Your Name: Dana Arnold
Business Name: Dana Arnold Photography
Tell us a little bit about yourself. Where are you from? Family? Pets? Hobbies? Etc.
I was born and raised in a small town in Pennsylvania and after graduation, I did not look back. My now husband joined the Navy and so since I was 19, we have moved all over the country and I LOVE IT!! Together, we have one dog named Karma, who we adopted the day before she was set to be put down by the shelter. She is our child and our world and we love her! Aside from wedding photography, I enjoy traveling all around the world with my husband, working out at the gym, and listening to audio books.
Tell us about your Photography business. How did you start and why? What do you specialize in? Would you go back and do anything differently?
I have to be honest and say that I had no idea I would become a wedding photographer. I went to college for applied psychology and thought I would teach in the Autism field. But, as I moved several times, I was tired of getting a job that worked long hours opposite of my husband, taking precious time away when he was home. I was tired of being away from him and felt like I lost my passion for that career. One day I bought a Nikon 3300 and started to take photos of my friend’s son and I had a feeling that this was going to make me happy.
I invested in Amy and Jordan’s Photography Courses and from there, my business quickly grew. Now, I am a proud full-time wedding photographer who is in charge of her own schedule, gets to see her husband much more, and I now get to save and enjoy more trips with my husband!
I’ve made a lot of choices and I would not do anything different for each choice and path has led me right where I am today and I love the life I am living.
Has it been a smooth road? Have you encountered struggles that you could share?
Creating, building, and operating a business is not easy. I have cried myself to sleep, thought I was a failure, was told I was a failure, and was afraid that I was not going to do well because “everyone is a photographer” now-a-days. Aside from this, you have to worry about promoting your business, getting clients, working with taxes, and keeping up with the trends on social media and wedding photography. This is just the start of it. Some of the most difficult struggles I have had is moving my business. As a Navy wife, I have moved 5 times in about 6 years and so taking your business with you and starting over, over and over again, is hard. Luckily, I was able to figure out main key points in helping me move my business, get clients, and booking weddings. It is a lot of work, but oh so worth it.
What do enjoy the most about what you do? What do you enjoy the least?
I love my clients; they are rockstars. Getting to meet wonderful couples and be trusted to serve others and capture one of the biggest days of their life is a high honor. Attending those weddings, meeting the guest, the bridal parties, and having fun while working really brings me joy.
What I love least is getting hard on myself. I would feel like I haven’t given a session or a wedding my all and even though the client loves them, and they look beautiful, I throw shade at myself, thinking I could have posed them better in this photo, the light was better in this location, etc. We always grow and use the experience as a learning lesson but keeping up is hard and not enjoyable haha.
What inspires you?
This question is always hard to answer because there are so many factors in my life that inspire me. I want to provide extra income for my husband and I so we can travel and live debt free by 2021. Our future inspires me to work hard so we can play later!
Financials aside, what inspires me is myself being a business owner and getting to work and meet with other business owners. Whether for photography, or skin care, or even a bakery, I love learning and teaching with others. We share each other’s stories and cheer each other one and that alone is so inspiring!
What is your farewell piece of advice for someone interested in taking the first steps toward entering into your field?
I want to let all photographers know that it will be hard. You will have highs and lows. You will come across other photographers who bash you, or you will find photographers that will seem like they are the best photographers ever, and it can make you feel shameful. I want you to ignore those feelings, or use them as motivation. They had to work hard to get where they are too, and so if you keep at it and don’t give up, you will get there!
I want to also ask that you support other photographers too. They are doing this because they want to make something out of it, to make more time with their kids, pay off debts, etc. If you support others, they will support you and help you. Community over competition, always!
What is your favorite Candy Bar?
I really love Peanut Butter Tasty Kakes. That sweet treat is like a go-to when I am stressed and its comfort food before I go to weddings and am nervous! They are just so good!
What is your favorite Childhood Memory?
It’s tied between summer vacations with my family at Chincoteague Island, Virginia. We still go every summer and I love this island so much!
Second would be high school varsity football games. I was a football manager and loved being one with a passion. There is just something about staying on the sidelines, watching the team win the championships, and spending weekdays at practice. I loved it!
You are a new addition to the crayon box. What color would you be?
Pink! It’s bright, positive, and one of the first colors someone sees when they open the box 😉