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

Hi Sherry, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I started seriously taking photos after receiving my first DSLR camera as a gift from my Dad and my husband. My main subjects were my kids! They were serious competition dancers at the time and they were my favorite subjects. One of the first things that I did was take a class to learn about my camera. I wanted to learn how it worked, what the different settings would do and how to take photographs in different lighting conditions. I challenged myself to learn how to take photos of my girls performing on stage as well as how to take portraits. I continued to take classes to learn as much as I could.

I began sharing my images on my personal social media pages and my friends started asking me to photograph their kids. My main photography teacher was very supportive of my work and encouraged me to charge for my time and my images. She taught me that I needed to value my time and my work.

I have a business background and am a retired CPA so I knew that I could navigate the business side of running a photography business. I started researching the legal and tax requirements, created a website and Facebook page, ordered some business cards and I was off and running! Most of my clients my first year in business were friends and family and their support was invaluable.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I have an accounting degree from Arizona State University and worked as a CPA for a large public accounting firm for several years after graduation. I retired from accounting to raise our two daughters while I did a significant amount of volunteer work including founding and managing a not-for-profit organization for our neighborhood schools in California.

In 2014, I started my photography business in Orange County, CA as a sole proprietorship – using my business background to tackle the legal, financial and tax side of operating a business. I focus on portraits of high school seniors, families and tweens. I also enjoy photographing dancers and sports – I love the challenging of capturing moving subjects! The benefit of being my own boss is that I can control when I work and where although it does mean that I have to work hard at marketing myself and my skills.

In 2019, my husband and I relocated to Chandler, Arizona. Moving was challenging for me professionally since I had to essentially re-start my business from stratch. Just as I was beginning to rebuild my client base, the Covid19 pandemic hit. Covid19 meant that I had to take time off from working with clients until I could determine how to safely photograph people during a worldwide pandemic. It was a challening time but at the same time it was exciting because my family and I began to explore the beautiful state of Arizona. We were visiting locations within driving distance and I really started to love landscape photography. There are so many amazing places to photograph here in Arizona!

Last fall, I began working with clients again. Since I photograph on location in outdoor locations, it was fairly safe to work with clients outside. I have enjoyed meeting many new clients over the past year as I continue to grow my business. One of the most important factors to me in working with clients is to provide them with great service as well as great images. I don’t over-book myself, use other photographers or out-source my editing. When a client books with me, they are assured that they will work with me throughout the entire process.

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?
One of my favorite places in Arizona is the Tempe campus of Arizona State University. ASU is what brought me to Arizona in the first place and I love the energy and excitement of campus. When friends come to visit, I love to take them on a tour of campus and to an ASU athletic event if possible. I also love to introduce my friends and family to some of my favorite places to eat in Tempe like The Chuckbox!

After a tour of ASU and Tempe, I would jump in the car and head north on I-17 to the town of Sedona. The scenery there is incredible and I love the vibe of the town of Sedona. I’d bring my camera with me of course!

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Mary Gulino of My Artist Loft. Mary was my first photography teacher and I learned so much from her. She was encouraging from the beginning and I wouldn’t have had the confidence to start my business without her support and guidance.

Kevin Brooks, my husband. He has stood behind me from the very beginning, even when I think he thought I was a little crazy. He listens to my chatter about marketing ideas. He reviews changes to my website when I need a second pair of eyes. He goes to client shoots with me and carries my gear. He holds reflectors, takes pullback images and buys me dinner when I’m done working for the day!

Jenna and Megan, my amazing daughters. They have been my go-to models from the beginning. They are always up for a photo session somewhere new and even come up with some creative ideas for shoots themselves!

Website: www.SherryBrooksPhotography.com

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

Twitter: https://twitter.com/PhotosbySherry

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

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