The Wild Side: Embracing the Beautiful Mess, and Capturing Authentic Connection with Tiffany Crenshaw from Animal House Photography

Does it ever feel like you’re running a zoo?? Maybe that’s because balancing photography and motherhood is a whole art in itself! Just take it from Tiffany Crenshaw, professional lifestyle photographer, mom of 3, and an embracer of chaos who knows the value of showcasing a person’s most authentic self.

In today’s episode, we’re interviewing Tiffany on her experience starting Animal House Photography and the importance of making every client feel seen. We cover everything from an emphasis on creating and documenting authentic connections to capturing underrepresented voices and diversifying your portfolio. If you’re tired of cookie-cutter lifestyle photography and want your clients to see themselves in your work, then this episode is for you!

So, get cozy, grab your notebooks, and tune in. I’m rooting for you, my friends.

What’s in this episode:

  • [02:26] Tiffany’s background and how she started Animal House Photography
  • [08:03] Tiffany’s philosophy on building relationships and her current business model
  • [11:54] Weaving in authentic aspects of motherhood and underrepresented voices
  • [19:16] Prioritizing self-care and leveraging tools and systems to streamline productivity
  • [26:50] Overcoming creative blocks and staying motivated during less creative times

Tune in to this episode to learn how to build meaningful relationships and make every one of your clients feel seen.

SUBSCRIBE: Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher


Resources Mentioned

Photo Mechanic

Imagine AI

Route Studio

Meet Tiffany Crenshaw

Connect with Tiffany

Visit Tiffany’s Website

Follow Tiffany on Instagram

Did this episode provide you with valuable lessons for how to capture authentic connections in your photography business? Check out this episode The Art of Connection: Infusing Emotion and Body Language in Photography with Denise Birdsong that offers you even more insight on finding alignment in your business!

Transcript

[00:00:00] Tiffany Crenshaw: When I started in lifestyle photography, I realized that most of the photographers that did lifestyle, when I would look at their feeds, it all looked like the same person, you know, a different version of a very petite blond mom with with her children and that I didn’t see a lot of me in these pictures. I didn’t see a lot of diverse sizes, just in general. It just felt all the same. And one thing I kept noticing when I would have clients is they would say, you know, I came to you because I feel like I see me when I look at your feed. And it was something that it it took me some time to process, like people are looking to see themselves in your work. [00:00:49][48.6]

[00:00:52] Lisa DiGeso: Welcome to Art and Soul Show, where we dive 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. [00:01:34][42.3]

[00:01:34] Lisa DiGeso: Hello my beautiful friends, and welcome back to the show today I’m super excited to dive into today’s conversation with Tiffany from Animal House Photography. Tiffany is a lifestyle, motherhood and family photographer based in Huntsville, Alabama. She recently relocated to Alabama from South Carolina in March 2020 at the start of the pandemic with her husband and two beautiful daughters. In June, they welcomed their surprise baby boy to the mix. One thing Tiffany is passionate about is building relationships and connections and weaving that throughout her entire business. Because of this, she was able to rapidly build a thriving business in the midst of crazy transition and timing. Emotional connection drive her images and are what clients are drawn to. So welcome. Tiffany. [00:02:23][48.7]

[00:02:24] Tiffany Crenshaw: Hi. Thank you so much. [00:02:25][1.4]

[00:02:26] Lisa DiGeso: So can you share a little bit more about your journey into photography, and really, what inspired you to specialize in lifestyle, motherhood and family photography? [00:02:34][7.9]

[00:02:36] Tiffany Crenshaw: Yes. So I am a teacher by nature. I was an early childhood educator for ten years, and when I had my second daughter, I wanted to just take some pictures of them. I had no desire to be a photographer. My sister’s actually a professional photographer, and so I, I was adamant that I was only taking pictures for fun. Um, we did a little bit of brand wrapping and so I would take pictures so they get some cute clothes and that was really it. But over time I just had friends like, oh, are you are you doing photography? And I was like, no, I’m not. And then I had one coworker that said, and I always tell people this because it really is what started my business. She said, I feel like you’re denying the gift that God has given you and I, you know, that really stuck with me. And so I said, you know what? I’m going to buy a little dSLR. Got my, you know, rebel, Canon Rebel. And I was like, we’ll just see where this goes. And so that’s that’s where it all started with my Canon Rebel, my $100 Canon Rebel. And then it just kind of took off from there, I love that. [00:03:47][71.2]

