We had the good fortune of connecting with Zsuzsi Steiner and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Zsuzsi, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
Finding balance has always been a top priority for me. As a mother to two amazing boys, it can be a challenge to keep my family-time and my business-time separate. Apart from the family-photo sessions, I work mostly from home. I often have to fight the temptation to sneak into our home office to go and respond to a client’s email, or to edit photos. When I first started my business, the lines here were smudged and it led to me feeling frustrated and to my family feeling neglected and put-off. It wasn’t until I carved out specific times in the day for my business and stayed true to them, that I found the balance I was looking for. This of course, is pre-COVID where I could find that time when my boys went to school. I am now being challenged again to find out how to find that time with my boys constantly around. Usually, I am working on my business when my children have gone to sleep. My business has quieted down a bit with everything going on, but it will be a challenge to see where this all leads. I have found that balance in life is constantly changing and you need to be flexible to make it all work.
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 am very proud of my photography. I love creating moments with the families that I am photographing. A session with me isn’t where I just say to them “ok, just act like yourselves and I ‘ll just take photos.” Actually, I am guiding them the ENTIRE time. We play games, I make them laugh – we ALL have fun. I have found that it is though this constant interaction that I help my clients through this process. Not everyone likes to get they photos taken and if I control our time together, it is one less thing for them to have to worry about They soon realize that they can just be themselves. At the end of my sessions, we are all smiling and the family is usually telling me about how much fun they had. I love hearing this because when they look back at their photos, i also want them to remember the fun family-time they shared. This process took me time to figure out. After EVERY session I still reflect on something new that I learned. No session is exactly like the other. Sure I have some go-to games that I like to play, but the reactions the family has to them is always unique. That’s what makes it so much fun! The biggest lesson I have learned is to go with the flow. When in a session if things aren’t going quite right, I remind myself to take a breath. I help put everyone else at ease and so it’s important they feel it from me. I reassure parents of timid children, that we will get the shots they are looking for and there is no pressure. I let families whose session might have to be rebooked due to weather, that waiting for the ideal weather will give them a better outcome. They appreciate my professionalism and it puts them at ease.
Any great local spots you’d like to shoutout?
Los Angeles is a dynamic city. Of course I would have my camera in hand and I would take them throughout Venice and Santa Monica. I love the beaches and large wall-murals in that area. We would go to see the Santa Monica pier and appreciate the wind-blown portraits that I could take on the pier’s rails and in their fun carnival game theme park. My favorite photos would probably be at sunset with a wide-angle lens capturing them at the top of the ferris wheel. With the ocean and city lights behind them.
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 shout-out goes to my husband. I am appreciative that he has supported me throughout this journey. We work as a partnership in our business and I am thankful to have his financial in-put. Starting my own photography business wouldn’t have been possible without his support.
Facebook: Zsuzsi Photography