We were lucky to catch up with Alima Blackwell recently and have shared our conversation below.
Hi Alima, thanks for joining us today. We’d love to hear about how you got your first non-friend, non-family client. Paint the picture for us so we can feel the same excitement you felt on that day.
Becoming a mom changed everything for me. I was an elementary education teacher for a decade beforehand and absolutely loved my job… but once I became a parent, it was tough figuring out how to juggle parenthood, marriage, and time for myself with the increasing demands of my teaching job. When my son was 3 years old, I made the tough and bittersweet decision to leave my job to stay home with my son and figure out a career that had more flexibility, but still gave me a creative outlet and a chance to work with kids. I did a lot of soul searching and asked friends and family members around me what they could see me doing professionally since all I knew was teaching. Unanimously, everyone encouraged me to follow a little-known secret passion I held for photography.
At the same time, a childhood friend was getting married and wanted me to photograph her small, outdoor wedding. I was terrified, but her persistence and confidence in me and my abilities finally persuaded me to just go for it. I was a sweaty mess by the end of the reception, but so inspired and excited at what I had captured. That creative “high” gave me the push I needed to get my photography business going. I told myself I would give it my all for one year, take as many classes online that I could afford, and see how I felt at the end of that year. I am now coming up on my 6th year in business and am loving every moment of it.
As always, we appreciate you sharing your insights and we’ve got a few more questions for you, but before we get to all of that can you take a minute to introduce yourself and give our readers some of your back background and context?
I am a lifestyle family photographer, with a focus on capturing genuine moments and connections. I try to make my sessions play-based, emotive, positive, and memorable. I want my families to have fun, explore together, and be in the moment with one another.
When people see my photographs, I want them to be able to feel connected to my images in some way: whether that is by making them feel nostalgic about their own childhood, a moment in parenthood that they can relate to, or just to simply make them laugh.
In my family session with younger kids, I encourage families to just let their kids be themselves and embrace who they are in that season of childhood. These moments lend themselves to capturing authentic images that help show a child’s personality. What I love the most about working with kids is that they are unapologetically themselves.
The most important thing to me about being a professional photographer is that I am still meeting my own personal goals: being creative, bringing joy & memories to others and giving people a chance to feel seen and be heard by telling their unique stories.
Let’s talk about resilience next – do you have a story you can share with us?
The most challenging time in my journey as a small business owner is when businesses had to shut down March-May of 2020. I missed creating, connecting with my friends and family and all the families I get to work with. I was devastated and didn’t know what I was going to do if I couldn’t reopen my business. It was an incredibly slow year, but I took that time to focus on my own family, spending time outdoors together, and take creative personal photos. Having a creative outlet really helped me get through the sad and hard days of 2020.
Is there a particular goal or mission driving your creative journey?
I believe hard work, being a lifelong learner, having an ability to connect with others in a meaningful way and being resourceful are all vital elements that play a role in being happy and successful. Nothing has ever come easily for me and I have had to work extremely hard for everything I have pursued in life, but without the challenges and struggles, it just makes me value each small success even more.
- Website: www.ravensnestphotos.com
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/ravensnestphotos
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/ravensnestphotos
Raven’s Nest Photography