[00:03:48] Lisa DiGeso: So tell me, where did the name animal House photography come from? [00:03:51][3.1]

[00:03:52] Tiffany Crenshaw: Everybody asked me that. Um, so when I was trying to come up with a name for my business, I thought of all the normal, like, you know, Tiffany Crenshaw photography, and it just didn’t feel really me. Yeah. And so our daughters have nicknames there, Penguin and Panda. And so my husband said, you know, I feel like we’re trying to run a zoo around here. And the name Animal House kind of came to our family, and then we, you know, he’s like, well, what about that being your business name? And so that’s what it is. I love it. [00:04:24][32.3]

[00:04:25] Lisa DiGeso: I love it. So does your son have a nickname? [00:04:26][1.4]

[00:04:27] Tiffany Crenshaw: He is skunk. Uh, he’s our little stinker. So they’re all monochromatic animals because we’re an interracial family. So to us, it’s just a cute little thing. Oh, I love that. So. Oh, I love that, I love that. [00:04:41][13.4]

[00:04:42] Lisa DiGeso: So relocating during the pandemic must have presented unique challenges. So how did you navigate that transition from South Carolina to Alabama and continue to build a thriving business during that turbulent time? [00:04:55][13.1]

[00:04:56] Tiffany Crenshaw: Yeah, that was a crazy time. We moved March 1st and my husband is an ICU nurse. And so we moved to Huntsville. Uh, and our plans were just to, you know, I was going to restart my business. I had already made some connections with moms, business owners here. And I had this whole plan. And then we got here and two weeks later, I think it was about 16 days later, everything shut down. And so that plan went out the window. And so I, you know, I kind of had to readjust. We do that right. As business owners we have to readjust. And so I started doing some little videos of me photographing my children and putting those out there for moms so that while they were stuck at home, they could have access to be able to photograph that time. And so I did a lot of that. I did a lot of virtual zoom calls with different small business owners here. Different moms is trying to make those connect. And so that way, when we were ready to open back up, I feel like I already had built a little community here and was ready to kind of dive in. So that’s kind of how that happened. Not at all how I planned it, but it it worked. [00:06:04][68.4]

[00:06:05] Lisa DiGeso: I love that, I love that. So how has being a mother of three influenced your approach to your photography? [00:06:12][7.5]

[00:06:14] Tiffany Crenshaw: Yeah. So, you know, I was a mother of two. And then we got a surprise baby. So that has shifted things. We also homeschool. Um, for any of those homeschool mamas out there making it work, it’s, you know, it’s a lot to have. Essentially, you have three full time jobs. Um, and I think really figuring out what your goals are as a business owner and then helping things to align to that. You know, you still have to treat it like a business. And so finding time where you can have childcare and you can just have a few hours, you learn to be much more efficient. And when you have two hours you get done like seven hours worth of work when you can really focus. But I feel like it helps me be relatable to my clients. You know, most of my clients are moms that are just barely making it, and so being able to share with them this is my crazy and not hiding that. I never pretend to be this like corporate mom that has it all together. So they get the real me and I think they appreciate. I think they appreciate that. [00:07:19][65.4]

[00:07:20] Lisa DiGeso: I think that’s so important. And especially when we live in a society where, you know, it’s turning a corner a little bit with like the picture perfect Instagram, like you’re definitely seeing a lot more of reality on there. And it’s super refreshing because those curated feeds really are so harmful to our mental health and to what we think everybody like. We think that everybody else has this picture perfect house and you’re like, right, your own house is you’re like, oh my gosh, like it’s a disaster. Like, I’m currently filming in a closet. Like those are not what they look like. [00:07:51][31.7]

[00:07:52] Tiffany Crenshaw: Right? Right. Yeah. You can’t see the shoved away piles of things are here though. Just you can imagine they are here, so they love it. [00:08:02][10.0]

