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

Hi Olivia, how do you think about risk?
I certainly think risk is why I am living a happy life today. I grew up with the mindset of go to school, get a good paying job, and live a safe comfortable life. So that’s what I did. I went to nursing school, eventually became an Assistant Nurse Manager in a local hospital, and made good enough money to buy myself a house at 22. After many years of doing that, the stress and emotional toll of the job was bleeding into my personal life. When I could no longer be the happy, present mom to my son, that is when I knew I needed a change. I made the decision to start my own photography business. I took a huge risk; breaking out of the molds that were instilled in me growing up. I knew nothing about owning a small business and was self taught in photography. 3 years later, I have a fully booked schedule, am not far off from making what I was making as a nurse, and have grown so much as a person. Taking that risk has shown me how outgoing, persevering, and ambitious I am- all things I never thought of myself as.

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.
I am an intimate wedding and elopement photographer from Western Massachusetts. While I do a lot of work in the New England area, I have traveled from coast to coast to capture love stories. Being a photographer is an incredibly humbling job. To be able to see people in their most vulnerable, emotional states and memorialize those feelings on some of the greatest moments or days of their lives is never something I take for granted. My ultimate goal is to capture feelings more than moments. My goal is always for my couples to not remember what happened in the moments of the photos, rather relive the feelings they felt during that time. I think one of the biggest things that attract clients to me is the sense of comfort they feel with me. While I pride myself in running a professional business, I am also over the top, ridiculous, and love to make people laugh. I want my couples to feel a friendship with me rather than simply being the person sticking a camera in their face. I am their planner, hype man, shoulder to cry on, dance partner- I want to be anything and everything to my couples.

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?
My love language is food and drinks for sure! Anytime someone is visiting me, that is my go to thing to do. My town has a super good restaurant called Center Square Grill. Their Brussel and bacon pizza is the only thing I will ever need in this life. Frontera Grill is fun because 1. margaritas (enough said) and 2. they have a mariachi band that plays once a week so adds a fun, authentic touch to the Mexican experience. Aside from that, Northampton, MA is a gorgeous town with lots of shopping and interesting people. There are beautiful spots to hike out that way as well. One of my favorite spots to visit with my son is the Dr. Seuss museum in Springfield, MA!

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?
I preach every day that starting a business is impossible without “your people” on your side. Even now that my business is more established, there are so many people that allow me to continue to do this every day. The number one person, by far, is my husband. He was immediately on board with me doing whatever I needed to do to be happier. He has and continues to go above and beyond to see me succeed. From helping me financially invest in starting my own business to essentially being a single parent every weekend while I am traveling or photographing weddings, he was supportive every step of the way.

Secondly, the photographer gang I have surrounded myself by have been some of the most uplifting, knowledge, and generous group of people I have ever met. Shout out to Jamie from Jamie Desi Media and Emilie from Emilie Faith Photo! From sharing tips and tricks, helping me learn work/life balance, to talking me off the ledge from a photo-related meltdown, I would have given up if it weren’t for them.

Finally, one of the biggest things I have learned from starting a business is you cannot do it all yourself. DELEGATE! I knew I needed to level up my website and branding so that I could book less for more and couldn’t do that with my DIY website and logo. Alli at Trio Creative Studios crawled inside my brain and pulled out every single thing I could have wanted from a website and logo. My brand has become “recognizable”; people have told me that they saw something and it gave them “Pine and Birch vibes”. I truly believe this is all because Alli helped me solidify a cohesive look and feeling to my business that is memorable to people.

Website: https://pineandbirchphoto.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/pineandbirchphotography/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pineandbirchphotography

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutArizona is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.