Magical Maternity Moments: Balancing Fine Art Photography and Family with Olguta Goddard

There’s nothing quite like maternity photography. It’s a short time in a mother’s life, and it’s not an experience guaranteed to every woman who wants it. So when the moment finally arrives, being able to celebrate and commemorate this special experience is such an honor for maternity photographers.

For Olguta Goddard, it’s very personal as well. Like many of her clients, she had a long journey to pregnancy and motherhood, so being able to provide beautiful memories of such a cherished time is extra special to her. She loves it so much that she’s niched down her whole photography business to only fine art maternity shoots, so she can focus her energy on her favorite type of art and her family as well.

On today’s episode, Olguta shares why she’s so passionate about maternity photography, some of her favorite moments with clients, how she manages her work and editing process to provide amazing images to her clients, and why it’s so important to her to protect her time and energy for herself, her family and her business and how she sets her prices with that in mind. 

What’s in this episode:

  • [03:05] Why maternity photography is so personal for Olguta, and why she’s chosen to only focus on that type of photography
  • [09:17] How working with a model and doing personal projects helps Olguta fight creative burnout
  • [11:53] How Olguta coordinates styling for her sessions and why she loves that process so much (it feels like a celebration!)
  • [15:55] Why Olguta restructured her business to better accommodate both her clients and her family activities
  • [20:28] How Olguta manages the editing process for her fine art photography 
  • [26:50]&[30:17] Why it’s so important for photographers to protect their own and energy and reflect that value in their pricing
  • [29:30] Why Olguta finds maternity photography so joyful and magical
  • [37:27] Why Olguta is so interested in videography as a complement to her fine art photography

If maternity photography is your jam, tune in to this magical episode with Olguta Goddard.

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Meet Olguta Goddard

Olguta is a fine art maternity photographer based out of San Diego California and specializes in fully styled maternity sessions. She has been in the industry for almost 10 years and aims to bring whimsy and ethereal elegance to her client images. When not behind the lens, she is a mama to two crazy boys, a wife to a prior Marine, and loves adventuring! You can find her as a Resident Instructor for Summerana Academy and she enjoys helping other photographers reach their creative goals! 

Connect with Olguta

Olguta’s website

Follow Olguta on Instagram

Follow Olguta on Facebook

Did this episode with Olguta make you appreciate the magic of maternity photography? Check out another episode from Ashly Collins

Transcript

[00:00:00] Olguta Goddard Whatever I know, I mean, none of us are pros at anything, so I’m always being willing to kind of talk to anybody about anything, you know, people ask, and I’m truly an open book, and I don’t, I don’t gatekeep or hold something back, especially with my fellow creatives. I love chatting and throwing off ideas and sharing experiences and being able to have that connection with your community I think is so important and being an open book about it, it just takes so much less effort to be open and be, you know, kind of kind to each other in this industry than it does to be have any animosity. So for me, that’s been really important. 

[00:00:40] Lisa DiGeso Welcome to the Art and Soul Show, where we dove into heart opening chats on photography, business, life and that messy in-between. I’m your host, Lisa DiGeso a mom, a photographer and entrepreneur. And I’ll be sharing honest conversations and advice for photographers with insight on mindset, entrepreneurship and creativity. The goal of this podcast is for you to be able to gain insights and strategies that will get you real results. Because, let’s face it, having a photography business can be lonely, but it doesn’t have to be. This is the place you can go when you need a boost of encouragement, a kick in the pants and inspiration to pick up your camera. This is the Art and Soul Show. Hello, my beautiful friends. Welcome back to the show. I am super excited to dove into today’s conversation with Olguta Goddard. I fell in love with her incredible work on Instagram a few years ago and I am so excited to connect with her and chat. All things maternity. She’s a fine art maternity photographer based out of San Diego, California, and specializes in a fully styled maternity sessions. She’s been in the industry for almost ten years and aims to bring whimsy and ethereal elegance to her client images when not behind the lens. She is a mama to two crazy boys, a life to a prior marine, and loves adventuring. Without further ado, here is all. Welcome. 

[00:02:05] Olguta Goddard Hi. Thank you so much. I’m so honored to be here. 

[00:02:08] Lisa DiGeso So tell us who you are and really what you’re passionate about. 

[00:02:12] Olguta Goddard Yeah. So I’m all good. I am based in San Diego, like Lisa mentioned, and I’m a maternity photographer and it feels kind of wild to just say that that’s all I do, but that’s all I am currently working on. Over the years that were I guess initially I had started off kind of shooting a little bit of everything like most of us do, and it’s kind of as time went on, I found my heart was really drawn to just maternity photography, which is I think is amazing and kind of condenses all of your energy into what you love to do the most. And for me, that really has kind of propelled my work. And it’s a it’s a good feeling to really just do what you love and it’s okay to just say, I just do this or I specialize in this, but for me it’s amazing. So it’s been a lot of fun. 

[00:02:55] Lisa DiGeso I love that. So because you specialize in maternity photography, can you really share your why and like dig into why you love it so much and why you chose to specialize in it? 