[00:08:03] Lisa DiGeso: So building relationships and connections is a key aspect of your business. So can you elaborate how you incorporate this philosophy into your photography and the impact it’s had with your own experience with your clients? [00:08:14][10.9]

[00:08:15] Tiffany Crenshaw: Yeah. So one thing that I started when I moved here was doing pre consultations. I had been doing ordering sessions after the session with clients, but it wasn’t feeling right for me and I needed something that made it feel more personal. And so I started doing these consultations where I have the families. Usually it’s the mom, but sometimes the husbands come in beforehand and we just spend some time talking about their family and where they’re at and what they want to document. And yeah, it’s almost like a therapy session. I feel like for both of us, because we share about our our children, we share about where we’re what we’re struggling with. We share about what stages our little ones are in and what we want to capture. And, you know, there’s sometimes there’s tears, sometimes there’s laughing. And but I feel like setting that stage when I go into the session, there’s already this level of connection and comfort, and it makes it much easier for them to open up and just be themselves. And so that’s something, you know why it takes. So it takes a lot of time. But I feel like that front end time just makes all the difference. [00:09:21][65.9]

[00:09:22] Lisa DiGeso: Absolutely no. Is your business model are you doing after sales as well or are you like a digital model. [00:09:27][5.7]

[00:09:28] Tiffany Crenshaw: Yeah. So, um, I’m somewhat of a hybrid model. I’m not doing after sales meetings right now. I think eventually I might go back there, but in this season with my littles, I have to really prioritize the time that I’m away. And so for now, what I’m doing is I have packages that have digitals and also prints in them and they’re tiered. Yeah. And so, you know, investment wise families can, you know, choose a smaller digital package. But most of them include those things you can touch and the tangibles and, and they get to see those things when they come in for their consultation. They come in and they’re able to actually look at the products, see the albums. And that also is a huge thing because they’re like, oh, like, you know, people here album, they don’t really know what to think about what. No. You know, they’re like, oh, an album. But when they when they can hold those and feel the quality, it makes such a big difference. [00:10:21][52.8]

[00:10:22] Lisa DiGeso: I had these it’s funny because I really don’t do a lot of, of sales like I, I’ve been like a pretty much a digital model since the beginning, but I started just like having a few things in the studio, like I had these blocks that white host used to make. I’m not sure if they still do. I sold them for years. Like, they’re almost like a, I guess, like a six by six baby block. [00:10:41][19.4]

[00:10:42] Tiffany Crenshaw: The little. Yes. Yeah. [00:10:43][0.8]

[00:10:43] Lisa DiGeso: And I would end like seriously people would see them. They’re like, I want that, I want that for grandma. And I had these tiny little accordion books that would come in like a pack of eight. [00:10:50][6.8]

[00:10:50] Tiffany Crenshaw: I did have the accordian books. [00:10:52][1.4]

[00:10:53] Lisa DiGeso: And those would sell like hotcakes because they were, like, pretty affordable to write like. And so I just yeah, it’s so it’s so true. As soon as you see it, you’re like, oh, I want that. [00:11:03][9.9]

[00:11:04] Tiffany Crenshaw: Right. And people don’t know what they, when they can’t see, you know, they’re not sure. Like is this really something I want to invest in. But when they can look and see in the studio like, oh, I want one of those. Yeah. Like, well that’s easy. Yeah, that’s an easy. [00:11:17][13.8]

[00:11:18] Lisa DiGeso: And it makes it and makes it like it makes you feel less silly. You know what? I’m right. Right like and because that was always the part with the sales that I really struggled with is that I just don’t I just want to feel like I am selling. I just want to feel like I’m serving. Selling. Right? [00:11:33][15.0]

[00:11:33] Tiffany Crenshaw: Right. Yeah, yeah. I’m a I align with you in that. It was, it was feeling a little salesy and that’s not me. And I thought, you know, I need to pull on my strengths. And my strengths are relating and connecting. And so if I can do that on the front end, I feel like the sales kind of take care of them, of themselves 100%. I love that. [00:11:53][20.1]

