I met Cassie on a foggy morning in February when we decided to drive 200 miles away to go hunt for a really cool photo. We had a loose game plan but spent the majority of the day walking around in the fog, and managed to stumble across a really amazing spot. Part luck, part determination describes our friendship so far. She’s been a huge motivating factor for me launching this blog, along with providing marketing services to photographers. She’s tenacious and fearless from behind the camera. She’s just launched Play Dates with Cassie, which is a result of several conversations asking her about what she enjoys most with photography. Get to know her better below!
What made you want to pursue photography as a business? Was there a tipping point for you or was it gradual? I have always had a relentless passion for photography, but to me it was always this unatainable dream that I didn’t think was within my reach, or something that wasn’t possible to make my career. It wasn’t a ‘real’ job.It was very gradual, but at the same time I can certainly pinpoint a tipping point where I just let go of the fear I clung to and dove in whole heartedly, and never looked back. Once my eyes were opened and I realized it was something I could have if I reached for it and worked hard enough, I knew could never put it down.
Why photography? What drives you to capture images? The reasons are endless. Because in 10 years or 100 years photographs and the stories you have to go along with them will be all anyone has. Because if I don’t, I will lose my mind. It keeps me sane. Because this camera makes me who I am. It brings to life a million parts of me that would be asleep without it, I am forever grateful that my job is honestly the thing that makes me feel the most alive. It helps me see the world. See people. And the better I can see the world and the people in it, the more I can show people themselves and the people they love, and the interactions they have with them. I’m driven to capture images for other people because they trust me to do so. Having someone trust you to tell their story is an incredible feeling. Sorry, I rant.
Where do you see your photography going in the future? I see it going a million different ways and directions. The passion and drive I have for this is forever growing, and I just feel myself always craving more. I’d love to shift more into destination weddings and travel photography. I have a thirst to see more of this world and the people that are in it through my lens.I see my photography going deeper. I want my photos to mean more, capture more emotion, portray more. I don’t want my business to just rise, expand, and grow geographically, I want to grow as a photographer.
What personal projects have you done that have resonated the most with people?My most recent project has been Play Dates with Cassie! (Sounds like a lot of fun and games, because basically it is.) It’s a lifestyle, candid way of capturing kids doing the mundane, everyday things. It gives me the chance to capture a child’s unfiltered happiness, and their true personality. I feel like it resonates with people because it gives them something different, and real, and timeless. I haven’t had a ton of personal projects up until this point, but I have a lot of things in the works currently that I’m excited to get rolling.
If you could start your business over, is there anything you’d do differently?Yes and No. My knee jerk reaction in GOD YES TAKE ME BACK LET ME START OVER. But if I truly sit down and consider it, I’d have to say no. The things I would want to do over are the things that I learned from and that taught me the most. Those are the things that molded and moved my business along the way, and helped me define what was and wasn’t me, how I did and didn’t want to run my business.
What marketing activities have consistently worked for you to attract new clients? Honestly, since word of mouth is what brings me most of my clientele, just being 100% myself, and making sure to make my clients feel taken care of and comfortable in front of my camera. The more I shoot, the more people share the work that I’ve done, the more they talk to their friends and share the experience they had while working with me. Besides word of mouth, I would most likely say social media attracts a lot of new clients for me.
Who influences you? My mother. She’s not a photographer, per say, but I’ve learned more things from her that I practice in my business than probably anyone else. She’s a very considerate, caring person and the kindness I see her show to others is something I base my business around and attempt to always implement. I think it’s one of the most important things to make sure my clients know how cared about and valued they are, so that has influenced my business majorly.She also taught me the power of a candid. Looking though our family photo albums, the pictures that mean the most to me, and to her as a mother, are always the candid ones. The ones with our favorite toys or playing outside at our childhood home. Seeing the importance of her photographs helped push my work in the direction that I find most moving, whether it’s candid’s of a family interacting, a bride and groom on their wedding day, or anything in between, I want to look for moments. And I think that’s largely because of my mom and the pictures she took of my sisters and I as children.
Another great influence of mine, although a lot newer than my mother, is the creator and writer of this blog, Michael Cardwell [editor’s note: Hey, that’s me!] . I just met him this past February but I can without a doubt say he has quickly become one of the most influential people I’ve ever met. He shakes up my perspective, introduced me to an entirely new part of film photography, and influences me to reach out for more, even if it feels impossible. Not only does he influence me in those ways, but also through his own personal photography.
Some other photographers I find influential and highly admire are Jonas Jaeschke . His work is phenomenal and I find myself gravitating towards his portrait work and gorgeous tones. Erica Carter from Captured Love Photography for her incredible talent at telling her clients stories, and her ability to capture such pure moments, and Christi Dupree, who is actually a singer/song writer in the band Merriment, but is also an incredible film photographer that inspires me to dive further into my love of film and finding the beauty in the everyday things around me.
How do you choose what projects you do? I want any project I do or take on to push me. And challenge me. Whether its to step out of my comfort zone through traveling, meeting new people, or pushing my photography past boundaries that I had not considered yet, I want the projects I do to mold me and help me grow, while evoking feeling in the people that see my what I produce.
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