[00:03:05] Olguta Goddard That’s a great question. And I always love hearing people’s like, kind of like how they got into it. So for me, it ended up kind of going that route and specializing in it was more of a reflection of what I what I was going through personally. So we had a long infertility journey with getting my boys. We struggled for seven years and you know, for the longest time I was kind of yearning for those photos you would see all over social media and kind of that experience that you would always hear people sharing, you know, their photographer and like the locations and their dresses. And, you know, as a photographer myself, capturing those moments for other people. And like, I wasn’t getting that opportunity, you know, I was celebrating with them. And I was I was truly, genuinely excited with them. But I was like thinking, when is it my turn? So it was so fun. When I finally got that chance, I realized, wow, like this is like what I waited forever for. And like, all those days I used to, like, wish for that day. Here it is. And I realized how truly special that opportunity was and that it was never a day I was potentially it was never going to happen. So getting that opportunity, I realized, like, this is this is what my heart is drawn to celebrate in that moment, because it was never guaranteed. It wasn’t guaranteed for me. And, you know, it’s not guaranteed for my clients. So I really kind of used my journey and the heartbreak of the losses to celebrate that amazing moment. So for me, being able to kind of do that for my clients, you know, a lot of them have gone through IVF struggles. A lot of them have waited for this maybe a long time. And like here we are in here, we’re going to do this big. So it’s been fun to kind of be the driving force for them and kind of navigate that for them, just knowing how special that chance is. 

[00:04:45] Lisa DiGeso I love that so much. I don’t know if you know I’m an IVF mama as well.  I am. 

[00:04:50] Olguta Goddard You are! It is, you know, special. Like, that’s what always, like, touches my heart. Like, there’s no guarantee that me and these clients we’re ever going to meet. I’m like, here we are now we tell them, like, we’re going to end the session with you in a ball gown in the ocean. Because, like, we waited a long time for this chance and we may not get to do it again. So this is it, like when in Rome we’re doing all the things. 

[00:05:09] Lisa DiGeso Exactly. I love that. 

[00:05:10] Olguta Goddard It’s so. 

[00:05:11] Lisa DiGeso Special. It becomes a celebration for your clients. And it it really is. I love that. So you don’t do newborns. So because I have because I am a maternity a 16 journey like that’s why I love maternity, but I love newborn too because it’s. 

[00:05:25] Olguta Goddard Oh, I love newborns and you have to photograph them. But after having my boys and as they got older, it kind of just mom life had to pivot a little bit. I’m like, I just don’t have the time to dedicate big blocks of time away from my kids while being able to, like, help in their classroom and go on field trips. So yeah, now we just do maternity and that that’s so good. 

[00:05:44] Lisa DiGeso I love it. So when you’re working with maternity clients and they obviously would fall in love with you, do you get a lot of questions? Can you do a newborn, too? 

[00:05:53] Olguta Goddard They do ask. They definitely do ask. And I just have a lot of friends who were even leaving network of photographers locally. And I’m like, let me just send you over to my friends who are amazing at that. And we developed a really great partnership where we kind of refer to one another. I have some photographer friends who don’t do maternity, they just do one. So it’s kind of the same but different. And it, it really has kind of helped expand the network locally and the being able to refer to one another. And clients know that we trusted each other with, you know, the referrals. So let’s work that just fine. It was scary, I will tell you, it was scary to drop that and just do one thing. It was scary to drop my like family fall sessions. I kind of transitioned to just doing maternity by dropping little things one at a time, but you kind of understand they see what you’re passionate about. And as scary as it is, at the end of the day, I think most of them still support that. And though they’re fun, they still culture. You want to journey, so it all works out. It was a bigger deal in my head. Kind of a great thing. Oh my gosh. I’m going to break all these people’s hearts or I’m not going to see my babies like all these babies, you know, in their sessions. And I did just recently actually offer like a styled Mommy and me session because I wanted to see all my babies back. And that actually has been really fun. It still gives me the opportunity that really dress them up and celebrate them and like, you know, here was this baby when I last saw them, they were in your belly and now they’re in your arms. And so that’s been fun to kind of explore, but that’s super brand new, so we’re just going to skip right over that. But yeah, it all works out. It really does. 

[00:07:21] Lisa DiGeso I love that I’ve been in a bit of a process where I’ve been stripping away things and really deciding that I want to just natus new maternity newborn. And it is been like really interesting how like just the process because you do you think it’s scarier than it actually is and like the support of your clients are like, wow, like good for you just deciding to do what you love. That’s fantastic. 

[00:07:45] Olguta Goddard I think our creative hearts do you want to kind of do everything and please everybody and and kind of like expand as much as we can. But the end of the day, like, what you want to do is just as important as what your clients want you to do. Exactly. So and that kind of reflects new work I feel, too. So it it works out. 

[00:08:02] Lisa DiGeso It’s so true. It’s so true. Because you can tell you can tell you absolutely love what you do. And it does come across in your work. 

[00:08:09] Olguta Goddard I hope so. 

[00:08:09] Lisa DiGeso Thank you. So do you find do you find like when you have a session with a client, are you going to like multiple locations or are they specifically doing like the beach? Like, how do your sessions run? 

