Interview: Sharon Reiley

Website: Reiley Photography & Sweet Stuff Studios / www.reileyphotography.com | www.sweetstuffstudios.com Twitter:@reileyphoto

What do you love most about your job? I love being a photographer because it is so fulfilling to bring joy and meaning to someone’s life. I am honored to capture moments as important (and as fleeting) as a first kiss as husband and wife, the soft wispy swirl of a newborn baby’s cowlick, a toddler’s clumsy waddle, or the goofy smile of a child missing a tooth. I love being a designer because it challenges my creativity and allows me to work with so many talented individuals who are passionate about their business and craft. I feel fortunate to be able to design for photographers, as opposed to other corporate industries, because my clients have amazing ideas and vision. I believe our best work comes when we collaborate with others.

What do you hate most about your job? Bookkeeping. It’s the pits!

Where do you find inspiration? I try to look outside of the photography industry for creative inspiration. All too often, I see photographers copy what other photographers are doing, and it makes everything start to look the same, plus no body knows if anyone else is even doing things “right”. I try look at other creative industries like fashion, beauty or interior design instead. I’ll surf the web and visit sites for stores that I like to shop in. Retail stores invest a lot in their brand and their marketing, and I think there’s a lot we can learn from them that can be applied to our own businesses. I also take an iPhone picture of everything that inspires me.

When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up? All I did when I was young was draw. I don’t really remember thinking much about what I wanted to be, but I can always remember being really into art. I went to college for graphic design, and I don’t think I even considered any other majors - although during college I changed my major 5 times, all within the arts: Graphic Design, Photography, Art Education, back to Graphic Design, finally ending with Electronic Imaging (which is now the Digital Media program at UMass Dartmouth.)

If you could have any superpower, what would it be? I would stop time -- either to get more done in the day, take a little breather for myself, or to keep my daughter from getting any bigger, at least for a little while -- age 4 is so great!

What do you think of the current state of the wedding industry? I think as digital cameras are becoming more and more accessible, there are more “newbies” trying their hand at wedding photography (and who can blame them?) So there definitely is more competition at the entry level price tag. I believe the market for highly qualified photographers with both talent and experience is still there though. I think it just appears to be smaller because as the number of people who start out in the business grows, the percentage of those who actually reach that level professionally decreases.

What are your pet peeves or interesting things about you that you dislike? I have to work so hard to stay organized. I love things to be neat and clean, but it does not come at all naturally to me. I also have too many big ideas. I’m just not content to sit back and do the same thing every day (hence the two businesses). Problem is, I tend to give myself more work to do than is really necessary.

If you had to describe yourself using three words, they would be… Creative  Introverted  Optimistic