REVEAL Q3 2017 - Page 12

“I make time for my family and loved ones because if you take away my talents and belongings, they are all I have left,” she says. Lydia also makes time for meeting new people and making friends, like she has with Atlanta Social Club. Her sister, Kera, joined ASC first. “She mentioned it to me and told me that she was meeting a lot of great girls here in Atlanta,” Lydia says. “Kera ended up adding me, and it’s been great to watch like-minded business women connect, collab, and have fun! “When you surround yourself with young professionals who all have similar goals, it encourages you to stay on track.” While Lydia doesn’t have any additional full-time employees to split the load with at the moment, she is looking at that for the future. For now, she has a long list of amazingly talented creatives that she leans on for “second shooters” for events or weddings. Since they will be representing her firm, she picks her photographers carefully. “When deciding if someone would be a good fit to work underneath me, I have to keep in mind that they are the face of my company and brand,” Lydia says. “I ask what type of equipment they use, if they’ve shot many weddings, what they plan to do with the photos afterwards, I see if our personalities work well together, I check with previous people they have worked with, and of course I look at their portfolio to see if their style will blend seamlessly with mine. To ensure that an entire gallery flows together, I receive the memory cards I gave them at the beginning of the event and I edit all of the photos so that they are the same style and color palette.” Lydia intentionally went out on her own instead of joining an existing firm, despite the extra effort she has to put into logistics. “I’ve always been extremely independent and often hard-headed (which at times can be a fault). But there’s a satisfaction that comes with being your own boss, especially as a woman,” she says. “The corporate photography field is saturated with men and that just never appealed to me. Why allow someone to take over my creativity and talent so that they can profit from it, when I myself could be just as successful if not more?” Business is booming for the firm, and Lydia says she’s contemplating adding a REVEAL | Q3 2017 12 studio, even though she’s only needed it a handful of times, as she believes it could add a new aspect and help expand the company. Most of her work is in natural light, and some are more challenging than others -- from elf-themed moonlit wedding ceremonies at 9 p.m., to shoots with up to 10 children, dog sessions and more. “If every session were easy, then there would be no room to grow,” she says. Lydia relishes the challenges that come with running her own company, but says it can sometimes be daunting. The hardest part was finding the courage to start initially, and the courage to keep going. “Thoughts would pop up (and occasionally still do) like, ‘What if I fail?’ ‘What if I waste my 20s chasing something that won’t become my reality?’ ‘People won’t take me seriously at this age.’ The list goes on,” Lydia says. “I’ve learned that it doesn’t matter what other people think of you if you hold your head up high, take charge, realize you’re stronger than your failures, that God is on your side, and you get out of it what you put in. That realization has been the best part, alongside with finding myself.”