Wonder Woman Wednesday
Lady Bosses creating their own path.
Attention my Long Island people, this Wonder Woman is for you! I am super excited to introduce to you one of my very favorite lady bosses! She is talented, creative, smart and beautiful! I have to admit, it’s really intimidating taking photos of another photographer, especially one that is as talented as she is. In fact, she is my go-to photographer for our family portraits (click here and here to see our last two family sessions). I love talking shop and life with her. I’m sure you will love her too once you learn all about her.
Name: Leslie Levine
Business Name: Leslie Renee Photography
Web Site: http://www.lesliereneephotography.com
Phone: (516) 425-2590
Location: I am located in Oceanside, NY, on Long Island and I happily travel all over Long Island and New York City. I currently photograph clients on location, however I will be opening a studio attached to my house very soon and I am so excited for that!
Describe your business in 50 words or less. The goal I have for Leslie Renee Photography is to create natural, breezy and heartfelt portrait photographs that families proudly display in their homes and will adore for years to come.
Why did you start your business? I started this business because, even in my youth, I had a desire to both be my own boss and to create something. Portrait photography allows me both of these things. It’s a lot of work to run a small business but it still allows me the flexibility to be available to my family and pursue additional interests. Plus I get to make really pretty photographs that make people very happy. It makes all the hard work so worth it.
What’s different about you versus your competitors? When clients choose me to make their portraits, they can be sure that I will guide them through the entire process from choosing a location, picking out wardrobe, posing them to give the images that natural feel, all the way through designing the perfect wall art for display in their home. I connect with my client families and each one becomes important to me. They can be sure that I am “all-in” every time.
What can your customers expect from you? Good question. Clients can expect that I am constantly educating myself in the art of photography and will deliver a beautiful product consistent with my style and previous work. They can also expect great customer service and know that I will go above and beyond to exceed their expectations.
What is the most misunderstood part of your business? I think that the biggest misconception about photography businesses in general is that photographers are a one-size-fits-all kind of service. People see my work and want to hire me for all kinds of different photography. Photographers vary greatly in style and personality and clients should take the time to become familiar with a photographer before they actually hire them to make sure they are a goof fit.
What part brings you the most joy? That’s easy! The absolute best part of my job is when a mom, dad or teenager has an emotional reaction to a photograph I made of them. Their joy is my joy and that is what makes me want to do this.
What are the pros and cons of having your own business? Oh gosh, there are so many. Let’s start with the cons. The cons are the fact that when you own your own business, you are pretty much always working. There is always something work related on my mind and I have to work extra hard at being present during family and personal time and not to get distracted by my to-do list. That and all the pressure is on me. I have support from my husband but the responsibility is all mine. Of course the pros make up for this big time. Running a small business means I am in charge which means I make my own schedule and control how much work I take on. This of course allows me to be available to my kids and attend their events, which is so important. The other thing is that it’s so satisfying to create something that people want. The merging of art and business is what I’ve always wanted. And lastly, knowing all that hard work is for myself and not someone else keeps me motivated to keep working hard.
What do you wish you had known before starting a business? This is one of those things where someone can tell you but you don’t really “know” it until it’s your reality. But what I wish I really really knew is how much I had to learn to run a business. Marketing, accounting, business plann, computer programs, and the list goes on and on. I am constantly learning something new to further the business.
What is one piece of advice you can give to any woman starting her own business? My advice to anyone starting their own business is to develop as clear a direction as possible from the get go and work with that focus in mind. Your plan can and will evolve over time, but this will hopefully keep you from getting distracted and loosing sight of your goals.
Any upcoming events or promotions you’d like to share? There is still time to take advantage of my Mother’s Day special. Purchase a portrait session gift certificate and get a free professional bouquet for pick up or delivery with the GC for the perfect presentation of the perfect gift for mom. Also, next month I will be celebrating the opening of my studio so look for a special to roll out then. To stay in the loop, you can sign up for my newsletter here: http://eepurl.com/315fn.
What motivates you? I am motivated by the idea that I can contribute to my household income by creating something beautiful. So I keep working on evolving my photography and I keep working at making my business run smoothly and profitably.
Best time-management tips? Well, I could probably use the tips since this is not my strong suit. However, it does help me to list and schedule. Keeping mindful track of all the tasks that need to be done and when keeps me on top of things.
Where’s your happy place? Ooh, my happy place is the beach in the early morning or late evening. I love cool breezes on my warm skin. I totally relax and playing in the waves makes me giggle like a little girl. And I feel like this is where my kids get that freedom that I had as a kid and that we are to afraid to give to our kids these days. At the beach, kids can explore and make new friends and get dirty.
What’s your guilty pleasure? I have a few guilty pleasures. There is chocolate and wine of course. I would also consider tennis a guilty pleasure because I take time for myself and it’s a bit pricey. Oh and reality tv. I don’t want to love “Real Housewives” of wherever, but I do.
How do you spend your free time (if you have any)? Usually I am reading photography articles or watching YouTube tutorials or hanging out at my kids soccer games. But when I have a stretch of time where I can really tackle something, I love a great craft project, usually sewing or refinishing a piece of furniture.
If you are a mom, have you found a balance between home and family? If so, tell us how! My work/family balance is in a constant state of flux, but I feel like I do a pretty good job. My kids are 9 and 12 and I am at a point where I can really dedicate more time to work and really dig in to push the business forward without worrying about missing out on what my kids are doing. They have lives of their own and need me around a little less. That is the beauty of being your own boss, when they need you more you can be there and when they need you less you can focus that time on yourself or business. It’s all about the ebb and flow.
What’s your all-time favorite book and movie (business or otherwise)? My all-time favorite movie is “Almost Famous” and my favorite book is “On the Road.” They both represent this freedom and adventure that I valued in my youth. I am all caught up in regular life these days but that book and movie remind me of the “live by the seat of your pants” time in my life.
A favorite quote or expression that guides you? I don’t remember where I heard it, but “Worry is a misuse of your imagination” is kind of how I live my life. Of course I worry and stress but I don’t dwell. I either take action or let it go, for the most part.
I want to thank Leslie from the bottom of my heart for the wonderful portraits she has created for me. She is a true talent and inspiration. I am lucky to call her a colleague and a friend.
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