Hey friends! Your editor-in-chief here and as part of our LGBTQ+ month, I wanted to introduce you to some of the incredible LGBTQ+ owned business we have met on our journey! Every week we will be introducing you to a few of them and today we wanted to start with Mallory Lane Photography! If you are looking for more LGBTQ+ owned businesses, head to our Vendors Tab and look for (LGBTQ+!) next to their name!
How long have you been together/married: We have been together for 6+ years and will be getting married on October 13th of this year!
Tell us a little about your wedding: We are blessed with a LOT of friends, and the more we tried to plan a wedding that would incorporate everyone we love and be a hell of a party, it just became overwhelming. With the political climate being what it is now, we wanted to get married ASAP, so we decided to elope! We'll be going to a resort in Mexico with two of our best friends, one of whom will be officiating.
What is your business/es: Mallory Lane Photography
How long have you been open: Almost two years now.
Tell us all about it!!!: I'm currently still working a "day job" to pay the bills, and MLP is my side-hustle (is it ok that I actually hate the word hustle? That's a topic for another time, though). I kind of stumbled around for awhile trying to find exactly what I wanted my business to look like, but I think I've finally landed on it. I really feel like my passion is storytelling, in many of its forms. I LIVE for Birth Photography and Fresh 48's, but those can be difficult when you're working a full-time job because of on-call time. I take on a few intimate weddings each year, and I absolutely adore my wedding clients/friends. I always said I would never shoot weddings, but the more I've learned to market towards my type of client, the more they're finding me--and telling their unique love stories seriously gives me all the heart eyes & goosebumps. When I'm not shooting weddings, I'm really loving in-home lifestyle and A Day in the Life types of family sessions.
As an LGBTQ owned business, what is your biggest struggle: I think my biggest struggle was definitely a personal one--how open to be with new or potential clients. It was difficult at first because I wanted everyone to like me (and book me, obviously!). I've learned over time, though, that not everyone is going to like me--and that's ok! I am not the right photographer for everyone, and not everyone is the right client for me. How can I expect my clients to allow me to tell their stories if I'm not being open an honest about my own?
What's your biggest joy: Hands down, seeing the look on a clients' face when they see their images. There are so many times when a client (especially brides or new mothers) will struggle through a session and fuss with their clothes or hair, and when they see how I see them, they believe me finally. They SEE their beauty. They see the way their partner or children look at them with love, and that's seriously the best feeling. (Can you tell I'm totally a crier? haha!)
What has been your favorite product, session, wedding, ect. Oh god, that's hard. I feel like I leave (almost) every session feeling like it's my new favorite. I'd probably have to say that right now, it's the wedding I just shot this past weekend. It was for two friends and was a really boho/natural wedding outdoors on the Bride's family's land just south of Nashville, Tennessee. It was so hot outside (because Fall in Tennessee means nothing), but it was so beautiful!
If you could give advice to someone who wants to start their own business, what would you say: Create before you consume. Keep creating, keep your head down, and learn how to take constructive criticism (and learn when it's not constructive or coming from a place of love and tell those people where they can shove it). It is YOUR business and you can run it how you want. Be kind and authentic and it will come back to you in spades. Know your worth and charge it.
What sets you apart from other businesses in your area: That's really difficult to answer, honestly--we have a really large, active community of incredible photographers in my area. But I think I'd have to say me. I try to be super open and authentic with my clients and I think showing my true personality with my clients is what helps me stand out. Because, hello, there's only one you.
Favorite guilty pleasure: I don't have guilty pleasures. I totally have things that I indulge in, but everyone who knows me knows them and there's no hiding it--dark chocolate and red wine.
What words or phrase do you live by: I'm trying really hard to remind myself every day to create before I consume (social media, others' work, etc.)--thanks for that phrase, Jenna Kutcher! I also try really hard to remember that comparison is the thief of joy--the only thing I should be comparing my work to is my previous work.
Tell us one other business owner that you love and why: I'd have to say Jen Howell of Jen Howell Photography. She is an incredible family photographer, and her posed newborn images are seriously #goals. Plus, she's kind to boot. I really thought I wanted to shoot posed, studio newborn sessions, and she was so helpful when I had questions. However, I quickly realized it wasn't for me--I much prefer lifestyle-type newborn sessions; I'll leave the posing to the pros! (www.jenhowell.com)