[00:08:19] Olguta Goddard Yeah. So I offer a few different packages, but they are specific to one location just to kind of allow us to capitalize on that like perfect time of day, the good lighting. So I offer studio session outdoor which is and ends up being more like woodsy and then a half hour sessions. So they get to pick depending on what they’re kind of most drawn to, the style of the locations that kind of speak to them. Being that I’m three miles from the beach, a lot of them do kind of end up defaulting to that. But I get a good mix either way, which is really fun for me because on Sunday I had three sessions. I went from Woodsy to the studio to the beach, so I get to kind of get out and about, but it’s really fun being able to kind of change it up constantly, depending on what the weather vision is for their session. 

[00:09:02] Lisa DiGeso Love that. Now, when I was doing my research on you, I love that you have a section on your website for a model search. I thought that was absolutely genius. So how often are you doing personal projects versus client work or using your models? 

[00:09:17] Olguta Goddard Yeah, so I do a lot of I do mostly client work, of course, but I do work with designers. For example, I shoot like new lines or new gowns or I just have personal project. I just want to get out and shoot. Like if I have a break in my schedule or really even if I’m just kind of feeling burnt out. Funny enough for me, but I find What I find I need to do when I kind of like get that feel, you know, that feeling. We all know that feeling. 

[00:09:40] Lisa DiGeso Oh, the burnt out like not inspired feeling I feel. 

[00:09:44] Olguta Goddard For turn me like as much as I want to like lay on the couch and veg out like that is always a sign to me that I need to go to model and I need to take them into the woods or go somewhere, grab my favorite dress and like just do something with the model. Because I find that obviously someone provide the model beautiful images because you don’t have that same pressure to perform her model as I find you do for a client, especially if you tell them, Hey, I have this like new creative project I’m working on, or I have some new things I want to try. They’re completely open to it. They’re not expecting anything specific out of you, and I just makes them like so much more willing to kind of do anything and everything. So whenever I get into that rut, getting a model out there really helps out. So it’s nice to have that collection of models who have applied, and I leave it on my website. Just because you never know who stumbles across your website, they might not be able to afford me, for example. But they say, You know what, let me just throw my name in the hat. And so I have some people who are. And they’re only eight weeks along. So now they go into my database and whenever I have something come up, I can go in there and take a look to see kind of where they’re at with their due date. Take a look at photos, learn a little bit about them. Sometimes they’ll apply and I’m like, You know what? I was just going to post a model call and boom, there it is. And it just kind of works out magically that way, but it’s really nice to have it at the fingertips and not have them mom groups or not have to post social media because that tends to kind of not devalue. But you know, when you’re constantly posting from articles that kind of almost waiting, especially when like in my case I just do maternity, I find that people kind of like that cover me when they’re waiting there. Waiting. Yeah. And so it’s from a business standpoint, it’s nice to just kind of have that option to take a look and see if there’s someone that fits what my vision wants for the model call and not have to post it. 

[00:11:28] Lisa DiGeso I love it. Well, I actually when I was like I actually I’m in the process of redesigning my website and I sent it to my designer and I was like, This is absolutely brilliant. We do something like this. Yeah. So I am. I love it. I love it. So it’s so genius. So can you share a little bit about your session process when it comes to makeup and hairstyling and dress styling, what methods do you use? So it works altogether? 

[00:11:53] Olguta Goddard Yeah, that’s my favorite. I love I love it. So all my sessions are fully styled, which means I have a collection of gowns I’ve invested in over the years. It’s currently about 230 gowns, so it does get a little crazy, but it’s so fun. And for me, kind of offers my clients an opportunity to dress up and like, again, we’re celebrating my like, we’re not like as cute as they looked and their old Navy dress that they came to the reception in like we’re doing this thing. We waited a long time for this to happen. So dressing up and getting all dolled up and making a special occasion out of it is really important to me. And once in a while I’ll have people ask like, do I have to wear a dress? And like the I was like, hurts my heart a little bit. Like, you know, as if they, you know, maybe we’re not a good fit and, you know, that’s okay. There’s lots of offers who love them more lifestyle, more authentic photo session. But as far as a styling person, I send them out a well once they send out a list of referrals for a hair makeup artist. I don’t personally coordinate that specifically. I used two years back, I included in my package and for me just makes for tricky taxes, especially in California. So I like to kind of eliminate the middleman, but I do send them a list that I feel confident in and I can make the connection, introduce them to my makeup artist, but I kind of let them pick whoever they are drawn to, you know, just like lots of styles. So they at least have kind of a starting point from their or styling with the dresses. I have an online gal gallery, I just use 67, but I have all my dresses and pixi set and then they’re able to like click their favorites and I can see them on my end. And that way there’s no like, you know, potentially confusing gowns if I want the purple one or I want this one. So I love having it a pixie sex at any given point, I can take a look to see what images they favorited and then pull those further sessions. So I love that makes it so easy. And then as far as that session goes, that’s planning. I do love sending out kind of little prop guys, the little things to remember, you know, with shoes, with ironing your clothes with, you know, what to have the partners, where are the kids, where it kind of puts all that information on one spot for them. And it makes say, I like it kind of take the stress off when they get one whole email that says, here’s your session, date, location, time, what to do your don’t forget your nails, don’t forget your hair. All these little things in one spot gives them kind of a point of reference, and they’re not having to kind of scramble for like all these bits of pieces of information elsewhere. And then I take care of the rest. They shop at their session, I bring the dresses there, we kind of go on location. So once they get to the session, I take care of the rest. But everything prior to that is really easy to sell done online. 

