I think there’s a period in life where many of us take for granted the importance of getting photos done. Capturing that moment in our lives that we’ll never get back. Our children are only little once. Our parents won’t live forever. Capturing the memories of love, happiness and growth is important to my family and with this, I have the pleasures of introducing to you, the lovely lady who makes this possible for us. She’s not only a wonderful photographer; she’s a kind-hearted soul who truly cares about every person she raises her lens to. Meet Amanda Andre from Amanda Andre Photoarts.
Let’s see just what Amanda had to say in our interview.
Describe your business
I am a Saskatoon photographer that specializes in the little years. I love photographing maternity, newborn, children and family sessions. I love capturing connection with families, the little moments that are oh-so- fleeting and creating beautiful art to be loved for generations. As time goes on, I'm adding graduate sessions to the bookings as my clients are growing up with me in the business!
What drives you to do what you do? What motivates you?
So many times in life I am reminded that life is just so precious and short. I really enjoy building relationships with my clients (who often quickly become friends!), growing with their family and becoming part of their family traditions! It feels great when customers come back year after year saying how previous photos captured memories they didn't realize were so important.
What has surprised you most when owning your own business?
So. Much. Paperwork. I am a registered and insured Saskatoon business with a PST & GST number. Keeping track of all the little things and numbers is "yawn"...boring. So I do what I can to keep up my books and at tax time I have a wonderful team of accountants that help me!
What was it like when you first started?
I have had unofficial photography gigs as far back as 2005, (friends grads, weddings) mostly as favors to friends/family. I really enjoyed capturing those memories. When my son was born--of course I now had a little photography model of my own!--I was motivated to start my own business! I started in October 2009 and it was both exciting and terrifying. I was a Crisis Counsellor at YWCA Shelter & Residence and becoming a photographer was a side business. My business boomed quickly, so I took the leap and became a full time photographer and left YWCA Shelter & Residence in January 2013. I grew up in Martensville and my business began with a lot of my school friends as well as coworkers. I've been able to capture their memories as they've gotten married and had kids. I also remember, in the very beginning, posting an ad on kijiji for my sessions and I still to this day have several of those clients as my regular year after year clients! So many years later and returning clients and referrals now keep me SOLIDLY booked! I am so very grateful!
What is something people don’t know about your business?
For the past 10 years I have been the volunteer for Santa photos at YWCA shelter. It is the same Mr & Mrs Claus that volunteer each year to come and give the children (and women!) such joy!
I'm also a volunteer photographer for Empty Arms Perinatal Loss Support. Empty Arms is a registered local charity that helps families that are experiencing baby loss. One of the many ways they help is in hospital, immediately after a loss. It is not the easiest thing to walk into someone's immense grief & pain and just hold space in your heart for them, but I know these images have been some of the most important images I will ever take. It allows the family to look back at the images and remember their child and any memories they were able to create with him/her (bath, dress, snuggle, kiss, meet siblings, etc). Some of the families I have served have told me the images I have taken were instrumental in helping them in their grief.
What would your customers say they love most about doing business with you?
That the session is personable and they feel comfortable with me. I often leave a session with the clients saying that it was so much fun, and that they really enjoyed themselves. I take the time to get to know my families and I really do look forward to seeing them! We also have a lot of laughs and I work to make sure we are creating wonderful memories to go along with the photos not just a "pretty picture"
What are some odd requests you've had from customers/clients?
I had a dad who wore a Hawaiian shirt with pineapples all over it to an extended family session with a total of 25 people. Mom asked if I could photoshop all the pineapples to make it a simple black collared shirt for each of the photos in the session! Needless to say, thankfully he had a plain black t-shirt underneath and we used that instead!
How do you motivate and encourage yourself?
Making a list of families session dates helps me stay on track and keep them in cue. It's rewarding to check things off my list. I also keep open lines of communication with my clients and find satisfaction in under-promising and over-delivering to keep my clients impressed and coming back. Let's not forget that music really motivates me and I crank those tunes (or a good true crime podcast!) while I edit!
Where do you see your business in the next years?
I would like to expand and also offer lifestyle newborn sessions meaning less posing and more natural, open arms moments. I enjoy capturing real life memories in my clients homes, and would love to include more sessions like those.
What are your greatest challenges?
Culling/sorting through sessions. I can tend to be an over-shooter when it comes to young kids in order to make sure I get the shot with the most adorable smile, the prettiest eyes, the perfect lighting, etc.
Weather!!! Ack. Rescheduling because of the weather is always a challenge! Late spring/early summer can also be a tricky time as my favourite light is that gorgeous evening golden light, but it can hard to for parents of young kids to choose a late session time when the sun sets at 10:00pm!
Time management is a trend with any parent! Especially when I don't have the same set hours each day that I am in the office or at sessions. I try to focus on editing when I am in the office so I can limit my hours to keep a realistic schedule that works to keep some balance to family/friends/self! It's always a struggle to maintain that balance for any parent!
What is something most people don’t know about you?
I love camping in the summer with my husband Aaron, 10 yr old son Zeke, 8 yr old daughter Joslyn and our dog Macy. I also love traveling, reading, yoga, baking, true crime podcasts, music, and crafting!
What do you love most about your town/city?
So many beautiful locations for photos! The River Valley, campus, parks, downtown, fields, Forestry Farm; the list is endless! And I find new locations all the time. I also love that we aren't too big of a city that these locations are hours away! I love that Saskatoon is like a big city with the small town feel.
Why do you think it is important for people to support local?
Money spent locally stays locally! Our communities benefit immensely from customers choosing local. For example, you buy your coffee here and its staying with this family, helping these families to be employed and build up their own families. Our community is what supports our communities growth.
What are your favorite restaurants?
As a family we like Pink Cadillacs and Bus Stop Refreshments. With my husband we enjoy Ayden Kitchen & Bar, Congress and O’Sheas Irish Pub.
What are your favorite things to do locally?
I love supporting local for groceries when I can!
A neighbor and I split a large veggie bag weekly subscription through Spring Creek Garden. The produce is AMAZING and encourages me to try new items. As a bonus, it was picked only a day or two before!!
We subscribe to Pine View Farms family meat box subscription. This has been a game changer with meal planning as there are easy and amazing recipes for some new & unique meats, as well as traditional favorites like ground beef, chicken breast, etc. We love it!
When we aren't camping in our beautiful province or around Canada, we check out local parks, SUM Theatre in the park, Taste of Saskatchewan, Nutrien Fireworks Festival or many other amazing festivals and attractions Saskatoon has to offer.
Amanda Andre Photoarts
Facebook page: www.facebook.com/amandaandrephotoarts
Instagram page: www.instagram.com/amandaandrephotoarts