who are also running businesses of their own. I enjoy seeing other people that I care about succeed at what they are great at.
Future plans for your business?
At this point the plan is just to grow, to get my name out into the community, and to work with families who truly appreciate what I do.
Any special, sales, or deals our Katy Moms can look out for?
I have fall mini sessions coming up later this month! October 19th and 21st. These are short sessions in the evening, outdoors before sunset, and are a great way for new clients to get to know me if you don’t want to book a full session right away. The cost for the session is $300 and includes 15-20 edited digital images.
For more information on Anne and her business visit her website!