[00:14:32] Lisa DiGeso I love that. Now how do you store all the dresses? I have to ask. 

[00:14:37] Olguta Goddard So I just recently opened the studio in March. Prior to that they were in my house, so they were taking up like my master closet gone. You didn’t need to hang up clothes. I’ll just put everything in jars. So a master closet, my kids closets. I had multiple racks in my garage. They were taking up my whole house. 

[00:14:52] Lisa DiGeso So much space, you know? 

[00:14:53] Olguta Goddard I mean, when go move them into my studio, my husband joked. He’s like, If I knew you had this most dresses, this many dresses, I would have rented your U-Haul. I’m like, me too guy, because they were everywhere. And you know, like when you move out of the house there, you don’t realize how much stuff you have until you open up all the cabinet. Yeah, yeah. So I started loading them into the back of my SUV. I dropped all the benches. We’re like loading or like doing multiple trips, and that’s when, like, it became like a reality. I was like, oh my gosh, it’s a lot of gowns. So, you know, it’s fine. We made it now. They’re all beautifully organized in my studio. I have a whole gown room and they’re are rainbow order it. It’s like the most glorious side into that and knowing kind of where to go and I don’t have to search for them. So that part has been. 

[00:15:33] Lisa DiGeso Oh my gosh, you have to do like a 27 dresses montage. 

[00:15:37] Olguta Goddard That would be so fun. 

[00:15:40] Lisa DiGeso Well, let me get on social. I love it. So I have to ask, how do you manage balancing a family? Especially because I know with beach sessions you’re going to have to shoot in the evenings or early morning. So what advice do you have on balancing your family with that? 

[00:15:55] Olguta Goddard Oh, my goodness. So that that actually has been a struggle, especially in this last year as I’ve kind of pivoted. And for me, opening my studio is actually kind of went hand-in-hand with that. I was at a stage in my life where my kids are five and eight, so they’re old enough now to question you or to say you have to work again. You work last night or you work last weekend or you know, I was running into situations where I had something scheduled and then they something for them would come up like a random soccer tournament or whatever. I’m like, Yep, I just felt like I was missing so much of these little parts of life that you can’t plan. And as much as I had my sessions planned, other parts of my life were coming up and they just weren’t meshing well. So I actually opened up a studio to be able to shoot more during the day while they’re at school. And that did mean I was cutting back a bit on my outdoor availability. But I you know, initially it was it was kind of like I like doing it, like I’m going to miss out on seeing so many people at once. Yeah. And then I just realized it’s okay to do that. I know a lot of times, especially during a career, if you’re in it kind of for the long haul and your heart is there, you have to pivot. You have to kind of change things around a little bit. Otherwise you get burnt out or you’ll feel, you know, you’ll kind of be bombed out. You’re missing all these things every weekend and I just didn’t want to go there. So I opened up my studio to be able to take some clients into the studio, still do outdoors about, I would say 75% of the time and then not missed out on so much. Yeah, but it’s been it’s been for me kind of being able to balance that. You know, I use a family calendar on Google with my husband and you can kind of see when I have something scheduled and you know, he plans things for the kids to get them, you know, keep them occupied. But it’s definitely a balance. It’s not easy, but I think it’s doable as long as you kind of set expectations for yourself and you’re not. I feel like we’re so hard on ourselves sometimes where you kind of want to be everywhere all at the same time and you can’t. And that’s like where mental health starts to take a toll. I know something you kind of work through as well, so I had to just kind of like let it go. Like, if I can’t, if I have to say no to some, they will inquiry because I’m book like I had to learn that it’s okay to be busy or it’s okay to be fully booked. And that doesn’t mean like squeeze in another one. Like when you’re bulk to your book. 

[00:18:12] Lisa DiGeso You’re preaching to. I laugh because I was like, Oh, squeeze in. I was the queen of the squeeze. Yeah. 

[00:18:16] Olguta Goddard I always like, like into two or three sessions back to back. And while you can that you also then have to edit them, you have to communicate with those clients. So it’s not just like squeezing in an extra mini session before your full session, but yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s hard, but you have to just be realistic with yourself and kind of be kind to yourself navigating that because especially during this time of year where it’s really busy, your, our own lives are busy and then you add in a really busy career just kind of nature of the beast with fall season like it’s a lot. 

[00:18:46] Lisa DiGeso Exactly. Now I know a lot of our listeners are fairly new photographers and also seasoned photographers too, but do you have any advice for maybe having a supportive spouse while you work because I know that sometimes that’s not always the case for photographers. 

