We had the good fortune of connecting with Allie O’Rourke and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Allie, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I started doing photography in high school, and I never thought of it anymore than a hobby at the time. I noticed that some of my classmates liked my portraits though, and a few of them asked me to take their senior photos. That same scenario happened pretty frequently throughout college. Someone saw my photographs, loved them, and wanted something like that for themselves. I didn’t even realize I was creating a business! Slowly that grew into where I am today. When I realized this was a real business, and something I truly loved, the thought process was to start here and always grow. I have always known the ultimate end goal, and it is to be a full artist and true to my talent! Knowing that would take time though, I started off small and have stayed true to my goal of continuing to grow. This year I got to take a step back, due to the pandemic, and revisit my business plan. I’m more excited than I have ever been! It truly feels like I have taken my small business and grown it into something magical.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My art is truly about capturing a feeling and putting that into a lasting memory. Newborns, Weddings, Cake Smashes, all of these events are a moment in time for a family. Each one of them wants to document that part of their life! What I aim to do is capture not only that moment, but how much love they have in that moment. I want them to remember the laughter, or the happiness. I want them to feel how they felt at that time. It’s sometimes hard to explain, but I want families to remember what their kids were like too! Spunky, sassy, shy. I want to capture their personalities and all their raw emotions! Building to this was not in the slightest easy. I have wanted to give up about a million times. It’s hard with art, you never quite know if someone else loves it. I know I loved it, but did they?! Every time I see the validation through a Christmas card, or even a post on instagram though, I feel reeled back in with excitement. There was a small time when that wasn’t happening, and I wasn’t sure what I was going through. I ended up going on a retreat that I had already paid for with some other photographers, and near the end someone said to me “Ok. I love the photos you are taking here but seriously WHAT is happening on your instagram”. It was shocking to me! I knew something was off, but wow. I think that weekend I realized that I needed to stop making photographs of what I think people want, and photograph what I love. That was the moment my art became my art, and not just a picture. I want people to know that my art is here to give you all the happy feels. I want you to look at my photographs and have your heart melt. I want your kids to go wild at a shoot, so when you look back you can hear those loud laughs. I want your wedding day to be filled with intimacy, so when you see the photographs you can feel the love you felt that night. All of it. It’s all so important to me, and I hope my art can give that to as many families as possible!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Arizona is such a cool place to be! We have so many amazing things to do, and so many beautiful places to see. If someone was visiting, the first thing we would do is spend time together probably just at home! One of the best things you can do with people is listen, catch up, ignore the world and connect. One of my closest friends lives across the country. Every time she comes, thats the first thing we do! We buy a bottle of wine, and just talk the night away. Aside from that, there are so many places just outside of the city that are worth seeing. Places like Sedona, Flagstaff, the Grand Canyon! Thats the general tour I would probably take someone on. Near home, I would visit some of my local restaurants, and take them to meet my friends and/or family! We’d sit outside, go swimming, play some games. Good old fashion connection again 🙂
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Oh man! First of all, my husband deserves a lot of recognition. He has been a ROCK through all of my small business struggles! No matter what I throw at him, he is always there and has always been supportive of my crazy ideas. The other day I was struggling with a self portrait, but he quickly jumped in and was my model, camera boy, and everything else I needed. He’s the best! I also have to thank my best friend, Jessica Hengesh! There’s no way ALP would be what it is today without her. She has so much creative talent and is able to style anyone and anything. She is always wanting something to be better and constantly pushing us to be more than we are. She’s pretty amazing. This year has been such a struggle though. I think the only reason I got through it was by the tribe of photographers I was able to meet through courses. They have been this incredible support group! I love that I am a part of a community that is always helping and bringing each other up.
Image of Allie: Ace Fanning Photography