We were lucky to catch up with Chantel Miller recently and have shared our conversation below.
Chantel, thanks for taking the time to share your stories with us today. Have you been able to earn a full-time living from your creative work? If so, can you walk us through your journey and how you made it happen? Was it like that from day one? If not, what were some of the major steps and milestones and do you think you could have sped up the process somehow knowing what you know now?
4 years ago, if I was told I was going to be a Fulltime professional photographer, I wouldn’t have believed it. What started as a dream became a reality, but it wasn’t easy. Not only was I discovering who I was as an artist; I also had to learn and grow as a small business owner; by providing exceptional service, building and maintaining relationships with Clientele and networking within my community.
Great, appreciate you sharing that with us. Before we ask you to share more of your insights, can you take a moment to introduce yourself and how you got to where you are today to our readers
My journey began when my son was born 10 years ago. Prior to his birth, I had only picked up a camera occasionally while on vacation. However, following my son’s birth I found myself with a camera in my hand’s at a moments notice. I was completely enamored but how beautiful he was; his little nose, toes, fingers; the little smirks and his milk-drunk grins. Every moment with him I felt I had to capture and this imminent feeling of fleeting time that I had to freeze in its tracks. My Husband bought me my first real camera, a Canon; and that very purchase catapulted me into a career I never dreamed could have happened.
Two short years after my son was born, my daughter came into this World; and with her birth I was photographing more than ever. I began as most photographers do; as a hobbyist and self-taught. It wasn’t until friends and friends of family began reaching out to me to photograph their babies and children that I had a talent I didn’t quite see myself, but others surely saw it in me. As years passed my hobby became much more of a passion and I dreamed big dreams that one day I could become a professional photographer.
In the midst of igniting this passion, I was juggling a 15 year career as a Veterinary Technician while raising two young children. I was at a point in my life where I felt I needed a change, to follow my dreams and take a leap of faith.
I retired from my Veterinary Technician career and took an entire year to learn every possible thing I could learn about professional photography and opening up a business. I participated in workshops, seminars and was trained by some of the nation’s very best newborn and family photographers.
I officially opened up Chantel Miller Photography in the fall of 2018. Opening my small business has been the most incredible, yet challenging journey of my life , and every day and every opportunity I have to pick up my camera is a great one!
We’d love to hear about how you keep in touch with clients.
Know your Clients; not just by their name or by their face, but connect with them. Find out their favorite type of music, movies, food, ANYTHING that can build a relationship outside of transactional. My Clients love to connect with me; while shooting sessions we chit chat about the most random topics and they feel so relaxed with me; and that is my goal – feel comfortable with me and trust in me.
The experience I share with my Client’s reflects in my work and their final images. Client’s not only boast about the work they have received by me, but the time spent and shared! Experience is everything, a person will never forget how you made them feel.
We’d love to hear the story of how you built up your social media audience?
My work is most known for baby photography; newborn and cake smash . Babies are super cute and everyone wants to show their baby off! When Client’s post their images on social media I ask if they can tag my business page or my website; by doing this my name and my work is seen by so many more people and shared as well.
I like to post and share my work daily and engage with comments and reactions. People love to be heard and recognized; so taking time to reply to a comment creates an opportunity to build and grow relationships.
Recently my Clientele have been photographing behind the scene shots of myself working with their newborn or their baby. My social media followers seem to really love these moments shared; because these images reflect my kindness, gentleness and passion for my work. When people notice you love what you do; they know they can trust in You.
- Website: www.chantelmillerphotography.com
- Instagram: @chantelmillerphotography
- Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/chantelmillerphotography/
All images by @chantelmillerphotography