[00:11:54] Lisa DiGeso: I love that. Now, in advocating for motherhood, what message do you hope to convey through your photographs, particularly when documenting the messy days of having children? [00:12:04][10.4]

[00:12:05] Tiffany Crenshaw: Yes. Oh, the messy days. That’s like every day. Every day. Honestly, I think it’s pretty simple. I think for me, it’s just to be able to communicate to moms that you were there and that you showed up. You know, we all have these ideas of being this perfect mom and having all, like you said, like these. Pinterest for me is the killer because I’m like, my house never looks like that and my crafts never look like that. And, and I can get very insecure and I can beat myself up when I’m not doing enough. I feel like I’m not doing enough business. I’m not doing enough cleaning. I’m not taking care of my husband. Like I feel like all of these not enough. Um, but the fact is that our kids see us every day and they’re happy that we show up like they’re not realizing all of our deficits. They’re just realizing that mom’s here and she’s a safe place. And so I want my clients to be able to feel that in their sessions. And I try to always remind them, like, it’s not about what you look like. It’s not about how the 10 pounds you’re still trying to lose. Wow, that you know that we’re all trying to maybe last forever, right? You know that. Never go away. Um, but it’s just about you being there and. And you having those tangible memories that you were present for your kids. You loved them. And so I think if I can convey that to them, I feel like that’s a success for me. [00:13:31][85.6]

[00:13:32] Lisa DiGeso: Yeah, I love that. It was funny as I was watching a TikTok the other day, and it was it was like a parody, but I was like, oh my gosh, this is such a good point. It was like, if you took your phone and you put it like right down right here and like faced it up and then looked at it, that’s the angle that your child looks at of you. Well it’s not this is not the selfie angle. [00:13:52][20.2]

[00:13:52] Tiffany Crenshaw: Right, right, right. You know, it’s funny as I saw this little it was a TikTok is probably about a year ago. And it was in the morning when you see your baby and they’re all cute. And then it flipped to what your baby sees and it’s just like a total mess. I’m like, oh my gosh, wait, this is so true. [00:14:11][18.5]

[00:14:12] Lisa DiGeso: But it’s so true. And they love us, right? [00:14:14][2.1]

[00:14:14] Tiffany Crenshaw: They don’t care. They don’t care, they don’t, they don’t care. [00:14:17][3.3]

[00:14:18] Lisa DiGeso: Look like what you you know, they don’t remember what you look like when you were 20. Right. Like they can always look like now and that we show up for them, right? Yeah. I love that. [00:14:25][7.8]

[00:14:26] Lisa DiGeso: No representation in the photography industry is something that we have a shared goal with. What advice do you have for photographers that also want to amplify underrepresented voices families in stories with their work? [00:14:38][11.5]

[00:14:39] Tiffany Crenshaw: Yes, that is very important to me. Yeah. When I started in lifestyle photography, I realized that most of the photographers that did lifestyle, when I would look at their feeds, it all looked like the same person, you know, a different version of a very petite blond mom with with her children. Yeah. [00:15:03][24.2]

[00:15:04] Lisa DiGeso: With a boho hat and a dress. [00:15:05][1.3]

[00:15:06] Tiffany Crenshaw: Appealed the top. The hat with the dress. You know, it was all kind of the same. Yeah. And that I didn’t see a lot of me and these pictures. I didn’t see a lot of diverse sizes, you know, I saw a lot of very small sizes, not a lot of bigger sizes represented just in general. It just felt all the same. Yeah. And one thing I kept noticing when I would have clients is they would say, you know, I came to you because I feel like I see me when I look at your feed. And it was something that it it took me some time to process, like people are looking to see themselves. Yeah. In your work. I had a client hiring me for a wedding. I had never done a wedding. This is in 2021. And she was a very fair skinned woman. Her husband’s from Kenya. And she said, you know, I know that you can edit skin tones and make us look the way that we look. And that’s why I want to hire you. And I said, you know, I’ve, I have never done a wedding. She’s like, I don’t care, you know? And I realized there’s a need for people to feel represented, um, and that if you aren’t showing it, then you’re not going to you’re not going to book it. So yeah, my advice would be be really intentional about what you’re sharing. And if you don’t have a lot of diversity, you know, racial, cultural size, diversity, then to seek that out. Model calls. Yeah are great. And I think people can be a little afraid that, you know, people might feel some kind of way, but I really feel like people will be encouraged and excited that you are trying to represent their family, you know? So yeah, it’s maybe in the way you asked, but just saying, you know what I saw your family, your your family, so beautiful. And I would really love to be able to tell your story through pictures. Yeah. Would you allow me to do that? And I think that that’s a great place to start. [00:17:02][116.6]

