Today we’d like to introduce you to JaNaya Alamillo.
Hi JaNaya, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
Since I was a kid. I was the one that was always behind the camera taking photos of everything. I have always loved taking photos. Of course, when I hit 18, I got a job working at HEB at that time we lived in San Antonio Texas. Deep down inside I wanted to start a photography business but was too afraid I wouldn’t get anywhere with my dream.
So I put it off and continued to work. My work had me take photos for people with our Christmas events for photos with Santa, from that point I had several people wanting me to do photos with them. I did small sessions on the side while still working but I wasn’t happy I truly wanted to just do my photography and take my dream to another level.
My husband joined the army which has taken us to El Paso where that’s when I stayed home since we had our daughter. I had more time on my hands and I pushed to get my business out in the El Paso community, Talk about hard not only having to put yourself out on social media, through friends, having your clients you do get share your work to hopefully bring them to you.
I really pushed, but what really helped me and got me going was when I decided one day to do a free model call, I picked a girl to work with for a vision I had on a shoot that I wanted to do. I didn’t know that the girl I picked was a model.
From that moment we continued to work together she also brought more models to me that wanted to work with me, which helped me open up and brought my vision to life next thing I know I had several models that I work with, and I had tons of clients coming to me to where I got the regular clients that continue to come back to me, plus so many more that are new.
I have had the opportunities to work with so many great people, I have worked with so many great models and companies here that have had events that I have helped with.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
This road has not been smooth for me at all, From the time of been here in El Paso our family has gotten bigger, we now have three children. I continued to do photography while pregnant until I was ready to have our child my husband thought I was insane but I knew I was fine.
After having our second child we were hit by a drunk driver and when that happened I was on the way to do a senior session. That unfortunate event put me out of taking photos for a while since my kids and husband were also in the vehicle, and we had a lot to heal from.
It’s hard when you don’t have new sessions to post on your social media site things, that’s when people start to think you are on vacation, taking a break, or your business is not bringing in clients anymore. When that happens it can push people away and they don’t bother with your business anymore.
So it was hard I took on a few sessions when I could cause I still needed to take care of things with us. I was able to get myself up again with clients, business was booming again. Then COVID hit, that was the hardest time, no one wanted to get sick of course everyone and I wanted to protect my family and myself from getting sick. So I temporally closed down.
Thank goodness to my regular clients they continued to have faith and trust in me even though covid was around they wanted those photos taken. so I did that in the safest way for all of us. Thank god for them I was able to open back up with caution and take on clients.
It was a hard process to keep things going and pray that my business wasn’t going to fall apart and never open again. I have seen so many people close down during that time and it truly scared me, I didn’t want to lose what I worked so hard to build.
As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
I am a photographer that specializes in natural light, but I never limited myself and stuck to just that so I ventured out and took on Unique creativity. Maternity has been my most loved and taken-on session, but I have done it all from family, cake smash, boudoir, and Seniors.
To take my visions of unique creative sessions to life. I have different editing styles and I feel like that’s what sets me apart from others I can do a bright beautiful indoor cake smash, to a dark gloomy outdoor session, but can also keep the natural beauty of photos that a lot of people love.
I really want to keep building myself so I can dedicate my business to what I want it to be the most, all my family has been military, and I have seen what military families have to go through. I want to be able to give back to the military families in need to give to hospitals that need it, to organizations that need that extra help. I am extremely proud of where I have built myself to.
Photography reminds me a lot of painting, you have to pick the right choices for your portrait to make a beautiful canvas. It’s the same thing with photography. I have accomplished so much and I can’t wait to add more visions and dreams to my business that I want to succeed in
Networking and finding a mentor can have such a positive impact on one’s life and career. Any advice?
The best advice I can give is don’t let YOU hold yourself back from doing what you want to do. Believe in yourself.
I sat back thinking I could never get anywhere with my work even though many people told me that I could, I started at 18 to now being 31 accomplishing so much.
Put yourself out there, and make it known that you want the world to see you.
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Fatally Unique Photography