Welcome to the blog, sort of like a digital garden where dreams are planted and grow wild! My name is Quianna and my family calls me “Qui” like key! I’m a destination wedding photographer based in Scottsdale and the Bay Area.
I love adventures and creating memories even more than I love photographing them—and I LOVE taking photos! In addition to capturing weddings, family milestones, and the best memories I also offer business tools, motivation and inspiration to help creatives turn their passions into their profession. We only get this one life, why not live our days doing what we love?
Celebrating 5 Years of Business | Surviving The Pandemic
When I first started day dreaming about photography, I prayed for anyone to pay me to shoot them. Could you imagine? Getting paid to do what you love? I chased the thrill of being around others during the happiest moments of their lives, looking and feeling their best.
My universe rattled when I got paid my first $100 bill for a family shoot in my hometown. With that Benjamin Franklin tucked into the cup holder in my car after the shoot, I drove away with the BIGGEST smile, “I could do this! For real. But how? How do I make a living with my camera?!? Can this really be my job?”
What I loved the most about photographing families was how I felt during and after the shoot. I always knew it was a successful shoot when the Dad’s would praise me for making it painless and the kids wanted to keep playing. The magic came after when I would get the chills, editing the photos to find myself laughing and taking those deep breaths thinking “Oh, I’m gunna make this Mama cry!” (Happy tears of course!)
Since then I’ve been chasing that thrill of feeling like a true photographer. Capturing my friends and family in the purest light, documenting their love stories and allowing them to let their guard down to simply be themselves.
This August I am celebrating 5 years of being my own boss! While I was busy behind the camera, still in awe that people pay me to crash their weddings and celebrate the happiest moments of their lives. It seemed too good to be true! I was happy, my business was thriving, my clients kept referring my photography and my network kept growing. In fact, it was thriving so much that I expanded to Arizona. I packed up my life in the 4Runner to buy dirt and chase a big dream.
Like all well oiled machines, sometimes when things are running smoothly it’s only a matter of time for something to break. This year 2020 hit me like a catalytic converter crash. Just like an engine my business reduced acceleration and came to a screeching halt. In fact, according to the law it was illegal for me to go outside and work. Restrictions were put in place during the quarantine and business completely stopped. Weddings were rescheduled, engagement shoots had to be postponed and my monthly photo shoots were put on hold.
Since the move to Arizona, I had a gut feeling things would slow down. But no one could have predicted COVID-19 and the impact it would have on so many industries. My passion. My business. My photography. All of it was non-essential.
As time went on I depleted my creativity trying to scramble to drip any income I could possibly think of! I offered mentoring and coaching calls, opened up a print shop, and offered gift cards at a discounted rate. Save Now, Book Later helped pay my mortgage and kept my freezer stocked with ice cream.
Soon those wild emotions of grit, tenacity, creativity and motivation flooded my business. I felt like I was at ground zero, starting all over again. While my Uncle Todd was visiting recently we had one of our heart to heart conversations… You know the kind when you ask for something, but end up receiving an entirely different message? The one that you actually needed to hear?
While we were snacking on salami and cheese my uncle looked me in the eye and smiled, “It’s time you start getting paid for what you know instead of what you do”. That sentence stopped me in my tracks and hit me hard. For years I’ve been running towards getting paid for what I LOVE to do and now it’s time to change that? Well, my love that’s business.
That was the day I made the decision to start shifting my offerings and to embrace the changes ahead. Weddings restrictions are constantly changing and large gatherings are still not permitted with social distancing. It’s like I felt the fire I had for my business in the very beginning came rushing back. It feels like I’m starting from scratch all over again.
I may fail. I may not know what I’m doing. I’m going to make mistakes. I never stop learning… but I will never give up!
I will forever and ever be a photographer. Your photographer. I truly believe I am called to have my camera in my hand to bring people together, spark memories and document our most fleeting moments. I just need to continue thinking outside the box!
During the quarantine my mind has been spinning with ideas. I’ve been brainstorming new offerings and ways to help creatives turn their passions into a profession. Offering education, real life motivation and sharing my passion for helping photographers and creatives live their best life brings me so much joy!
If my business can survive a pandemic, you can bet I have some tips and tricks, experience and opinions to share. I’ve opened up an online shop, offering digital products and templates for photographers and a print shop to share my adventures, too! More boudoir education for photographers and wedding education for recently engaged couples coming soon!
Thank you for all of your love, support and encouragement over the last decade of this business. Just like all entrepreneurs, there are many dates milestones, wins and accomplishments to celebrate. I’ve been shooting weddings and portraits for over 15 years! This month it’s been 5 years officially paying taxes and relying solely on my passion as my profession. None of this would be possible without YOU!
THANK YOU! Cheers to the dream and embracing every fork in the road, detour and river to cross along the way!