[00:17:03] Lisa DiGeso: Yeah, I love that. I think, you know, like even different abilities and different family structures. It’s like it’s so important that everybody feels safe and represented. And I think, like doing, like doing a portfolio review and like really looking at your website is so important to frequently go and, and just have that check in like, yeah, right. [00:17:25][21.7]

[00:17:26] Tiffany Crenshaw: Yeah I totally agree with that. [00:17:27][1.2]

[00:17:28] Lisa DiGeso: Okay. So the question actually is about diversity and model calls. And is there any specific wording or suggestions you might have for someone who is model calling and they’re not sure what to say. [00:17:38][9.8]

[00:17:38] Tiffany Crenshaw: Right. Yeah. And so I think one, I’ve learned that with model calls, you really have to be so intentional. When I started and I’m not sure if you had this experience, it would be like, I need a family. Yeah. But and then you get like, still don’t read, right? You know, and you get like 200 and, you know, they show up wearing whatever they want to be wearing. And it’s not at all what you needed. Yeah. And so I’ve learned to be very specific about what you’re looking for or to post your model call. And then you sift through and find the families that, that fit. Um, but it’s okay to say I’m looking for a family X, Y, and Z. Yeah, I think that’s fine. I think that it it doesn’t have to feel as, uh, maybe fearful as it, as it is, you know, and saying, because I want to I’m working on a project I’m wanting to represent. I’m wanting to add some, some more representation. Also, I think putting yourself in situations where you’re around diversity, not just making it a model call, but. [00:18:43][64.2]

[00:18:43] Lisa DiGeso: Yes. [00:18:43][0.0]

[00:18:44] Tiffany Crenshaw: Going to cultural events in your community, we do a lot of that. If there’s, you know, different food fairs or recently we just had the international fair here. And so being able to wander, being able to actually spend time learning and and looking and and making friendships and connections I love with people that are different than you. Yeah. That’s naturally going to lead to you saying like, hey, I’m a photographer. I would love to photograph your field. You know, it’s it’s you’re already in that space. And so it makes it even more authentic, I think. [00:19:16][32.0]

[00:19:16] Lisa DiGeso: Yeah, I love that so much because it really comes back to your whole approach of of connection and just being curious about other people. And, and and then it is authentic. Right. Like I think that’s how you build these connections, that’s how you build these relationships and that’s how you expand your your social network and your and your business at the same time. And I love that. It’s beautiful. That’s beautiful. Okay, so how do you prioritize self-care? [00:19:44][27.4]

[00:19:46] Tiffany Crenshaw: Oh, boy. Yeah, I was hoping we’d skip that. We get good. [00:19:51][5.6]

[00:19:51] Lisa DiGeso: At everything, Lisa. [00:19:52][0.6]

[00:19:53] Tiffany Crenshaw: Right. You don’t mean, like, the five minutes that I get to go to the bathroom in the morning before everyone wakes up? Right. Sacrifice. [00:20:02][8.8]

[00:20:03] Lisa DiGeso: Hashtag self-care. [00:20:03][0.5]