[00:19:03] Olguta Goddard Yeah, it’s not always the case. You’re right. And I’m so lucky. My husband’s absolutely amazing with that. He knows that it’s part of the nature of this career. And it’s not. It’s not an all day. We don’t go and we do. We do work all day. But as far as like sneaking away for a session, I think for me alone, that’s kind of the hardest part was missing, knowing that I’m here with your family while I’m missing my own or I’m missing out on whatever my kids have going on. But a lot of that just came down to communication. It’s like, I mean, this is what I’m doing right now for this hour. And then I’ll in a while I’ll take off a weekend. And that’s kind of why I was mentioning that it’s important to kind of be kind yourself and schedule those times away ahead time you know, market on a calendar like block off an entire weekend in Sharpie if you have to. So you can’t sit there and squeeze in something by kind of communicating and balancing that ahead of time with your spouse. Because obviously, like, if they’re taking on that burden while you’re gone, that’s a lot for them too. We do a lot of like back and forth pre-planning. I’ll preplan whole weekends off too. So everyone knows that. Yes, Mom has a really tough, really busy week, you know, Monday through Friday. But I had this whole weekend off, we’re going to do fun things and kind of hyping the kids up and the husband up ahead of time really has helped out. 

[00:20:15] Lisa DiGeso That’s awesome. How now you’re you like edit my fine art in a fine art way. So how how many many images are you usually giving to your clients and how long is it taking you to edit each image? 

[00:20:28] Olguta Goddard That that’s a loaded question. So my sessions include three, six or ten images. I go from more quality versus quantity and not that I mean they can have more I. This is kind of my base base packages. They get to choose their own images. I showed them a proof gallery, which is just images ran through through Lightroom. And then once they pick those images, then I do my kind of fine art stuff. I love Lightroom has allowed us now with like the use of masks and stuff. I’m able to kind of get my image pretty close to the final version of it through Lightroom and kind of give clients a really realistic expectation for what their final image will look like, but they’re able to kind of pick their images. And then I’m not I used to just like fully edit like entire galleries and that’s a lot and I’ve…. From business standpoint, I’m like, I just spent hours like editing these and you know, they’re not. I do offer them for with the sessions, I offer my clients the option of purchasing a completely complete collection as they are, because I’ve managed to kind of hone in on my shooting style, my out of camera images, plus the Lightroom tweaks, and now with the addition of masks and being able to like, you know, brighten your subject and darken your background, that kind of gives you that more dynamic image. My proof galleries are beautiful as it is. You know, they don’t they don’t have to skin retouching or the extra artistic flair yet. But clients are oftentimes okay with that, especially as a keepsake gallery. So they still get to pick their looks. They top ten. I do my magic edits on that and then they get the rest of the gallery as is minus. I will I will Photoshop out like the gown tosser or any rogue hiker in the background. So they do have that option as well. But editing, if I’m just focusing on it’s eight, ten images, sometimes it’ll take up to an hour per night. Outdoor beach sessions will take an hour sometimes. And it does sound long from like a business perspective. I’m spending, you know, potentially 10 hours on this gallery, but you won’t be able to convince me that it’s not worth it. 

[00:22:31] Lisa DiGeso You know. 

[00:22:32] Olguta Goddard The things that I’m doing, I’m like, yes, they will see me like part D parting the see or yeah, now my reshaping leave sometimes and I realize how ridiculous that is. Like from a business standpoint. Like that leaf needs to be reshaped. So it’s, it’s worth it. In the end, I find that the images just look so much more polished and my clients appreciate that. 

[00:22:51] Lisa DiGeso I love that I am a fine art photographer as well, and I really find that I really enjoy the editing process at times. And you kind of just get into this flow state that you look at the clock, you’re like, I didn’t even realize I’ve spent an hour on this one image. It’s almost like painting. Yes. And and you and. Yeah, I just I really find that. So an I am an over shooter and I really struggle because I started trying to merge my fine art with my over delivery and oh, my goodness, I mean, spending so much time. So at this point, I’m actually taking a year off from taking client work just to kind of get myself and figure out what I want to do, how do I want to have this business and how is this going to work for me where I win and not feel like I am giving everything away for like really free? Yeah. 

[00:23:39] Olguta Goddard So that’s so true. I mean, if photographers are so guilty of that, it’s hard to kind of value your time as a creative and. 

[00:23:44] Lisa DiGeso Yes, but. 

[00:23:45] Olguta Goddard Realize like you have to charge for that. I mean. 

[00:23:48] Lisa DiGeso Yeah, even though you love it. Yeah, you have to get paid. Yeah. 

[00:23:53] Olguta Goddard At the end of the day, it’s a business and we have to, I mean, otherwise it’s okay to work from your heart and do these things that are amazing, but you’re doing it to pay the bills and to make a living out of it, you have to charge for it. 

[00:24:06] Lisa DiGeso So with your model costs, what is your turnaround time for them and how do you said that expectation? Because honestly, that is something that I do struggle with. Yeah. Is that even though you’ve been the model call, you’ve done the work and you’ve told them like it’s going to be a certain amount of time, you’re you still get ridden. Yeah. So how do you deal with that? 

[00:24:25] Olguta Goddard So I just make that as part of like their contracts. I make my model calls apply and I make them sign or fill out a contract. Just like with anything else. You kind of sets the expectations what they’re getting when they’re getting it. And I do put on that the turnaround time is 4 to 6 weeks. Very rarely does it actually get to be like that. But in fairness to my clients, my model call sessions, especially if it’s like a creative session, those have to kind of take the backburner until like kind of get through my actual client sessions so they know it takes a little bit longer. I do send out sneak peeks because obviously I’m just as excited about the session as they were. And I know they’re not home, you know, wanting to see an image. Plus it gives them in posting a sneak peek, it gives them the opportunity to share that with their friends. And for me, it kind of now reaches a new network of people, which is why I do. Though I’ve been in the industry for so long, I do still do model sessions or model calls. Even my little creative sessions are just I have a free a free day off session. Let me just shoot a model or she shoot a new gown. Ultimately, what that does is it reaches a new network of people, and that’s kind of how that helps grow my business when they share it with their friends. And it’s, you know, there’s no connection to other clients and now their friends see it. You know, you get new followers, new. Things like that. So for me, moral calls have definitely been beneficial and kind of constantly expanding who I’m reaching. 

