We’re excited to introduce you to the always interesting and insightful Andrea Harborne. We hope you’ll enjoy our conversation with Andrea below.
Andrea, appreciate you joining us today. Can you talk to us about a risk you’ve taken – walk us through the story?
I was always really creative. At school, I absolutely hated Maths + Science, but loved going to my art classes, partly because I had a very motivated and passionate art teacher, but also because I knew I was good at it and it allowed me to switch off and have fun. I knew I wanted to work with people, but we didn’t really have careers counselling ‘in my day’ so I didn’t really know what I wanted to do. Marketing seemed the obvious next step after graduation. I enjoyed my business classes and marketing meant I could dip my toe into the creative world, yet still have a rewarding, well paid job. I remained in the industry in various organizations and roles for the best part of 20 years. I loved every job I had, but it just wasn’t enough. After about 10 years in marketing I realized I loved taking photos. I had always taken my camera out during school trips, on every holiday, and every friends birthday, but I’d spoken to a few photographer friends whilst living in the UK who told me to ‘avoid the industry’ as it was over-saturated, hard to secure continual work, and paid poorly. I just kept doing it as a hobby to fill the need. My husband and I emigrated to Australia where I continued taking photos. I had thousands saved on my hard-drive! It was there that I hustled, wrote dozens of emails / letters and phoned many photographers asking if they needed an unpaid intern. Finally, one Brisbane-based photographer took me under her wing and I shadowed her during all her weddings, couples sessions, and maternity shoots. I’d found my passion. At age 40, I set up my business name, designed a website and got my first paying client. It was euphoric! I remained working full-time at my current role that I adored, but had my part-time business on the side. It was hard work, but worth it. We moved again in 2016, this time to South Florida, USA. The biggest risk I ever took was to not listen to my head; ‘you need to get a good paying job to help with the mortgage’… and decided I would continue with my business, but full-time. I couldn’t work for the first year due to visa restrictions, but I built up my client base, and after 12 months, my marketing skills helped me build up my portfolio and I’m so pleased to say I’m fully-booked most months and loving every minute.
Andrea, before we move on to more of these sorts of questions, can you take some time to bring our readers up to speed on you and what you do?
I was born in the UK, emigrated to Australia for a number of years, and found myself moving again to South Florida in 2016. The industry got me hooked after finding an amazing photographer in Brisbane, QLD who mentored me for almost a year. I followed her to all her photography sessions and learns so much about the business, and also the art of photography. I offer a range of photography collections including families, couples + engagements, maternity, lifestyle + events, and of course, wedding photography. What I know sets me apart from my competitors is my communication. Event whilst on vacation, I will respond to all my potential (and current) clients in a very timely manner – even if it’s to say I have no availability, I will do my best to source an alternative for that individual. My reviews say it all – excellent communication, passionate, and fun! I’m most proud of myself for pushing all the negative feedback I’d received from people who told me photography is an impossible career to enter. Even a small business advisor told me when I arrived in the US that it was ‘virtually impossible’ to work in the photography field in South Florida and encouraged me to apply to larger businesses rather than start my own company.
We’d love to hear a story of resilience from your journey.
‘You may be too old to start a new career’, someone once told me. I was 39 at the time and considering starting my own photography business. ‘Most individuals are at their creative peek between 25 – 35’. The camera doesn’t care how old you are I always used to think. So I did it. At aged 40, I completely pivoted in my career choice and delved into the unknown, competitive, and sometimes dirty world of photography. I came out the other side happier, enriched, and absolutely loving every minute of my job.
Can you tell us about a time you’ve had to pivot?
See above – while a young college graduate might have youth on their side, they lack life experiences. A cliche, I know, but whilst I was often told I was too old to start a new career, I said ‘sod them’. I surrounded myself with creatives and absorbed everything they did. I excelled in my photography class through the ‘Institute of Photography’ in the UK gaining a Distinction. There is no time limit to learning. If I found myself thinking, is this too risky? Should I just stay in the industry I’m in now as I know there’s money, and I know there are jobs, I’d pick up my camera, take a few photos, and the negativity would disappear.
- Website: www.andreaharbornephotography.com
- Instagram: www.instagram.com/andreaharbornephotography
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/andreaharbornephotography
image # 3: Larry Morales Photography