We had the good fortune of connecting with Danie Henry and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Danie, how do you think about risk?
The biggest risk I took, by far, was believing in myself. Stepping out and creating the dream business that I have today was a big risk. Having a passion is one thing. Turning that passion into a career, investing in yourself, is a whole ‘nother thing! It felt so risky to love photography so much – and then create a business where I would do it all day. Would I continue to love it? Could I do it? Would people pay for my art? Do I have what it takes? It is the quiet inner questions that feel the riskiest when you turn a passion into a profession. I’m happy to say, it has been the best decision I have made.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
The part of my work that I am most proud of, and frankly enjoy the most, is my newborn photography. And I believe this too is where my work sets me apart. It is my complete joy to work with newborns. I am deeply honored to be part of this special time in a family’s life. Having 6 children, I understand the unique challenges and stress this time of life presents and I am darn good with babies! Working with babies you need to be comforting and calm, and my hope is to also help put the new parents at ease – or at least give them a minute’s rest while I photograph their perfect, tiny human. My goal is always to make a peaceful and comfortable experience where babies can shine and their own magical essence can be revealed. The end result is beautiful artwork that is treasured for a lifetime.
The bulk part of my job, lucky for me, doesn’t feel like hard work. I enjoy the people I meet, finding that unique spark in each individual, and revealing that through my camera. It is such a joy to me every time. Are there things about running a business that are less fun? Yes! I don’t love the self promotion that comes with operating an online business in this day and age. It can be struggle for me to toot my own horn and so this has felt like hard work. It has been a deeper journey to allow myself room to recognize my strengths and tell others about it. That has been one of my biggest struggles in growing my business.
Deep learning has been central to my career. The most important lesson I have learned is that all clients have something to teach me. If I am open, learning is everywhere. Newborns teach me the most – lessons about joy, being present, enjoying life as it is, having hope. I leave most sessions feeling content and grateful. Scheduling newborn clients sparks a joy that is almost hard to name.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
Most of my favorite places are tucked inside the South Bay. I am an expert in finding amazing hikes with stunning views in Palos Verdes. One of my favorite spots is Abalone Cove. There is easy parking and an easy/moderate hike to the best tidepools in Southern California. When you visit, be sure to slow down! If you’re in a hurry you will miss the treasures hidden in each pool. We’ve found sea hares, starfish, a variety of shellfish, tiny octopus and so much more. If you are just driving around the Peninsula you will still be rewarded with those beautiful views. While you’re on that side of town be sure to stop at Point Vicente to look for Gray Whales.
I love taking people to the beach. It is, hands down, my happy place. I get in the water at least once a week all year long. My favorite beaches are in South Redondo. Also in South Redondo is my favorite coffee shop, Klatch coffee. They are world renowned coffee roasters and their drip coffee is the very best I’ve ever had. We are lucky to have them in our neighborhood.
When it’s time to eat you’ve got to hit Phanny’s for their breakfast burritos. They are on PCH in South Redondo Beach at Ave C. I highly recommend it. And if you’re jonesing for a burrito and you’re more North, don’t skip Great White in Venice. Their breakfast burrito will change your life. I suggest you get extra sauce. I make the drive when I can. It’s worth it!
Another of my favorite pastimes is plant shopping. When I’m grabbing a burrito at Great White you better believe I stop by Venice Plants. If you’re willing to hunt, you will find rare plants for a great price. Lucky Plants in Hermosa is also a great plant shop. It is independently owned and their staff is friendly and helpful. My favorite plant store is Armstrong Garden Centers in Torrance. I could spend the whole day there. Honestly, my yard and house are full of my favorite plants, but it seems like I can still find room for one more!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I couldn’t agree more! I have constantly been in awe of people who lift others as they too are climbing. The people that I have found to be full of compassion and generosity with their time, support and love are the photographers Marcus Hoffman, and the beautiful women of Sun and Sparrow. In each of their own ways they have supported me, encouraged me, and been strong sounding boards for how to run a business in our niche. They are fabulous people and wonderful friends.
Rivkah Leah Photography