The Thrill of Going For It: An Interview with Photographer, Claire Diana
I first met Claire when we were both in college at the University of Georgia. Her passion for photography was just beginning to awaken, and at that point, neither one of us knew what would become of this creative hobby. Over the years that have since past, it's been amazing to see Claire transition from talented rookie to incredible wedding photographer. Her beautiful work and warm personality now make her one of the most sought-after photographers in Georgia.
I'm so happy to introduce you to my inspiring friend, Claire Diana:
Let's start at the beginning. How did you become a professional photographer?
“It was a crazy long road that led me to where I am now (a full-time wedding photographer), but the best way to describe how I got here: I said YES. Yes to my desire to take some time off school even though I had no idea what I was going to do. Yes to a job that I wasn't qualified for and that made me move to a different state where I knew no one. Yes to an internship that really pushed me out of my comfort zone. Yes to tagging along on my first-ever wedding. And yes to photographing my friend's wedding as a primary photographer, even though I was terrified! Grabbing hold of each opportunity that came my way is the only way the next door opened for me. And within a span of just a few years, I went from not even owning a camera or knowing that I liked photography to realizing and obtaining my dream job of being a wedding photographer.”
What's been your gutsiest moment in life so far?
"For me, the gutsiest moment was when I opened my first studio. Having a studio space separate from my home was a long-term goal that I had hoped to achieve in 5-10 years... definitely not anytime soon. However, one day I got wind of a space that had just opened up on the main street of a quaint little town, and I took a peek inside out of sheer curiosity. Within two weeks, a lease had been signed, keys exchanged, paint colors picked out, and a date chosen for a Grand Opening. I consider this one of my gutsiest decisions, because I made it despite a huge amount of uncertainty & fear. Could I afford this? Wouldn't an in-home studio be more affordable and more practical? What if I can't pull this off, and I end up having to close my doors sooner than I anticipated? How embarrassing would that be? After all, I had heard the negative comments and rumors when the studio down the street closed. But alas, the thrill of 'going for it' even when it might've been illogical or deemed 'crazy' led me down a greater path than I could've imagined."
Do you have any big goals for the near future?
"While there is a lot of power in 'yes,' as I've previously demonstrated, my boldest goal for my future is actually to learn how to say 'no.' Part of being gusty is determining what YOUR dreams are and what YOUR definition of success looks like. And the trick is that this is different for everyone, so you can't listen to what society tells you! While some would call my photography business 'successful' based on the amount of weddings I shoot a year or the amount of clients I have, I've realized that I have a different definition of success. For me, that looks like fostering stronger relationships in my personal life, growing in my hobbies outside of photography, and finding a bit more of that work-life balance that everyone talks about. And I believe reaching those goals can only come from one of the scariest things: saying 'no.' Once you learn to say yes to opportunities, it's much more difficult to turn work down. What feels like a missed opportunity or lost money out of your pocket right now may actually pave the way for more 'success' in the long run. So my personal goal for the future is to figure out exactly how much work I can take on while leaving time for my other goals... and then stick to that amount by saying 'no.' And that will feel much more successful to me."
Last but not least, what does being "gutsy" mean to you?
"To me, being 'gutsy' means having wild dreams and the courage to pursue them. It means ignoring the fears that will try to take over and push you toward the 'easier' or 'safer' route: the fear of difficulty, the fear of the unknown, the fear of what others may think or say, and most commonly the fear of failure."
So, my dear reader, what is one of your wildest dreams? Let us know in the comments below, and please send Claire a bunch of love too!