Job title and company: Owner and lead photographer, Dani Fine Photography, Thornes Marketplace, 150 Main St., Northampton
Your duties: Photographing, managing business, marketing, advertising, organizing and shooting styled photos.
How did you land your job? I started my own business right after graduating from Hallmark Institute of Photography and it’s been growing ever since. Early on, however, I paid my dues working non-photography positions and later apprenticing with a studio. Those experiences are invaluable and taught me a lot.
What’s most challenging about your work? The most challenging part would be my dedication to always improving and achieving more with each and every wedding, boudoir session or styled shoot. I have found that in business, it is imperative to not only be innovative, but also dedicated to continual improvement. I always try to top whatever I did last, to do better than my best.
What do you like about your job? Photography allows the Dani team to illuminate those highly artful moments that are sometimes overlooked as ordinary. Our lives move so quickly these days, and yet I have the express pleasure of slowing things down and guiding our clients to ponder the beauty of life. Over the 14 years I’ve had this business, I’ve developed a keen sense of timing. In fact, our whole team has a knack for it. For instance, we recently had a family with a darling little girl, Charlotte, in the studio. It was a fun and memorable shoot because moments before, unbelievably, Charlotte took her very first steps while an attentive photographer captured the whole thing unfolding in those few moments.
What is your key to success? I think having a strong team is key. Though I did initially start this business on my own, having the studio in Thornes Marketplace and a clever and talented team has made this business not only successful, but rewarding on a personal level as well.
How do you feel the Valley economy will fare this year? I think the economy in the Valley is doing well and increasing exponentially. I have seen an influx of new business. Families, couples and individuals are now, more than ever, interested in boutique photography with an artistic point of view.
Why did you choose to do business in the Valley? This is the best place on earth. We are perfectly situated between Boston, New York City, the Berkshires and Connecticut. Being able to take a relatively quick drive and have access to the seaside, historic sites, metropolitan areas, pastures, woodlands and mountains is pretty fantastic. The people here are great, too.
Who has helped mentor you professionally? I wouldn’t say that I have one particular person who has been a mentor, though my husband, Keith Williams, co-owner of Dani, has been a constant and unbelievable support in my business and my life. I really value his insight and would not be where I am today without him.
Name a few of your goals for the coming year: Our team and I intend on booking many more boudoir sessions, doing some location weddings and collaborating with select local businesses on some styled shoots. This past year, we’ve been getting published in quite a few wedding and design blogs.
Tell us a little-known fact about you: I was once vegan for two weeks (I’m kind of a wuss). I have an undeniable love for Go-berry and designer bags.
What is your advice for others seeking business success? I think every business experiences a learning curve, however you have to have the ability to improve, strategize and move forward.