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    for the second post in my new entrepreneur q&a series, I turned to natalie beasley, an incredibly talented (and all-around awesome!) young photographer who founded natalie elyse photography while she was still in college. when I first started planning this blog series, I had a short list in my mind of smart, driven, and inspiring business owners who I thought would be great q&a subjects - and you can bet natalie was right at the top of that list (along with my fashion designer sister, of course!). natalie photographed my husband and me around the time of our first anniversary, and the pictures are ones I will cherish forever (I've included one of my favorites in the post).

    share with us a brief background of natalie elyse photography. have you always had an interest in photography? when and how did you decide to start your own photography business?
    it actually all started when I was just a kid on a family vacation to colorado. my dad bought me a kodak disposable camera for the trip, and I went through the film so quickly that he had to buy me several more to finish out our time there. at one point during the trip, I was photographing a bird, and I honestly remember thinking "this is what I want to do forever; I want to take pictures." so I did just that. from then on, I always asked for cameras on my birthdays, and I set out to document all that I could. natalie elyse photography wasn't born until many years later during my sophomore year in college, though. it was then that people began offering to pay me to photograph their families or sorority formals, and it began to dawn on me that I could turn my passion into my career.
    what was the first thing you did after making the decision to start a business? how did you go about finding your first few clients?
    the first task I undertook was setting up a facebook page for my business to get the word out that I was starting this new venture. my first few clients were simply family friends or people who I could convince to let me photograph them. but once I started posting those first few photoshoots to the facebook page (and the natalie elyse photography website / blog I set up shortly after), people began to see my work and refer me to their friends, leading me to new clients. now most of my clients actually just find me through google! (as much as it stinks, I promise SEO is important for your business haha). and that's so fun since it means I am constantly meeting new people and making new friends with clients.

    like most businesses these days, we rely heavily on social media to promote our products and brand. do you have any tips or tricks for getting great social media shots? do you approach photography used on your social media sites any differently than you approach the pictures you take for a client?
    my number one tip for social media photos is consistency! consistency gives clients an idea of what kind of photos they can expect to see from you, especially on instagram. so make sure your photos really resonate with the "feel" of your brand and never stray from that. (and picking some photo filters to use consistently can do wonders for creating cohesion among your instagram photos - my personal favorite editing app is VSCO!)

    what advice can you share with other young or would-be entrepreneurs? is there anything specific you wish you had known before starting your business?
    be open to following the natural course that your business takes, and see where it leads you! don't be afraid of new adventures that might come your way that weren't originally a part of your business plan. if you had asked me 5 years ago what area of photography I thought I'd be in now, I would have told you commercial / fashion photography. but, after I photographed my first wedding, I realized how passionate I am about wedding photography, and that's the path natalie elyse photography has been on ever since! and I wouldn't change it for the world. being able to document the story of the day a couple commits to love one another for the rest of their lives just gets me giddy. what can I say? I love love!
    1. best location you've ever photographed:
    Iceland! my husband and I went there for our honeymoon, and it was truly a dream to photograph. fingers crossed that I get to photograph a destination wedding there someday!
    2. in ten years, natalie elyse photography will...be photographing more destination weddings!
    3. favorite animal: sloth. hands down. I have a life goal of getting to hold one.
    4. candy corn, candy apple, or pumpkin spice latte: candy apple.
    5. life motto: "and whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." Colossians 3:17

    all photos courtesy natalie elyse photography.