[00:25:47] Lisa DiGeso So what would your dream session be? 

[00:25:50] Olguta Goddard Oh, my gosh. So anything that involves fall or eye color. So right now, this time of year especially, I love traveling to like Colorado during the fall. We don’t get so much of that in California. So our falls here go from like green to dry, which yeah, then I have to edit in Photoshop in its filing and it looks like fall by the time we’re done with it. But I love like the Pacific Northwest and just any region that has an abundance of color this time of year especially. I’m so envious of my friends like back east or in the in like Washington, for example. Just the abundance of fall trees and color colored color is so amazing. 

[00:26:29] Lisa DiGeso I love it. I’d love to see you do a snow session. 

[00:26:33] Olguta Goddard Amazing. I did one years and years ago, but it was kind of on a whim and not at all how I would do it today. But that would be fun. We have snow only like 45 minutes away from here, so that might be on my winter bucket list. Do it. 

[00:26:45] Lisa DiGeso So, what do you wish more photographers knew? 

[00:26:50] Olguta Goddard Gosh, we touched to touch a bit on this already with valuing your time, we we want to kind of please everybody and do all the things and shoot all the things. And, you know, we sometimes feel bad for charging for things, whether it’s the initial session fee or whether it’s for, you know, extra retouching or, you know, little things. Ultimately, what we’re doing is providing someone something so invaluable. And that doesn’t come at a cost. Right? We’re giving from our own to provide to others. And that’s beautiful and it’s amazing. And it’s it’s something that I know they appreciate, but you have to value yourself and your time. There’s only so much of that, right? And so here we are doing all these things and we really have to kind of be cautious with kind of how we navigate our businesses. Yeah, because you don’t want to constantly be giving, giving, giving. You know, we struggle with placing value on something that comes from our soul, but it’s so important. 

[00:27:46] Lisa DiGeso It’s so important. And that was a hard lesson learned was boundaries. 

[00:27:49] Olguta Goddard It is. And I think when you’re newer to the industry, that is a hard thing to navigate. I feel like that might be why a lot of photographers get burnt out and kind of start tapering off or a drop out of the industry altogether. I feel like it’s not for the faint of heart when you’re in the spotlight working 24 seven, but it’s it’s it’s manageable if you just kind of really have expectations for yourself and your business. 

[00:28:11] Lisa DiGeso Exactly. I love that. What makes your soul light up? 

[00:28:15] Olguta Goddard Oh, my goodness. The way my clients react to not that even not necessarily even the final images, but just during a session only. So I’m back on camera. I’m like, Yeah, I see this like that when you are when they see and they’re like, Is that really me now? Always like, tell me like, I hope you feel as beautiful as you look right now, like perched up on this rock or wherever, whatever they’re doing. At some point in this session, I always like, remind my clients of that, like, I hope you feel as pretty as everyone else sees you because you are getting compliments from like random passer buyers or hikers or whatever. And we’re all like, you know, truly oohing. And I got at them, but I really hope that internally they feel that as well, and I know they do, but seeing them light up with like the image of themselves. So kind of what we’re capturing I’ve had I’ll never forget out of mom who she struggled for 13 years with IVF and we, you know, we got her dressed and I put her crown on her. We put earrings on her. We were at the beach and she, like, grabs my hand or freezes and she’s like, starts bawling like, girl, you’re going to ruin your makeup. She’s like, We’re doing that. So she got chills. I got chills again, thinking of her. Yeah. She’s like, I’ve waited forever for this. Like, we’re really doing this. It’s like we’re doing it and we’re so doing it. And the entire session she was just like Cloud nine. And at the end she was like, I was like, We did it. She can start buying and I’m balling and everyone’s just a mess. Like, you know, just having, having them light up with that genuine excitement for what they’re going through. And it’s so simple for us. It’s, you know, an hour away or an hour with them for the session. But to them, it means so much more in knowing that you’re providing them with amazing images that they’ll be able to look back on. You know, the sessions, not just the simple. It’s not just as simple as, you know, going into the what’s for an hour, you know, going to the beach for the session. Like they’ve waited a long time for that, you know, some of them. So being able to experience that with them and see their joy and giving them the opportunity to relive it through these photos is there’s nothing like it. It’s amazing. 

[00:30:11] Lisa DiGeso And I love that. Great answer. So what’s been the best piece of business advice you’ve ever been given? 

