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

Hi Paloma, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
My thought process behind starting my own business was that I no longer want to work for someone else when I have the creativity and ability to be my own boss. I always thought that in order for me to be successful, I had to have that 9-5 job with the 401k but I quickly realized that specific structure wasn’t meant for me. In high school and part of college, I traveled so much, and pretty much my whole life, I was taking pictures of everything and everyone! Even though I started my business before the pandemic, I realized that life is too short to not pursue what I really wanted to do in life. After things started to go back to normal, I really put myself out there to learn and invest in this passion of mine. Soon enough, things started falling into place after all that hard work that I knew I had to do this as a career!

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 a lifestyle and boudoir photographer and my main goal is to provide people with tangible memories that they can look back on years from now and remember the same feeling that they had during those photos! I like to photograph graduates, maternity, portraits, weddings, elopements, ‘just because’ pictures, couples, and small families! Another passion of mine is Boudoir photography! I feel like women are often too hard on themselves so my goal is to make sure that I provide a safe space where they can be themselves, have fun with this journey to self-love, and gain back their confidence! I have been building this business since 2019 and although the journey is rewarding, it comes with its challenges. For a while, it was a very lonely road, so lonely that I almost quit because I was overcome with self-doubt, always comparing myself and feeling like I wasn’t good enough. Through all of that, I persevered. I kept telling myself that this is the journey that everyone else has gone through, that it takes time, and everything happens so I can learn from it. In the beginning, it was a lot of free or inexpensive sessions to help me build my portfolio, it was a lot of dealing with customers that weren’t my ideal client, and putting in so much money! Now, that I look back at all that, I’m just so glad I didn’t give up. Trust me, I am still working on where I truly want to be and I’m still going through it but I’m way more confident than I was before which is all I need. The only reason why I feel remotely close to my goal is that I really had to get out of my comfort zone of spending money, reaching out to people for certain opportunities, and mostly putting my face all over my social media so people can know who I am. Putting myself out there was the most uncomfortable because I have to make cringy videos, I have to post stories, and be very active on social media and that’s not something that I was used to. Over time I just started being my authentic self so I can be relatable and sure enough, that helped! If you’re going to take anything from this story, just know that when you book me or work with me, you’re going to get someone that is going to make you laugh, I like to make sure you’re comfortable around me, I want you to be you around me, I like to create a safe space, and just be chill. You’ll get that best friend with a camera you never knew you needed!

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?
If I had someone coming to visit Arizona for a week, there would be plenty to do around town, I wouldn’t even know where to start! In a perfect world, I would recommend they come during October or February, where the weather is still slightly warm during the day but nice and chilly in the evening, providing the ability to do something all day. I would start with a mini overnight trip to Sedona where we would go on a hike, stay at a nice resort with a beautiful view, explore some local stores and farmers’ markets, and make a couple of stops at local coffee shops. Once we made our way back, I would take them out to Scottsdale to explore the nightlife one evening and downtown Phoenix for another evening. I really love Copper Blues, Cornish Pasty, and Valley Bar in Downtown Pheonix. Of course, we can’t miss a Phoenix Suns game! If I only had a few local food places to choose from, I would recommend going to Culinary Dropout, Cocina Madrigal, Breakfast Bitch, Loco Style Grindz, and any food truck you can find!

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
When it came to shaping who I am as a person, creative, and a business owner, my mom and godmother have been the ones to whom I dedicate this career! If I’m going to shout out anyone else, it would be Jai Long from Melbourne, Australia who is a business coach for other entrepreneurs and photographers such as myself! I first learned of him in the middle of the pandemic when he put together a Wedding Photographer Summit! He had amazing guest speakers from the best in the industry and from that alone I learned so much! I later found out that he has his own podcast where he interviews others in the industry from around the world and teaches us everything that he knows! These podcasts alone were the very thing that I needed to push my business in the right direction! Listening to these episodes provided me with the encouragement needed to get out of my shell more, do things that I would have never even thought of, and be more open to other possibilities. I will be forever grateful for his willingness to provide all this information and more!

Instagram: @palomaruelasphoto

Facebook: Paloma Ruelas Photography

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