From Amateur to Pro: One Photographer’s Journey

Located in South Lake Tahoe, California, Melina Wallisch intended her family blog to be a place to document their lives through photography. Inspired by her photos, friends started asking Melina to shoot family portraits, and that’s when Melina Wallisch Photography was born. In less than a year, Wallisch photographed nine weddings, over 30 families, and a handful of local commercial businesses.

I had a chance to sit down with Wallisch, who was excited to share what’s helped start and her grow her business.

Doing What You Love

Because photography allows Melina to mix two of her loves, art and family, she is naturally passionate about growing and improving about her work. While photography gives Melina time and flexibility to spend time with her kids, who are her top priority, it also gives her a chance to express her artistic side. Melina finds herself constantly thinking about how to improve her craft, ranging from how to frame her next shot to debating which lens to use in different situations.

Finding a Mentor

When first starting her business, Melina was determined to find a mentor and “be a sponge.” She knew that learning from the best would give her the chance to more quickly jump up the learning curve, and grow her talents faster than if she did not have a mentor.

Melina’s mentor is her wedding photographer, who took Melina under her wing, giving her a chance to participate in photo shoots, teaching her new techniques, and even referring new customers to her. Melina is adamant that her mentor helped propel her business, and that any new small business owner should reach out to find a mentor of their own.

Getting the Word Out

For Melina, having a blog has been just as important as her general website to marketing her business. Her blog is why people contact her, and the website is how they do so. By publishing the blog, Melina gives others a sense of her work and style, and potential clients essentially pre-qualify her before reaching out to schedule her time. Facebook also helps Melina share her latest blog posts with friends, which helps her spread the word about her business even further and gain new clients.

About Evelyn Ma

Evelyn Ma is a marketing manager at Intuit.
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