[00:30:17] Olguta Goddard Oh, goodness. I will tell you, I for me, I had someone ask once, what is your time away from your kids worth? It was at a at a conference and it was a speaker giving a speech, a speech on IPA. And I’m not an IPS photographer. I just do digital sales and I’m okay with that and. I was listening to her during her speech. And what she mentioned is, you know, everything that we do comes at a cost, right? Whether it’s a cost to your business, a cost to your time, a cost to your mental health.  Everything has a cost doesn’t necessarily have to be monetary costs. But the reason she was so passionate about IPS is that our time away as a photographer takes a toll or at a cost to other things like your family. As she said, what is your time away from your children worth to you? I think I like it. I mean, that is that always resonated with me because at that time I was charging so little. Everything I’m preaching about now, like that was me back then. And I know we all go through that and that’s totally okay. But I just that that kind of always stuck with me like I’m missing. I’m leaving away for an hour session. Plus, you know, the hour drive time there on the hour back, plus all the other little pieces of time when prepping for my session. That’s all the time away from my own family. Is that only worth 100 bucks? 

[00:31:43] Lisa DiGeso Yeah. 

[00:31:44] Olguta Goddard And so that always has stuck around, like, you know, it’s okay for us to charge our worth and charging it from the start. Even I almost I feel bad when I see photographers post like, oh, I’m doing sessions for $35. Yeah. Like you’re not, that’s not even covering gas now. So just really being able to kind of hone in on what’s important to you and is what you’re doing from your, you know, from a creative standpoint even worth that? 

[00:32:10] Lisa DiGeso Yeah. Oh, great advice. So you ready for the lightning round? 

[00:32:15] Olguta Goddard Oh, yes. Ready? 

[00:32:18] Lisa DiGeso Coffee or tea? 

[00:32:19] Olguta Goddard Oh, coffee all the way. What about you? 

[00:32:22] Lisa DiGeso You know what? Lately it’s been tea. It’s been like. Yeah, peppermint tea. 

[00:32:26] Olguta Goddard Oh, the peppermint tea is so good. 

[00:32:29] Lisa DiGeso What is the last thing you did for yourself as an indulgence? 

[00:32:34] Olguta Goddard Oh, gosh. Got my nails done. Does that count? Just. Yeah. I feel like as a photographer, I never use like during COVID, obviously, that that chance went out the window. And then when we got the opportunity to go back and, you know, go into the nail salon, I felt like I was like, my hands are constantly in someone’s face, in the camera. They’re constantly on display, no holding my camera or like, you know, fixing up their dresses or their jewelry or whatever. Like I deserve to get sparkly nails. And yeah, my nail, my nail tech. I always laugh and I always get glitter. Like, you’ll never find me without glitter nail polish I love, like, we’re just constantly out there. So it’s like, I have pretty fingers. 

[00:33:08] Lisa DiGeso I totally that was one thing. It was like going back and getting my nails, my lashes done. I was like, Oh, my gosh. I was trying like during pandemic time, I was trying to figure out how I could do it myself. It was a hot mess. Hilarious. I tried to do a gels that on myself. 

[00:33:23] Olguta Goddard Oh, I got it in College Street during the pandemic with nail polish stickers and like, Well, that worked. Okay, I’m like, this is nothing like not having the touch over do these things. 

[00:33:33] Lisa DiGeso What do you like to cook the most? 

[00:33:36] Olguta Goddard Anything warm and cozy, like a comfort food, especially nowadays going into the winter season. I love, like, chicken pot pie. Yeah, chicken and dumplings. Fish tacos. Gosh, you’re making me hungry. It’s almost like, right? Yeah. Anything comforting? 

[00:33:52] Lisa DiGeso Love it. What? Three things do you want to be remembered for? 

[00:33:56] Olguta Goddard You and loaded question, huh? I want to be remembered for how I interact with people during my sessions. They kind of come to life and their energy. We kind of dove off of each other. Like, I’m just naturally kind of like a natural hype woman, for it doesn’t matter what it is like. Everything’s exciting. And I and I do not let anyone in the way. Like, I’m not I’m not trying to, like, over dramatize a situation. Like, it’s exciting. Like, whatever we’re doing, like it’s an opportunity that you wouldn’t have had the chance to otherwise. So I want to be remembered for the way I interact with my clients and that kind of hype them up and like we’re genuinely excited for they’re excited for me and these images because there’s nothing worse when you show someone a back on camera and you get a Oh yeah, or like they don’t say anything. I’m like, Gosh, give me something else. So I love being able to interact with my clients in a way that they dove off of my energy and vice versa. I want to be remembered for, gosh, giving them the chance to relive, like I said, those little simple moments, as simple as it is standing there in the trailer, standing on the ocean, in the gown, those obviously become core memories. But they have these amazing photos on their walls that they get to see. Are these amazing tosses from the. I was I always hype up the husbands by saying like, you’re going to be able to tell her I did that like that awesome trust. I did that. So when you have it on your fireplace, it’s a constant opportunity to kind of relive that moment where we worked so hard for that task and we worked. We waited forever for this perfect wave to come crashing into the gown. And we got it so that oh, gosh, one more. Is it cliche to sell for being an open book? I am so, you know, going with. Yeah, I love it. Whatever. I know. I mean, none of us are pros at anything, so I’m always being willing to kind of talk to anybody about anything. You know, people ask and I’m truly an open book and I don’t, I don’t I gatekeeper. I hold nothing back. I love, especially with my fellow creatives I love, kind of chit chatting and throwing off ideas and sharing experiences and being able to have that connection with your community, I think is so important and being an. Up on book about it. It just takes so much less effort to be open and be, you know, kind of kind to each other in this industry than it does to be have any animosity. So for me, that’s been really important. 

