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Life & Work with Dawn Aiello

Today we’d like to introduce you to Dawn Aiello. 

Hi Dawn, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
I grew up with a darkroom in my attic so photography has always been a part of my life. I never considered it professionally until my cousin asked me to take pictures for her at a family event with her new DSLR. And that’s the day that everything changed! Within a month I had my own DSLR and within three months of that, I had my first client in 2011. I started out just doing photo shoots for friends but eventually turned to photography more seriously after moving back to Florida in 2014. I worked freelance for several different companies, including Disney Fine Art Photography at Walt Disney World, and was fortunate enough to work with amazing photographers who took me under their wings and taught me so much practical knowledge about being behind the camera. While freelancing for other companies, I also continued to build up my own company and incorporated in 2017. My previous professional experiences include teaching and nonprofit management which I think gives me a different perspective than many other photographers. I see my photography as a service to my clients and I work really hard to create the images that they want and need. Within my own business, I offer commercial photography services and personal photography services. My focus in working with businesses is mainly on branding and personal branding. The entire advertising world has changed with the advent of social media and it’s more important now than ever for companies to have content to share online and I’m here to help batch create that content! I draw on my past skillsets to really dig into a company’s story and learn what their marketing goals are to help them create images that portray their messages to their customers perfectly. Within the personal photography services, I focus on Bar/Bat Mitzvahs, weddings, and family portraits. 

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
I’m very thankful for the success that I’ve had in transitioning to being a full-time photographer, especially since it was quite a quick transition! I previously worked in the nonprofit and education sectors, so it’s really just a completely different mindset to own your own business. My focus had previously always been on running services and programs and teaching students but now I have to consider profits and expenses and lead generation and referral partners. It’s all new! 

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
The two areas that I focus on the most is branding photography for businesses and Bar/Bat Mitzvah photography. I really love working with business owners and entrepreneurs to create the photos they need to market their businesses online because I feel like it combines a lot of my past professional skill sets together. I get to dig in and find out about their “why” and their vision for the future of their businesses. I’m definitely a people person, so I love how this role lets me feel like I’m a part of their company – which essentially, I am a part-time freelance member of their marketing team! I don’t see my photography service as a chance to let my creativity fly wild, so much as it’s a chance for me to use my creativity and skills to craft their vision. It’s really a collaborative effort. 

I enjoy photographing Bar and Bat Mitzvah celebrations because I used to work as a high school teacher so it’s fun to be working with youth again! Also, this is a really stressful time for that young teen and their families and I try to bring all of my patience and calm to make everyone feel more at ease. Since I did use to be a math teacher, I’m super organized and procedurally-minded, so I can also help guide the parents through the entire experience. I’m always honored when families trust me with these very precious memories. 

What quality or characteristic do you feel is most important to your success?
I would say the number one thing my clients thank me for is my patience. I’ve always been a very patient person, but I try to be extra gentle particularly in difficult or stressful situations. While I love to have a detailed game plan for my photoshoots and events, I know that life just doesn’t go to plan most of the time, so I try to be as flexible as possible and just keep communication lines open with my clients throughout our experience together. 

Pricing:

  • Headshots – $149
  • Family Portraits – $299
  • Bar/Bat Mitzvahs – a la carte starting at $399
  • Weddings – a la carte starting at $499 (elopements) and $1799 (6+ hours)
  • Branding Photography – starting at $499

Contact Info:


Image Credits:

Dawn Aiello Photography, Inc.

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