Sweet Taste of Freedom: Pinup by Liz

 Pinup by Liz

Instagram & Twitter: @photosbyliz
When did your business launch? 

I have been doing photography professionally under the name Photos by Liz since 2005.  In the beginning I was primarily shooting weddings, seniors, and boudoir photography. As I continued to find my photography style, my long time love of vintage styles and 50's pinup began to show in my work and I eventually decided to go all the way and branch off my pinup photography into it's own separate entity in 2012.

What is your business about? What is it that you do/sell? 
I am a pinup photographer! Under Pinup by Liz, I have photographed a variety of women, from ages 18 to 65, from new brides, to housewives, to business women, to full fledged pinup models. Our specialty is the monthly themed mini session days that we offer.  Along with the ladies on my hair and makeup team, Katie Belle & Bootleg Betty, we transform women into pinups and spend a fun day capturing women on a fun vintage themed set that we create ourselves.  Some of our favorite recent sets have been a Dustbowl era circus, a candy shop theme, and an Irving Klaw reproduction set. We're currently booking an "Attack of the 50 Foot Woman" themed set, that will feature a small city for clients to stand in for their photos.  

What gave your the inspiration or motivation for your business?  

I've always had a love for the past, especially the 50's.  I've also always loved rockabilly music and have always dressed a little different and with a vintage style.  And I've always loved photography. I took dark room classes in high school and even worked in a film lab in the late 90's, and it just grew naturally from there. In the years after starting my photography business in 2005, I often hid my true self from my customers.  Hiding tattoos and removing piercings before meeting with clients, wearing "normal" clothes, and doing what I generally felt it took to appear to look professional in order to find clients.  I loved photography with all my heart, but I was unhappy because I was pretending to be someone else, and I nearly gave up photography altogether. It actually took a conversation with an artist that I met a few years ago that inspired me to just be myself, and do what I love, and that people will love me for being me. 
Do you do this full time/part time?  

Full time. And I consider myself very lucky for that. 

How has your life changed since starting your business? 

I never imagined that so many of the women that I worked with would become such wonderful friends. I'm lucky to have met so many wonderful, powerful, talented women that share many of the same interests that I do, and that are so supportive of me and of each other.
What is the biggest obstacle you have encountered? 
My own fears and inhibitions.  I'm pretty good at freaking myself out.  

What is something you thought was going to be hard, but turned out to be simple, in regards to your business? 
When I changed the direction of my photography business, I was all of a sudden marketing to a whole new clientele.  I was afraid I didn't know how to reach people with the marketing knowledge that I had, but it turned out that the people I wanted to work with were a lot like me, and once I started looking, finding them came pretty easy. 

What has been your biggest success to date?  

In addition to multiple national and even international magazine publications each month, I've had my photos published on 4 pinup magazine covers so far this year.  I'm pretty proud of myself and of my clients for that.

Do you have any big plans/ideas/launches planned for 2015?

We have most of our mini session day themes planned for next year already.  I have a few other big things in mind but I've stayed so busy that I haven't had a lot of time to really work on planning the details.  I intend to take the whole month of December off from shooting so that I can concentrate on the business side of things.

What would you like to share with COAST readers about your company/business?
I do most of my work in Tulsa, OK, but we sometimes travel and are always looking for new places to come do mini session days at!  Contact me if you'd like to set up something in your town! 

Lastly, what is the advice you would give to someone looking to start a company or business similar to yours?
Be patient and take time to learn your craft before you start taking money from people.  I learned and practiced photography for nearly 10 years before I actually jumped ship to start a business, and I'm still constantly working to educate myself and improve on photography techniques and things like lighting and posing.  I've actually received emails from people that say "I bought a nice camera 3 months ago.  What else do I need to do to start my photography business?"  My advice is always the same. Slow down.  Practice and learn.  Take your time.  

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