[00:20:04] Tiffany Crenshaw: Right. So, admittedly, I am not the best at self-care. However, what I have become good at is setting boundaries in my business. Yeah, and part of that is comes down to your pricing and comes down to figuring out where you want to be price wise. Yeah. Two years ago, fall, I was completely burned out and I would I would go to a session and sit in the car before I got out and just cry. Yeah. Because I had this feeling, I felt like I could not physically get out of the car and take one more picture and talk to one more person. And I was like, I never want to feel like this again. This is not the way that it should be. I didn’t want to edit angry and I would feel like I, I oh, I just feel so like I don’t want to be doing this right now. You know, and it was my own fault because I said yes at the last minute, five times when I said no more and I’d say, okay. Yes. And and so I decided, you know what this is? This is what I need to make, and this is how many sessions I want to do and doing that math. And it helped me to realize, like, okay, I’ve got to raise my prices and I’m going to take less on. And so, um, that has been working really well because I don’t often feel burnout from my business anymore. And I would highly encourage photographers to value yourself and value your family time. You don’t get it back. No, no. And what we offer people, it’s a luxury and it’s something that should be treated with love and care and your best. And you can’t do that when you are overwhelmed and overbooked. So that’s my little soap. I love that. [00:21:47][103.1]

[00:21:47] Lisa DiGeso: One of the one of the biggest tips that I, I don’t always follow, and I do try, is when you book your photography session is actually putting in your calendar when you’re going to edit it. So it’s like right in there. So you’re like, it’s not free time. It’s not time to book another shoot. It’s actually the time when you finish what you’re supposed to do. [00:22:06][19.2]

[00:22:07] Tiffany Crenshaw: So I love that. [00:22:08][0.7]

[00:22:08] Lisa DiGeso: So you’re not sitting on the couch at night or like when you’re supposed to be watching movie, snuggling with your hubby, or just reading a book or having a bath. You don’t feel bad because you’ve already scheduled that work ahead of time. [00:22:17][9.3]

[00:22:18] Tiffany Crenshaw: Right. I love that. [00:22:18][0.0]

[00:22:20] Lisa DiGeso: I’m not perfect at it. I’m trying. [00:22:20][0.0]

[00:22:21] Tiffany Crenshaw: I’m like, okay. [00:22:21][0.5]

[00:22:23] Lisa DiGeso: Like, just put it in there. Because when you put it in there, how long or sessions take us to edit, right. And we just plan that when you are like fresh you’re like, okay, Tuesday morning, that’s when like, I’m the freshest for this and I’m, you know, maybe throw on some Netflix or something while you’re doing it. [00:22:38][14.8]

[00:22:38] Tiffany Crenshaw: Right. Yeah, I love that. [00:22:40][2.4]

[00:22:41] Lisa DiGeso: Yeah. It’s one of my one little tips. So can you share in any insights you might have on time management and productivity tools you rely on? [00:22:50][9.2]

[00:22:51] Tiffany Crenshaw: Yeah. So kind of what you’re saying even about, you know, scheduling it as blocks, it looks a little different for me right now because of the added addition of baby. It kind of we were in a good rhythm. But you know, there are seasons and there are some seasons where your work time is going to be not as planned out. You kind of have to take the times that. Yeah, that you have, but I think turning off your phone, putting it away because, you know, we get in the rabbit hole of like, oh, I’m just going to and then you’re like, 30 minutes has gone by that I could have finished a task. [00:23:29][37.3]

[00:23:29] Lisa DiGeso: Yeah. And I was just sitting do scrolling recipes on TikTok. [00:23:32][2.7]

[00:23:33] Tiffany Crenshaw: Right, right. But not actually cooking anything for dinner. So it’s just good recipe. Yeah. Um, and so I think putting the phone away is, is helpful. I think also, like you said, looking at your calendar. And I like to put on my sessions like so if I know I want to do six sessions for the month, looking at those even before I schedule things, because sometimes you’ve already booked your sessions and you don’t even you’re you’re so busy you don’t realize and you keep booking and you’re like, you don’t realize like, oh, I don’t actually need any more than where I’m at right now, you know? So that helps. And then I think just tools that speed up your workflow. Like for me, I use Photo Mechanic, right. I’m calling I know there’s different systems, but it’s so fast. And so it’s like cut I mean it makes calling take me minutes. Minutes. Take a minute. [00:24:26][53.1]

[00:24:26] Lisa DiGeso: I think I’ve been playing with um, I think it’s called Imagine AI, it’s like one where it, like, uses AI to like, figure out and color it for you. I still don’t trust it yet. Like, I go. [00:24:37][10.9]

