We had the good fortune of connecting with Renee Bowen and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Renee, can you talk to us about the impact the Covid-19 Crisis has had on your business.
This “great pause” is still showing its effects on most small business owners and I’m no exception. As a professional photographer, I make my living by creating experiences for my clients – and selling products to them. No photoshoots = no income. Not only that, I specialize in working with High School Seniors, and now that their entire senior year has come to a screeching unwanted halt, I am dealing with trying to finish graduation orders without meeting in person and with a photography lab that is also shut down. It’s been challenging, to say the least.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
If you would have told teenage me that I would one day be a successful photographer and business owner, I would have laughed right in your face. I NEVER thought this would be my career – my passion. I grew up in a painfully small town in South Louisiana and did what everyone did in the late 80’s … partied my way through a four-year college. I had zero direction. I got the “safe” degree in Psychology because quite frankly, I didn’t know what else to do. Yes, I loved the idea of helping people and I have always been drawn to what makes people tick, but in reality, I had no interest in becoming a therapist. What I didn’t realize was how impactful this training would be later in life, as a mother and now as a coach to other photographers and entrepreneurs. The short version of how I got from there to here is that I stumbled my way into motherhood at the age of 28 and inadvertently created a thriving photography business literally out of nothing. I had a basic level digital camera and a dream of creating a business so that I could raise my own kids. My actor husband and I found ourselves with three kids under the age of two, and our son was diagnosed with Autism at age three, so it became extremely important for me to figure out a way to make money while also being available for my children. It was hard and filled with adversity. I wanted to quit many times. I had no money to invest, I never got a business loan and I taught myself how to run a business – and it took me a long time to figure it out. This is why I’m passionate about helping other photographers do just that. I help them compress decades into days so they can get their lives back while creating profitable businesses they can be proud of. Along the way, though, what I realized is that it’s the relationships that I’ve created with my clients and students that matter most. Just like anything in life, you remember how someone makes you FEEL. That is what I strive to infuse into every photoshoot and every coaching session I have.. Serving others and making them feel valued, confident, and heard is what matters most to me.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
The Arts District in DTLA is a favorite of mine for sure. I’ve shot countless sessions there and I love how it’s constantly changing with beautiful arrays of art. I’ve seen it change over the last few years and I hope the businesses I’ve come to love there make it through this quarantine! I would start there and work our way to the beach, stopping at Griffith Park Observatory along the way. One of the things I love most about living in Los Angeles is seeing the city lights come alive at dusk from the hills. I think it’s because as a child growing up in Louisiana, this is the vision of LA I saw most in movies and TV shows. It’s one of the reasons I wanted to move to LA in the first place and it never disappoints! When it comes to beaches, there are obviously so many to choose from and I’ve shot at most of them by this point. For beauty, you can’t beat El Matador but it’s become quite the scene in recent years. I remember when I first moved to LA in 1995, I would drive there and just sit for hours – alone, in awe that I lived in such a gorgeous place. Very few people would be there with me. Now, it’s crowded on any day of the week – but still a favorite for sure.
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?
I could list SO many people here! My personal and professional development is something I am extremely passionate and intentional about, so I do feel as though I’m always learning. Whether it’s podcasts, books or educational courses, I am obsessed with growing as a person, a photographer, and as a coach. If I had to pick ONE person who has made the most impact on me in all areas, it would be Tony Robbins. I started reading his books in my early 30’s and I continue to immerse myself in both his in-person events as well as online events.
Other: TikTok: http://renee.io/tiktok. (@renee_bowen)
Hair and Makeup by Jami Cox (jamicoxmakeup.com) all images by me