We had the good fortune of connecting with Michelle Bongirno and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Michelle, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
The most important factor behind the success of my business was taught to me when I first started. Most photographers would not share their locations, business tips or tools for editing. One of my college friends had started her photography business before we graduated and she helped me so much at the beginning of mine. This taught me to realize that there is enough work for all of us in any place we live. There is no reasons not to help a fellow starting photographer or business owner if you can. Community over competition is the way any small business should be run. We are all trying to be successful in life and business. I feel like this has been one of the most helpful tools with my business and my brand.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I received my BFA in photography in 2008. After graduating, I began working as a teacher’s assistant at a preschool while attempting to build my photography business. In the beginning, I worked whenever I could, evenings or during the weekends. A few years later, the preschool I worked at closed its doors. I used this time to focus solely on photography. Availability became less of issue and I was able to expend my portfolio. Even after all these years of experience, I still get excited when someone wants to book a session with me. I also can appreciate when a client might cancel, giving me the opportunity to connect with and work with someone new if I just am patient. Although there have been many ups and downs this year during the pandemic, it has given me the chance to start working again. What would I want the world to know about my story? Just keep trying. Will you want to quit some days because your best from the day wasn’t your best from the day before? Yes. However, will you try again tomorrow? Absolutely!
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 many outdoor activities hiking is my favorite Horseman’s Center or up Bell Mountain. There aren’t tons of things to do in my area that aren’t outdoors. Couple of my favorites is Viva Maria’s, Baja Taco and Mama Carpino’s, coffee at Tonyan’s Coffee.
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?
There are so many different people I would like to thank for helping with my photography journey. All my friends, family clients what referred me to people they know to help me to continue to do what I love. There are so many amazing vendors and photographers in my community from Smitten Bridal and Styled HWY where I have met so many incredibly talented people.