ElizabethMae
Career Profile Creativity

12 Questions with Amy Smith, Owner and Photographer of Amy Mae Photos

Name: Amy Smith  /  Age: 26  /  Location: Minneapolis, MN  /  Education: BFA in Graphic Design from UMD  /  Current Title: Wedding Photographer at Amy Mae Photos

Tell us a little bit about Amy Mae Photos. How did it get started and why are you passionate about it?  

I developed an interest in photography my senior year of high school. When everyone was getting their photos done, I wanted to learn how to create them.

Since then, until about my sophomore year of college, I practiced on all of my family and friends. Seniors, families, babies/children, couples, still-life, nature; you name it. Anyone who gets started in photography dips their toes in a little bit of everything and then starts discovering what they specialize in. I found that my passion lies within portraits/headshots and couples who are engaged to be married or just wanting to get gussied up and cuddle. I am also finding that I love working with small business owners and creating editorial images!

I started with portraits and still photograph portraits – it’s truly an amazing feeling when I create a portrait of someone that is wholeheartedly them. I take great pride in bringing the beauty from within to their eyes and smile.

Between client sessions, editing and other business–related activities, what does a typical day (or week) look like for you?

If my schedule allows, I like to wake up slowly. I feel that I’m more motivated and productive if I give my body time to adjust for the day. My mornings start with answering emails and if it’s Monday, I plan my week of work – what needs to be done and when. I also try to fit in activities like thrifting, coffee or lunch dates, going to the bookstore!

How has your career changed or evolved since you began photography?

This is moreso on a personal level of evolving but since I started photography, I’ve met so many people in the creative world and in general. I’ve kind of developed into an extrovert. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a *total* INFP but I’m able to engage and carry on a conversation.

In many ways, photography brought out the confidence that I didn’t know I had!

How do you achieve work–life balance in your own life? How do you live intentionally?

If anyone has achieved a total work-life balance, hit me up because I’m still learning! At the beginning of my career, I would say that I was very burnt out. I definitely bit more off than I could chew. I still work quite a bit but I know how much my physical and mental state can handle; only booking 2-3 weddings a month, making sure I am scheduling things that I like to do once or twice a week, not checking emails on my phone or after 5pm and weekends (this has been life-changing)!

Do you have a specific project or accomplishment that you consider your most significant in your career?

It was a few years ago but I created a campaign for my alma mater. One day I was in our school store and noticed that there weren’t any photos of students or the campus. I felt like we didn’t have an identity.

I contacted the store manager to put together a shoot that represents us and our school. I wanted to highlight diversity, school spirit, and community. It was a huge project and amazing opportunity. When I saw the photos displayed in the store, school planners, posters, etc. around campus, I was overwhelmed with joy and pride. It was the first time where I put myself out there (again – major INFP) and I was really proud of what we created.

“In many ways, photography brought out the confidence that I didn’t know I had!”

What tools do you implement into your day to help you stay productive and on–track?

I wish I was an avid user of planners but I am just not. I was at Target one day and found a Priority Planner by Markings and I was like, “fiiiiiinally! This is what I’ve been looking for!”. Because of my slower months/weeks, a dated planner never made sense but with the priority planner, I use it when I need it. It has helped me immensely with keeping on track and staying productive. And it feels *amazing* to cross off the finished tasks!

What advice would you give to those who are struggling to find their passion in life?

  • Experiment with different mediums.
  • Go to art fairs.
  • If you’re from MN, the Art Attack at the Northrup King Building is amazing!
  • Find a local art class.
  • Reach out to an artist that you admire for a personal studio tour.
  • Art or not, be open-minded. Inspiration hits you when you least expect it!

Does creativity come easily to you or is it something you feel you have to work at?

Creativity definitely does not come easily to me and to be honest, I’m glad it doesn’t. And I also don’t want to feel like I have to work at it. I see creativity as something that comes naturally; you can’t force it because otherwise you’ll burn out and become frustrated…I may be speaking from experience.

What is your favorite and least favorite part about being a business owner?

My favorite part about being a business owner is that I have the flexibility to set my own schedule, I have 100% creative say in my work, and I can literally work in my pajamas everyday. My least favorite part is when I start working in the morning, I don’t know when to stop. Which is both great and bad – I get a lot done but I forget to take care of myself.

Book/Podcast/TV recommendations?

I have not read in a very long time because of editing so I listen to a lot of podcasts!

I also watch shows in the background! I really love Escape to the Country – it’s like an unpretentious English House Hunters with the most darling cottages. I dare you to not want to pack your bags and visit/move to a charming english village.

“I take great pride in bringing the beauty from within to their eyes and smile.”

Most played song on your Pandora/Spotify/Apple Music?

Currently 2000’s hip-hop gets me through my binge editing days. My Spotify playlist is called “get shit done,” – that says it all right there. If you want to get a blast from the past, check it out! 😉

If you could have lunch with one woman (living or dead) who would it be and why?

It’d have to be Lana Del Rey. I’ve looked up to her since the beginning and I think she’s an amazing artist!

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