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

Hi Rae, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
My thought process behind starting my own business was the chance to reclaim freedom. The freedom to create in the moment, the freedom to pour passion into my work, the freedom to express myself in such a versatile way while personally achieving creative goals I set for my life. As a mother of 2, I was chained to a daily 9 to 5 job that allowed me to pay my bills, but I found I was not leaving room to create and feed into my passions. I wanted to have a career, which meant my entire daily routine needed to revolve around something that does pay the bills but comes along with that freedom I needed available to feel confident enough to just create. See as a creative soul, your mind never turns off. You are consistently working, you are constantly thinking of something new but this also means you consistently need the freedom to roll with that creative flow; the opportunity to really grab the rawest parts of your own artistic mind with time to plot how you’ll execute on these said ideas. I learned quickly as an entrepreneur you have to be willing to risk everything, yet have the confidence to know you will succeed if you are consistent in the hard work you invest but you have to be accepting that you may fail in the process. It’s all about maintaining a balance; balance in life, with family, friends and the support system you build, networking options and need to make the right business moves. Each part needs to promote productive growth in all areas to ensure that a foundation is being set, in order to maintain the future empire. 

Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?

As a photographer, all that I see and hear on a daily basis from the moment I wake up to when I go to bed at night, influences my next bright idea. I do not only photograph art, or pose for art but I am a creator of the arts. I have always been a “Weird chick” and well, I own that ; being different has always come naturally for me I never seemed to want to stay inside designated lines. This aspect actually adds to the versatility I bring to my photography, my modeling collaborations and the art that I create. The art aspect of my professional life is one of the key components to the cycle that runs the creative wheel that allows me to continue to be creative. You can often find drawings of ideas I want to paint where it can be on canvas or a wall and sometimes even on objects like wood pieces or cattle skulls. I am inspired by whatever my clients passions, hobbies or favorite past times are. Capturing something you think tells a quick story about your client sounds easy, but it’s not. It requires asking personal questions sometimes, it requires research into culture and ethnic backgrounds, complete attention to details. It requires someone who is dedicated with their mind and soul to produce the same passionate creativity that embodies someone’s story; It takes talent, patience, thinking outside the box and a little bit of weird to produce one heck of a storyline, especially when it’s someone else’s. Creating art that is unique is like making new friends, there is a dance between the questions I need to know and the answers to the questions I never asked that you learn during the creation process. Something I have learned over the years is that some will love, admire and be inspired by your work just like your closest friends; and then there are those who could care less, so you take their opinions and critiques with a grain of salt as it holds no value, much like a non-existent friendship. I want the world to know that being a creative mind should be a career because the limit to what one can create is endless. I am humbled by the networking opportunities I have with local Arizona photographers and Models . I am motivated to pursue modeling to continue to learn how versatile I can be not only behind the camera but in front of it. Last and to fully circle this, the first two ( photography and modeling) contribute to and influence the art I put back out into the community, whether in a personal project, a client project or a commercial project. All three are the reason I feel so successful in the business I run.

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?
Some of my local favorite spots around the valley are: If you are in the mood for shopping local Adami Dolls in Mesa is the spot to be, this adorable little boutique is run by Zari who is literally the sweetest woman ever! Not to mention she is a style queen and the clothing she has in her store ranges all the way up to plus size, so women of all shapes and sizes have the chance to rock her awesome brand and killer style. For the coffee lovers out there – Coffee Rush in Gilbert is my favorite spot to set up shop and edit photos sessions, meet with potential clients and to throw in some head phones and draw for hours. They have great coffee in a cool laid back atmosphere and even have a few locations around the valley. For those who love Tacos and Margaritas my local favorite spot for both of those is “Joy Ride Tacos” in Downtown Gilbert. The Prickly Pear margarita is my all time favorite but nothing beats their carne asada and chicken tinga tacos, they are so good! This place is so good that it is often busy so it’s best to check it out earlier in the afternoon if you plan on visiting, especially on Tuesdays, everyone wants tacos! If you are looking for a change of pace from the everyday burger joint and bar food, a great place to check out is “The Revelry in Mesa Riverview”. This place has got it all ; Great food, multiple bars, and lots of entertainment options ( they even have the DeLorean from Back to the Future parked on their property!) Modern round and the Arcade room are just a few of the entertainment features you’ll find along with some great live music! It’s an awesome place to take your kids or friend and family that’s visiting from out of town, oh just want to mention it’s also within walking distance to the home of my favorite baseball team, the Chicago Cubs Spring training stadium. For the Adventure seekers out there, let’s be honest this is Arizona it’s a desert but that does not mean you cannot still explore its hidden beauties. One option is you can hit the Salt River and do some paddle boarding, there is an awesome place called “No Snow Paddle Boards” that is down the road from the entrance off of Power road into the Salt River that offers daily rentals on paddle boards. They are fantastic at helping you to rent, and pack up your vehicle so you can head out quickly to water, but their service is what makes them A++ in my book, always a good experience. If you want to try something different and are looking for a good time and maybe even the chance to see wild horses, then I highly recommend giving this place a try! For those who are more into Kayaking, there is “Redline Kayak Rentals” in Mesa as well, who is just as awesome as “No Snow” but they specialize in kayaks, however offer both kayaks and paddle board rentals.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I was fortunate enough to cross paths with what feels like a soul-sister, Missy White owner of Pure Precious Photography. Missy and I have a long standing history together and in my honest opinion have pushed either other to test our own individual goals. She had asked me to model for her earlier this year (2020) As she wanted to have some different content on her photography page so she asked if I would mind, at first I really thought nothing of it but after she showed a few images that we captured it was as if I literally felt myself come alive just through a few raw unedited images. This year seemed as if I started it off in what was like a creative halt I was just stuck, but Missy simply asking me to be her muse then seeing myself through her lens provided this insider perspective to myself, if felt as if that creative halt had lifted, as if Missy`s confidence in me opened up the floodgates of my creative side. After thinking about what Missy said, I took the dive on hopping into some local model/photographer groups on social networks and began modeling. I quickly found that I had become so busy with chasing after all the things I feared, as if there was nothing that was going to detour the path I needed to continue to explore. I was creating the life I loved and it felt to good, the craving to create and explore these artistic concepts became so fierce but knowing I had full support of a friend, a small business owner and a mother who understood the struggle is still is the best feeling ever and I am honored to have the friendship we have had for so many years. Looking back to our first meeting as kids, to where we both stand today, I’m proud of the massive strides in growth we have made for ourselves. I’m grateful for Missy allowing myself to capture important moments in her life that inspired her to take up photography for herself. I am especially thankful she encouraged me to push for modeling allowing it to be a part of my own career path. I admire her talent, I absolutely adore her for her kind words of encouragement and solid support in all that I do and vise versa. We have given reason and purpose to the phrase “Boss Babes”.

Website: www.byraephotography.com
Instagram: instagram.com/hollywoodraerae ; instagram.com/byraephotography ; instagram.com/llamahustler
Facebook: By Rae Photography ; Llama Hustler Rocks

Image Credits
In Action Photography, Moody Fotographs Photography, Taylor O`Kelley Photography, Joanna Deluna Photography, By Rae Photography, A. Eye Photography

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