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

Hi Tara, what’s the end goal, career-wise?
The ultimate goal for myself has always been to have a photo studio space where my clients feel safe, loved and full of joy. The world tears us down so easily, and providing my clients with a photo shoot session almost always results in them feeling empowered and confident. I love being able to show others the beauty they hold. The majority of my clients are women and I specialize in retro and pinup style portraits. I love to think of it as an adult version of “playing dress up”. I have professional hair and makeup artists that I work with, and I also love to help my babes create a perfect wardrobe from head to toe. Currently I shoot mostly on location- I am very fortunate to have many lovely people who open their vintage inspired homes to me. I would love to have a studio space of my own to store treasured vintage props, glamourous wardrobe pieces, and allow for a full experience of luxury and decadence for anyone who enters. Being able to provide for my family fully off of my photography career would be the most beautiful gift. Beyond financial stability, I dream of a space where I can build elaborate sets and create striking images of beautiful people.

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 specialize in retro and pinup style portraits, so the style of photos I do is a bit unconventional. I love having such diverse and amazing clients who want to do something different than you might normally do for a photo session. It’s been a long road to get here and building up a base of fans and people who want to work with me is a lot of hustle. Even if you are an incredible artist, one of the hardest parts of being a freelance photographer is learning to market yourself as your brand. It can be quite tricky and feels a little self indulgent to be promoting yourself so much. But I just try to remain confident without getting any sort of weird ego, and find that most people who are drawn to me and my work appreciate how genuine and open I am. If you truly just stick to being yourself and being kind to everyone you come across, things have a way of working out on their own.

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?
I use to be very involved in the Phoenix scene and culture, but with the past few years of my life I haven’t been as “in the know” as I use to be. I was pregnant, then had a newborn, and then covid-19 hit. So my going out days are probably mostly behind me. However, my favorite thing to do has always been going to see live music. From small ska bands in my teens to punk in my early 20s, going to see shows has been a huge part of my life. My favorite places to eat and drink would be Hulas Modern Tiki and Undertow. I am very into Tiki culture and if you can give me some rum mixed into some fruit juices- I am a happy girl! There’s always so many new places to visit in Arizona and I love being able to go to new restaurants and support local businesses with my husband and son whenever I can! 

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?
My husband has been my rock and the absolute biggest source of encouragement throughout my career. We met not too long after I finished art school and was ready to give up on being a photographer. He encouraged me to push through and keep going and there’s no way I would be where I am now without his unwavering support.

Website: www.taraophotos.com
Instagram: @taraophotos
Facebook: www.facebook.com/taraophotos

Image Credits
Image 01- Desi with MUAH by Kandy K Image 02- Sarah with MUAH by Stevie Rosalie Image 03- Maxi Millions Image 04- Stevie Rosalie Image 05- Lauren Image 06- Dominique with MUAH by Kandy K Image 07- Morgan Gatekeeper

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.