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Life and Work with Elissa Woog

Today we’d like to introduce you to Elissa Woog.

Elissa, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
Before I found photography, I was an auditor in public accounting. Although I loved the people I worked with, there was nothing creative about my chosen career path and my caring and thoughtful personality had me longing to have a career where I made a difference. My husband is a Firefighter. I used to watch him excitedly get ready for work and that’s when I realized it was possible to love what you do and make a living doing it. With his support, I made the decision to leave my financially stable job, and do some major soul searching to find my purpose. I hadn’t had free time in the six years prior because of my demanding work schedule, so now that I had the time, I went to the library and checked out some photography books so I could figure out how to work my DSLR that I had gotten a few Christmas’s back. I truly believe that everything happens for a reason. Sure enough, after I started teaching myself photography, my path crossed with a few other local photographers. These photographers quickly became mentors and friends. They generously took me under their wing and began teaching me. I assisted portrait sessions for them, shot countless weddings alongside them without pay, I asked questions, I missed shots, I practiced (A LOT), I continued to learn. The more I learned, the better I got, and the more I fell in love with photography. I finally got to the point that I felt confident enough in my skills to start booking my own sessions. Three years later, I’ve photographed numerous weddings and portrait sessions, and most recently, the birth of a baby being brought into the world! I feel so blessed to have found photography and to get to be a part of some of the most important days of people’s lives!

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
Being a creative business owner is HARD. It’s extremely challenging, you’re constantly out of your comfort zone, and can be an extremely lonely journey. All of a sudden, you are in charge of marketing, accounting, customer service, graphic design, building and maintaining a website, photo editing – all while continuing to learn your craft. It’s A LOT of work and my to-do list never ends. My biggest struggles of being a business owner have come as a result of having a very structured corporate background, compared to the freedom that comes with being a business owner. Although this is amazing (and something I love most about my job), it’s challenging to be disciplined and to set boundaries for yourself when you’re used to being expected to work a certain number of hours and have deadlines set for you. I quickly realized that if I want to accomplish something in my business, I’m the only person who is going to make it happen or keep it from happening. That in itself is greatly rewarding and motivating.

Another struggle of having your own business is – let’s be honest – money talk. It’s hard to tell someone they owe you $X or your services are $X. I think it’s important to: 1) know the value of what you’re providing and 2) know your numbers as far as how much providing that service is costing you. Whether it’s your time, equipment, fixed/variable expenses, taxes, etc. Knowing these two things makes you more confident in your pricing to make sure that you’re actually making an income instead of breaking even, having a net loss, or worse – burning out as a photographer.

Please tell us about your work.
I love photographing people! I specialize in weddings, family, engagement, newborn, maternity, and senior portraits. During my sessions, I love capturing “the shot” that you’ll most likely print, frame, and hang on your wall, but I also like to provide my clients with creative or emotional shots. What sets me apart from others is my caring and thoughtful personality and my willingness to go above and beyond for people who come into my life. I realize that the moment that my clients are having a photograph, whether it’s their engagement session, wedding, first baby, etc. that this exact moment is only happening this ONE time in their life and I want to help them hold on to that moment forever. I genuinely care about the people who hire me and whatever they are celebrating at that time in their life, and sincerely feel grateful to be a part of it.

Do you think there are structural or other barriers impeding the emergence of more female leaders?
I think one of the biggest barriers for female leadership is this expectation to be perfect in all areas of our lives. There is this perceived expectation of what we should be doing both professionally with our business (post on social media multiple times a day, write a blog, have X number of followers, get our work published) and personally (work out five times a week, meal plan, raising tiny humans, keep up with laundry, host showers/parties, bake cookies and pack lunches) and it is SO much pressure! Society and social media have taught us that we need to uphold this Pinterest perfect life – in ALL areas of our lives. We, as women are expected to have a successful career, keep a clean house, be a supermom (although I’m not blessed with this role yet), have a flawless marriage, etc., but is it really possible or manageable to do it all or does something have to give? I’m still trying to figure this one out, but until then, I’m just going to keep doing the best that I can as a Wife, Business Owner, Photographer, Daughter, Sister, Friend, and Aunt.

Pricing:

  • Wedding Collections begin at $1,950
  • Portrait Sessions: $350
  • Newborn Sessions: $400

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Personal Branding Photo: Sarah Marie Photography

Getting in touch: VoyageDenver is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

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