[00:36:23] Lisa DiGeso I love that because that’s our huge thing too, is like community over competition. And I think that and that just shows also your confidence in yourself and your I as an artist too, that you won’t get because you’re like, hey, like it’s how I see the world and how you see the world are two different things. 

[00:36:40] Olguta Goddard That is so true. I love shooting. I love like when I do model calls, sometimes I’ll do it like with a friend or we’re all feeling burnt down. Like, Listen, we’re all going to go shoot in the middle of November because we can’t, even though we’re all burnt out, it kind of helps. You know, you’re halfway through a busy season, helps to kind of reignite your soul with all the creative energy. So sometimes I’ll go with that group of friends out of shoot. And it’s fascinating to see how three people can photograph the exact same model. And so different always be so different, both creatively and just like composition and editing. And it’s, it’s really fun to see, but it that community of competition is definitely so important. 

[00:37:17] Lisa DiGeso I love that. So I love to end my interviews just with this last question. And it is what are you curious about are artistically curious about right now? 

[00:37:27] Olguta Goddard Oh, I am super interested currently in videography. I’ve been working a lot with a videographer just in in the growing and growing need to have video incorporated into like Instagram and social media and just in general just that’s kind of where we’re headed to is as a world it seems. I started working with a videographer friend and he’s work with me either in either in my own sessions, like offer that to my clients as a kind of behind the scenes. Add on where the videographer videographer comes with me and he does he captures them in a way that photography can. It’s so neat to see to actually see that wave crashing into them or to actually see the gown blowing through the air. Yes, I capture that one split second of the image. But to kind of relive that moment, I think is a Sony. And I’ve always been fascinated by videography, but even more so lately in that I have these clips that I’m able to share on my social media and it’s so neat to see that. So I love to kind of know more about that, get better at it and incorporate that. I try to always like tell my videographer, I think I’m trying to channel my inner Joe with like I’m trying to pan pan from like the dress through the weaves to like come up on to my subject. And it’s, it’s, it’s definitely fun and fascinating to explore. So that’s been really interesting. 

[00:38:48] Lisa DiGeso Do you know what the turning your cell phone upside down trick. 

[00:38:52] Olguta Goddard I just am so funny to start out. I’m a real. Does that work? 

[00:38:55] Lisa DiGeso Oh, my gosh. You have to go out and try it. It makes everything like brony and like, really cinematic. It is so cool. 

[00:39:02] Olguta Goddard So do you just videotape everything upside down? 

[00:39:05] Lisa DiGeso You know what? Be pretty much. I just flip my phone around, press record and, like, all glide it through the weeds or like wherever and just kind of climb up to see your your subject, and then it automatically just flips around. 

[00:39:18] Olguta Goddard Oh, get out. 

[00:39:19] Lisa DiGeso Yeah, yeah. You don’t have to do anything. Yeah. 

[00:39:22] Olguta Goddard Oh, my gosh. That is fascinating. I’ll have to try that. 

[00:39:24] Lisa DiGeso And also, have you seen the thing that you can actually it’s it’s like a cell phone, the holder that can go onto your hot shoe. 

[00:39:32] Olguta Goddard Oh, I have. Yes, it’s. 

[00:39:33] Lisa DiGeso Cool. I have that. Yeah. 

[00:39:36] Olguta Goddard I’m such an erratic shooter sometimes. Like, I’ll do something. I’ll put my camera down, do something. It’s my camera. Now, you just cannot imagine what my footage would look like or just in moving it, because I don’t stand there for, like, more than a split second. Yeah, you know, taking my shots if I feel like I just I think they’re not us needed to see like, an actual behind the scene. 

[00:39:56] Lisa DiGeso You should check it out. You can get them on Amazon for like $13 oh ground. Yeah, it’s just this little hard to sell phone. Yeah, it’s super fun. And then you just have, like, extra footage that you can use in reals or like just you setting up the shot that you can talk you through. It’s just it’s super fun and it’s been really fun. And you can film it both horizontally and vertically. 

[00:40:13] Olguta Goddard Oh, I love that. I got to get my MPEG for my wagon where I can put my phone to it. It allows me to get behind the scene footage of myself with my clients. And that’s that’s been fun for them too. But I love that it was on on your hot chip a more realistic. 

[00:40:27] Lisa DiGeso Yeah, I like what you’re seeing. Yeah, yeah. It’s really neat. Well, Okuda, thank you so much for joining me today. 

[00:40:34] Olguta Goddard You are so welcome. Thank you so much for having me. It’s been so much fun. It’s such an honor. I feel like I’ve been in golf, the Milky Way, everything for so many years. And now to be on this side of it is still mind blowing to me. I so appreciate you reaching out for the honor. 

[00:40:48] Lisa DiGeso Oh, my beautiful friends. Thank you so much for joining me today. I know you probably adored this conversation just as much as I did. And seriously, my friends, I am sending you so much of my light and my love today and every single day. We’ll see you next time. 

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