We had the good fortune of connecting with Haley Zazueta and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Haley, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
As long as I can remember, I’ve loved capturing moments through photography. Whether it was a fun creative shoot with friends or celebrating a special occasion, I was known to have some sort of camera on me at all times. As I got older, I watched others turn their similar love into a business. I was in awe of their talents and their way of becoming successful doing something they seemed to love. I kept telling myself things like, “You’ll never be as talented as them.” “There’s too many photographers out there, why would they hire me over someone else?” I was scared to begin and ultimately scared to fail. I did photography on the side for friends and family for years after I graduated college. Slowly becoming more confident, and more excited about what I was creating. In 2019, I decided it was time. Time to go after what I loved, time to put myself and my skills out there, knowing I would surely fail along the way. But in those failures, I’ve been able to learn valuable lessons and further grow my skills and my business. I still have a long was to go from where I’d like to be as a photographer, but it’s so rewarding to look back and see how far I’ve come. While I still face my fair share of challenges, having the courage to be a beginner was the hardest part.

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.
As long as I can remember, I’ve always been obsessed with photography. To me, photography is actual magic in the way that it can freeze a moment in time, allowing you to look back on or share that moment whenever you choose. Growing up, I brought my camera everywhere and found so much creative fulfillment in the way it allowed me to capture and document my life. As I got older and social media became more prevalent, I was so inspired by others unique edits and the way they were using the camera to create art. I wanted to create my own art and have other be moved by what I’d created. I wanted people to be able to see a photo I’d captured and immediately know it was my work. I also found so my joy in capturing special moments for others and felt such fulfillment in sharing images with others. I dreamed of having my own business, but I had no idea where to begin. I swapped my point and shoot camera for a DSLR and started Googling away. Although the internet taught me a lot, experience and practice was my greatest teacher. I offered free and discounted shoots to whoever I could and slowly but surely taught myself the ins and outs of photography. I’m proud to say that I quit my previous job and I’m now taking pictures full-time, another move that took a leap of faith. There’s still so much to learn, which is part of what I love about it. My style is always evolving and I’m faced with new challenges constantly. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Growing up in Mesa, I’ve always been a die hard Arizona fan, especially when it comes to it’s downtown areas. Our best friends live out of state and try to visit every spring, so we try to cover as much ground as possible when they’re here. I always push them to come in March for the smell of the orange blossoms alone! We’d spend a day in Downtown Mesa walking around the little shops and eating…and eating some more! Some of my favorites eats are the cripsy chicken sandwich from Worth Takeaway, the salami pizza from Myke’s, and the turkey delight from Main Street Sweets (with a lemon bar to go!). No night out would be complete without a stop at Novel Ice Cream — I’ve never had a flavor I didn’t like! Mango’s, Taco’s Chiwas and Gus’s are also worth stopping by. The next day we’d take the lightrail to Tempe and pop in for breakfast at Daily Jam, then hit up A Mountain for a hike or Tempe Town Lake for a bike ride. And don’t under estimate a walk around ASU’s campus — makes for some great photo spots! In the evening, a show at Gammage and dinner at Postino’s would be a perfect way to end the night. We also love spending a day tubing or paddle boarding down the Salt River. Mornings on the river are so beautiful and we love to keep an eye out for wild horses. Jalapeño Bucks for lunch afterwards would be a must. A night out in Downtown Phoenix is also a must. We love Welcome Diner and Cornish Pasty, and is a visit to Phoenix complete without watching the Suns play? I don’t think so! And to finish the week off, we’d spend a day in Scottsdale. Starting with breakfast at the Canal Club at the Scott Resort. The food and aesthetic there cannot be beat. Then we’d pop into Scottsdale Fashion Square for some shopping and then lunch at Diego Pops — please try the brussell sprout nachos! In the evening we’d head over to Arcadia for pizza and gelato at La Grande Orange. Some Valley honorable mentions if we had time would be Goldfield Ghost Town, chicken + waffles at Joe’s Farm Grill, the Hale Theater in Downtown Gilbert, and a walk around Papago Park!

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
No one has encouraged me to chase my photographer dreams quite like my husband Juan has.

From day one, he’s always cheered me on in all my creative endeavors. He sees what brings me joy and pushes me to seek out those things more often. After years of wishing I could be a photographer, he’s the one that nudged me to quit talking and start doing. And for that I’m forever grateful!

Website: www.haleyzazuetaphoto.com

Instagram: @haleyzazphoto

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