We had the good fortune of connecting with Emily Huynh and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Emily, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
When I was working my corporate job, I thought that balance meant working from 9am-5pm every single day, and living for the weekend. Now that I run my own business, I give myself a lot more flexibility and grace. Sometimes, I find myself living in the “hustle,” especially if I’m working on a new idea or project. However, instead of working several evenings in a row, I’ll make sure to start later the next few mornings or take a weekday off.

To me, balance means creating a schedule that works for you, which isn’t necessarily the schedule we learned from corporate America. I also try to do an internal “gut-check” every day by asking myself, “How do I feel today? Do I feel overworked and burnt out, or am I excited and ready to go?” Being cognizant of how my answers to these questions change day-to-day helps me stay balanced.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’m a visual creator for unique thought leaders who want to turn the tide on the status quo of their industry. I work with individuals who know they are born to do something big and want to share their story with the world. As a brand photographer and videographer, it’s my job to create visual imagery & video that showcase my clients’ personalities and gifts. If you’ve ever had your own photoshoot done, you know it’s SO hard to feel natural in front of the camera. My specialty is being able to capture your natural, candid personality on-camera, while still feeling like you.

I am mostly self-taught, which is both a blessing and a curse. Because I’m self-taught, I feel that I can be more creative and I’m not bound by certain “rules” that may have been taught in traditional photography schools and classes. However, sometimes I find myself questioning my own abilities since I am self-taught. I actually went to school for computer science and was a software engineer before becoming a photographer! Coming from what many would consider an un-creative industry, sometimes I find myself questioning my own abilities.

Over time, I’ve learned that my past experiences play into my unique skillset as a photographer. When you really get into it, photography is a very technical field. There are endless cameras, lenses, software, gear, lights, and equipment that are constantly evolving. My past as a software engineer doesn’t make me any less creative than other photographers in the industry.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
There are so many unique experiences and places to visit all over the Bay Area! First, we’d take a day trip to Half Moon Bay. There’s a delicious sandwich shop, Garden Deli Cafe, which has the most amazing pastrami sandwiches. After lunch, we would head to one of my favorite beaches, Cowell Ranch Beach. You have to walk about a quarter mile and down steep stairs to get to the coast, but it’s well worth it! You can walk along the bluffs and just listen to the waves if stairs aren’t your thing.

Next, we would head to Carmel-By-The-Sea. We would start the day by heading to Refuge, which is a silent, co-ed day spa. Afterwards, we would head into the main town. I love this town because it’s so walkable, and you feel like you’re taking a stroll through the European countryside. We would order flights at a few of the many wine tasting rooms, and then head to Porta Bella Carmel, which is my favorite restaurant in town.

Finally, we would stop at Yosemite, which might be one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen. We would do the touristy things – stopping at Tunnel View, walking around the valley, and admiring El Capitan. Depending on their athleticism level, we would hike Clouds Rest, which is a long, difficult 14-mile out and back hike. I’ve already done this hike twice, and I’m not sure that I have it in me to do it again, but I highly recommend everyone to do this trail at least once in their life. The view at the top is unlike anything else!

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My business mentor, Paige Ray, plays a huge role in my success as a business owner! When we first started working together, my photography business was still just a small side-hustle which barely brought in $5k a year. Now, it’s a thriving, full-time business that allows me to pay my bills and save for the future! She helped me overcome mindset blocks that were preventing me from seeing myself as a full-time photographer. She also showed me how to set up systems that would streamline my business to help all of my clients have a smoother, more professional experience.

Website: https://emilykimphotography.com/

Instagram: https://instagram.com/emilykimphoto

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/emilykimhuynh/

Facebook: https://facebook.com/emilykimphotography

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