Today we’d like to introduce you to Elaina Baer.
Thanks for sharing your story with us Elaina. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
To say that photography was always my dream, or always a passion of mine would be false. I grew up loving writing, reading, and arts. I always have considered myself a creative person, but photography was not on the radar. I even took a photography class in high school, received an average grade, and never looked back. I understand that’s not the conventional path, but it was the one I took. I dabbled in a few ideas for a creative career, applied to fashion school, got accepted, didn’t go. I considered cosmetology (a few times,) but nothing ever felt like the “perfect” job. You know, the one that doesn’t feel like you’re actually working because you love it.
I ended up working as a barista, got married, and had two beautiful babies, pf course taking a million iPhone pictures a day. My husband went to a 10-week course for his work where he learned all about photography (and many, many other things) and came home telling me all about how much fun photography was, and all the awesome things you can do when you have a “real” camera and know how to use it. That was when it hit me. I started following big-time photographers who inspired me. I saw what they were doing, and I loved it. I knew this was something that was speaking to me. I finally convinced my husband to buy me a camera. (I had a few other things in the past I was “dead set” on doing for a career and never stuck with it.) But, Aubrey, my husband, said if I didn’t use my camera, that at least he would! So we picked out a Sony A7ii and a 50mm lens.
That night we stayed up all night while he taught me how to use the camera and shoot in manual. I think it was about an hour into it when I grasped the concept and we spent the rest of the night taking the funniest images, playing with settings, laughing. After that night, I don’t think I let a day go by without taking pictures of our kids. I had the camera out on the buffet table so I could practice every chance I got. It wasn’t long before we were buying another lens (35mm) and I decided to practice on my friends, not just my kids.
After my very first family session on a sweet friend’s family, I called my husband on the way home in tears because I knew I found my passion and my calling. That’s when I knew I found my career. I spent all my free time doing online workshops, watching YouTube videos, and photographing any and everyone who would let me. Fast forward a couple of months, we found out we were moving from Washington to Georgia. I was scared to build my business from the ground up in a new state where we didn’t know anyone. However, the move hasn’t hindered my passion or success. I’m having the best time here, meeting new clients, making friends with some of my biggest inspirations in the photography industry, and somehow it still feels unreal how this all developed within a year.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The move was definitely not an easy task to overcome. How do you book clients when you don’t know anyone? Thankfully, we live in a world with excessive amounts of social media, and of course my husband’s work has a great support system of other wives and lots of entrepreneurs, like myself.
You’re going to have bad sessions, not ideal clients, tough obstacles to overcome, but I think the biggest factor is the support system you have in place: your loved ones, your friends, other photographers. I am the type of person who wants to be a positive influence on other creatives. You don’t have to feel alone in this. Your “competition” doesn’t have to be that they can be your allies, your friends, your confidants.
I have had a time recently where I felt burnt out, in a creative rut, and honestly, lonely. One of the photographers I adore and look up to, learn from, reached out to me and just simply checked in on me. She hyped me back up, and here I am! I am feeling like myself again, creative, excited about work, and thriving.
My advice just be a kind human. Business is business, but also remember we are all human. We will make mistakes, we will learn from them, and we are going to grow. It’s also very important to remain true to yourself. Finding your way, your “style,” and the things that make you unique are going to set you apart. Show your personality! People want to know who they are booking when they book you as their photographer.
Be you be nice, and HAVE FUN!
Please tell us more about your work, what you are currently focused on and most proud of.
Currently, my focus in photography is on elopements, weddings, and lifestyle sessions. I am a lover of love and passion. I consider myself an unconventional photographer, I am a story-teller. I want the images in my galleries to tell stories, bring back emotions, and let you relive those moments in time. It’s an honor to be trusted to document these moments for my clients.
My style could be described as romantic and “in the moment.” I try to take a bold approach and really let my client’s personalities shine through. During a session with me, I want you to laugh, play, and be passionate! My creativity thrives on connection, emotion, and light. We could be in a junkyard and if the light and connection are good, it will be perfect! Light is the best tool for any photographer.
I would say along with the tone and direction of my sessions, my editing style helps to let me stand out. I love a warm, dynamic, and timeless feel. I really edit based on feeling, when I look at it, I need it to speak to me. I will edit until it feels right, not just until it looks good. This is a story I’m telling for my clients after all.
I’m proud of my work ethic and ability to remain kind and empathic to all my clients and peers. I pride myself on my customer service and customer experience. I know and understand that not every client is going to be my ideal client; that’s the beauty of being in a creative industry. We all get to shine in the areas we prefer to, and clients have variety to choose from.
Do you think there are structural or other barriers impeding the emergence of more female leaders?
The world is changing, that is for sure. Women now have an abundance of more opportunities than we used to. That being said, I would consider the biggest barrier is, and probably always will be, women almost being forced to choose between being successful in a company or having/raising a family. Of course, there are the superwomen who do it all, but the “mom guilt” is always present I’m sure.
It’s always portrayed that women are emotionally irrational and will fly by the seat of their pants, fueled on emotions. I like to turn that negative into a positive. We are emotional, we are empathic, we are kind-hearted, understanding, natural mediators, we are powerful. When we help lift each other up, we are unstoppable.
I think businessmen fear these strong women. We are finding our ground, changing, and adapting to do more and be more, especially in the photography industry, which I would say is predominantly female.
Embrace these women, embrace the emotions, embrace the changes. We are going places, and we want everyone to join!
- Lifestyle: $325+
- Elopement: $1,200+
- Wedding: $2,000+
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @bohobaerphotography
- Facebook: @bohobaer
Images by Boho Baer Photography