Born & raised in Fayetteville, Arkansas, Maura Griesse has made her mark on Northwest Arkansas, both as a photographer and an active member in the community. From a young age, Maura has been passionate about photography, and is using that passion to fuel her business, Maura Dawn Photography. Maura has roots in NWA, specializing in family, portrait, wedding, and fashion photography, but has recently expanded her territory and influence globally, shooting for Dubai Fashion Week and Judith & James in Kenya. Maura has an incredible gift, and has stewarded it exceptionally well, impacting the lives of the people she works with every day. Today, she’s here to share some of her experiences in running her own business.
1. When did you first know you wanted to be a photographer?
When I was in the 9th grade. I became the photo editor of the Ramay Jr. High yearbook staff. Haha. But seriously. Ever since then it was my dream to become a professional photographer.
2. What we’re some of the small, difficult steps that you had to walk in order to get to where you are today?
Goodness. I’m not the most business minded or administratively gifted person. So that has been a struggle and HUGE sharpening experience for me to learn to do it well.
3. What are the main ways you have changed as a photographer from the first time you started your business until now?
My style has changed and evolved into something I am completely proud of. For the beginning of most amateur photographers “careers” it’s incredibly hard to not copy or compare yourselves to other successful professionals. It was so important to me even as a 19 year old to not copy another artist. It made it harder at the start but I love that I can proudly say I started my business honestly. My style wasn’t the cleanest, pretty posey and very saturated. As I grew I became more confident in how to work my camera and with that my individual style blossomed.
4. What are some of the most difficult and rewarding things about working for yourself?
One of the most rewarding things about working for myself is having the freedom to shoot whenever I want. Whether it’s just for fun by myself or a shoot for a client. I’m the one that makes my schedule. So much freedom. It is an amazing blessing to get to run your own dream job, especially at my age. Trying my hardest to not take it for granted. One of the most difficult things about working for myself has been time management. See how those both go hand in hand? Vicious cycles can ensue if I’m not careful. Still learning how to do this better.
5. What do you love about photography?
I love capturing that one magical perfect moment.. Over and over. I LOVE meeting new people and hearing their stories. I just love people in general. And love talking. I love that feeling knowing I have helped make my client comfortable and confident in front of the camera. I also love Jesus and He is truly the reason my business is successful and my clients are comfortable.
6. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Pray before each and every shoot. Helps calm me down and focus on the One who gave me this gift. This helps me be less prideful by placing The Lord before myself. He guides me on shoots. Thank goodness.
7. What advice would you give to others wanting to do freelance work full-time?
This is the hardest job to have if you are wanting a perfectly consistent salary. Especially starting out. Keep your mind open and money managed to help get you through the slower months. If this is something you feel called to do then be bold and tackle it head on. Don’t do it halfway. If you’re making this your full-time job then put in the full-time hours. It is really easy to let the day slip into nothingness when you don’t have the accountability to punch a clock. Own it and do it well.
*Side Note: I must say, I’m a big fan of Mrs. Maura Griesse. She’s my boss, and one of the sweetest, selfless, intentional people I’ve ever worked with & known. Thanks for being great, Maura. I’m continually learning from the way you do life, faith, and business. Love ya x