Today we’d like to introduce you to Irma Ali.
Irma, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Growing up, my parents had a large influence on me. My dad shot film and my mom – the crafty artist. I knew I wanted to follow in those footsteps, even though they used their talent as most hobbies. My photography classes in high school really motivated me to learn more and to constantly shoot. With my dad gifting me a DSLR camera and letting me shoot on his film cameras, my extra time was filled with being behind a lens. Roaming the streets and rooftops of Atlanta was my favorite thing to do with friends. I started shooting to small magazines for small live bands all over Georgia. Eventually, it grew to bigger bands and I was doing interviews, festivals, and band promos. I knew this was my fit, even though I wasn’t making much money off of it. My childhood goal, all the way up to high school was to be an elementary school teacher. I continued with this through college, until I dropped out to achieve my photography degree at Gwinnett Tech instead. While taking Early Childhood classes, I was minoring in film.
Looking back, I think I paid more attention in those classes than the education ones! My path during that time was unclear until after graduating at Gwinnett Tech. I knew I made the right choice. It was the one thing that made me truly happy. Being at concerts in Atlanta or shooting for friends in nature was all I wanted to do. Making this hobby into a career was what I set my mind to. I made the choice to move to Colorado where I could do wedding photography in the mountains and still live in a city to shoot concerts. I wouldn’t change a thing about it. I am now doing photography full time, coming home to Atlanta about every month to shoot weddings. I still consider Atlanta home, not just because I am co-based and still have half of my clothes here! What an awesome community and culture to be a part of that is so supportive of the arts.
Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Oh, absolutely not! haha Letting go of the idea of having a consistent salary of being a teacher to freelancing/owning my own business was hard enough in itself! It took me high school and my college career (and fund) to realize it. I don’t look back though because “do what you love and you’ll never work a day in your life” is most definitely true. I wish I didn’t spend the money I did before switching majors, but having the film minor wasn’t a waste of time. Commuting to both of the colleges I attended and lack of sleep was rough. I put all of my heart and energy into school – hoping I would come out with a Bachelor’s. I now have only two Associate degrees. I am glad everything happened the way it did though or I wouldn’t be where I am today. My desire for school hasn’t gone away. I hope to still achieve my Bachelor’s in business/marketing down the road. I’d like to take online classes though to still have the ability to travel as much as I do for work.
Alright – so let’s talk business. Tell us about Irma Ali photography – what should we know?
My specialties are music and destination wedding photography. I have been known to spend my nights alone at shows instead of going out on a Saturday night or taking a road trip by myself to photograph a wedding somewhere beautiful. Being an introvert, I am totally cool with that! As a company, I am most proud of how short of a time span it took me to make a living off of taking photos. I was able to quit the jobs I had (sometimes working three at a time) to solely working on my own in less than a year. I think what makes my work stand out is the fact I do both music and weddings. I get a ton of clients that really hire me because of that! While chatting with wedding clients about how they found me or why they chose me, I am surprised to hear it. I am glad though because we get to talk about the music industry and genres of music that they enjoy that are similar to my taste. I think my style may also set me apart. My goal isn’t to pose people, but to really capture the essence of the moment and feeling. I hope for the ones who are not in the photos to see that as well.
Is there a characteristic or quality that you feel is essential to success?
Happiness. All I want to capture is a happy emotion. It could be an artist on stage, just doing what they do best. Capturing that long note they love to hit or dancing around having the time of their life. Weddings are all about happy moments that come once in a lifetime. It is what drives me every time I pick up a camera. Making others happy makes me happy. If I can capture a split second of happiness in a photo, my job is done.
- live show set, with one full band promo shot: starting at $200
- portrait shoot: starting at $150
- weddings: starting at $1200
- Website: irmatakesphotos.com
- Email: email@example.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/irmalovesyou/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/irmatakesphotos