Alright – so today we’ve got the honor of introducing you to Rachel Mostofizadeh. We think you’ll enjoy our conversation, we’ve shared it below.
Hi Rachel, thanks for joining us today. Do you take vacations? Why or why not?
Yes, we take vacations! We love the beach and camping and skiing. My husband is a pilot but sadly, he doesn’t get family flight benefits. A lot of our vacations involve one of us working or visiting our families on the east coast. In 2018, we got to spend the summer in Czechia while my husband worked. The kids and I just relaxed and did a lot of sightseeing while he flew around Europe. When he was with us, we would hop on the train and see as much as we could. We also spend time in California, Washington, and Nevada when I have sessions or weddings to shoot there. We do try to do at least one family vacation per year that doesn’t include work or visiting family. This year we went to Puerto Vallarta and we will likely take our boat to Powell or Roosevelt for a weekend of camping this summer. We also do our best to get up to Flagstaff to ski for at least a few days each winter.
Rachel, love having you share your insights with us. Before we ask you more questions, maybe you can take a moment to introduce yourself to our readers who might have missed our earlier conversations?
I am a family photographer located in East Mesa. I earned a BA in Studio Arts from the University of Arizona in 2000 and opened my business about 10 years later in Nevada. My family and I moved to the valley in 2018 in order to make my husband’s commute easier.
My business is focused on families; from maternity & babies to the yearly holiday card to graduation portraits. I do some wedding photography for established clients, but not as much as I used to.
My style is very lighthearted and I really try to make sure my clients know that a relaxed, comfortable, and happy family makes much better photos than a stressed-out, rushed family wearing clothes they don’t like! I really aim to take real, genuine photos of families and so I do not offer things like a client closet or hair & makeup. I am proud that my brand is very reflective of the person that I am; happy, warm, natural, bold, and real.
Around the time that I moved my business here to Arizona, one of my daughter’s friend’s mom told me that she doesn’t do family photos because her child with autism (and ADHD with anxiety) makes the situation too stressful for her. It was at that point that I started to put myself out there to the special needs community to let parents know that I welcome families that have this kind of struggle. I have a daughter with special needs and I understand that the dynamics of these families don’t always allow for a standard photography session. I approach my clients on a very individualized basis and I work with families to make sure they are going to have a positive experience. In the last two years, I have worked to become accredited by Special Kids Photography of America and Autism Certified through IBCCES.
Regarding my work, I am most proud that I have been able to maintain my clients through the years. I travel to Nevada a few times a year and I love seeing people every year for their yearly photo session with me. I have been able to watch so many families grow and change and it has been a really amazing experience for me. I have a few clients that I have been photographing for 10+ years. It is really cool to do newborn photos for people that I took photos of when they were teenagers or to do a wedding for someone whose family photos I have been doing for years. Recently I photographed a girl for her Master’s program graduation but I remember photographing her as a sweet 12-year-old for the first time all those years ago. I have several families here in Arizona that I get to see once or twice a year for photos as well and I just love watching the kiddos grow and being able to document their awesome little personalities. A lot of my clients become friends and I am really proud of that.
Can you tell us about what’s worked well for you in terms of growing your clientele?
My strategy for growing my business started out very organically and I think it remains largely so today. In recent years I have added new strategies to the core of how I’ve grown my business, but the most effective development of my clientele has been through word of mouth. As a mom and an active person in my community, I have been able to get my brand out there through sponsorships and donations and just chatting with other moms. I have always asked my families to leave reviews for me on Google, Yelp, and Facebook and that has worked out. In addition, thankfully they have often been really great at telling their friends and family members about my work. I am so grateful for my wonderful clients and how they have really been the reason that Rachel Elizabeth Photography has grown over the years.
How did you build your audience on social media?
Social media is huge for photographers. It is tough to keep up with all of it and all of the constant changes and morphing of how we are “supposed” to do things. I think I do things a little differently from how I see other photographers do things on social media. I don’t want or intend to go viral with anything and I really just use it as a way to keep my clients informed and to keep Rachel Elizabeth Photography on their minds. My posts are always actual clients (as opposed to models or styled shoots) or my own family and as a result, my following is probably a bit lower than others in my field. I am totally okay with that though, because the only followers that I need are current, former, or potential clients. Although social media experts are probably rolling their eyes at me right now, this is what has worked for me. I try not to spend more time than is needed on social media but recently I have been working to figure out reels. They are so fun…and frustrating… but I have been getting better at it!
- Website: www.rachelelizphoto.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/rachelelizphoto/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/rachelelizabethphoto/
- Twitter: @rachelelizphoto
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/rachel-elizabeth-photography-mesa-3
Rachel Elizabeth Photography, LLC