[00:24:37] Tiffany Crenshaw: Okay, I’ve heard of that and I haven’t. Try it. I’m too much. I’m so controlling. [00:24:42][4.5]

[00:24:44] Lisa DiGeso: Me too. I go through and I was like. I feel like you’ve made poor choices. I like, I like, I just like I choose better. [00:24:49][5.7]

[00:24:51] Tiffany Crenshaw: And and I don’t know, does it, you know, how does it read a motion? Because there’s some images that are, you know, maybe partially out of focus or maybe it’s not. It’s not everyone’s like looking or. But for what the what I shoot. Yeah a lot of times those are the ones that I love. Yeah. So I don’t know. [00:25:09][18.5]

[00:25:10] Lisa DiGeso: Yes I know and sometimes I’m a post photographer too. And a lot of my images are like, especially maternity like are like eyes closed or like nuzzled down and I’m like, and it’s like eyes closed. I’m like, but like. And it. [00:25:20][10.0]

[00:25:20] Tiffany Crenshaw: Kicks in. I wanted eyes closed, right, right. [00:25:23][2.9]

[00:25:24] Lisa DiGeso: So it’s coming along, I think. I’m sure they’ll figure it out, but I still I am working on Photo Mechanic. That’s my that’s where I love to play too. Do you use the CRM at all? [00:25:35][10.1]

[00:25:35] Tiffany Crenshaw: I do, so I use Route Studio. That has also been a game changer because before I was just people are just emailing me all the time, like emailing me. And I’m like, this is not now efficient, it’s just not efficient. And so I love that. It’s streamlined. It comes through. I can once I reply and they and they book, then everything just kind of follows on its own. Yeah. Um, and so that’s beautiful. And then it syncs with Google, your Google calendar. So it’s all in one place. I don’t know how I would go back to not I know without a full time secretary. Yeah. I don’t know how I would go back to not using. Yeah a CRM. [00:26:15][39.2]

[00:26:16] Lisa DiGeso: I know and even like the canned responses are so helpful. Like just when, when you know, when you get it and it’s like auto response and it just like that’s everything out. It’s so handy. [00:26:26][10.3]

[00:26:27] Tiffany Crenshaw: Yeah. It’s it has been I mean, it’s where you have to invest in order to run a business. And I think sometimes as photographers or maybe this is all small businesses, we get very like, I don’t want to pay for something that I can do, but we can’t do all of it, you know? So, you know, letting letting systems be in place, I think is important. [00:26:49][22.6]

[00:26:50] Lisa DiGeso: I love that. So how do you overcome creative blocks and stay motivated during maybe not so creative times? [00:26:57][7.2]

[00:26:59] Tiffany Crenshaw: Yeah. So I feel like fall is definitely a creative block time because you’re just in the thick of it. Yeah. You know, and I’m curious with your business, with your studio if you see those waves of busyness. [00:27:13][14.4]

[00:27:14] Lisa DiGeso: Also, you know, I used to I used to actually I was pretty much solidly booked year round. And I would intentionally take off summer and usually December in my studio. [00:27:23][9.4]

[00:27:23] Tiffany Crenshaw: Okay. [00:27:23][0.0]

[00:27:24] Lisa DiGeso: And so I but I would overbook myself in the busy times, like I think when I was, I was usually between 12 and 20 sessions a month. Okay, I’m on top of running. I’m Milky Way too. And so it was. It was way too much for me. [00:27:38][14.1]

[00:27:39] Tiffany Crenshaw: And are there busy seasons in the studio? Like, are there busier times? [00:27:42][3.3]

[00:27:43] Lisa DiGeso: I would find yes and no. I would say with my kids I would do holiday minis, okay. And that usually would be between September and mid November. So that would be like super busy doing that. And then also outdoor family shoots. Okay. And then I would have some newborns on top of that too. So that was just like the chunk of when I would I would hit December and I was like, I am not. I want to throw my camera in the river like I am done. So. [00:28:10][26.9]

[00:28:11] Tiffany Crenshaw: Crying in the car, just crying. [00:28:13][1.4]

[00:28:14] Lisa DiGeso: And just like I don’t, what am I doing? What am I, why am I doing right? Like why do I have to keep saying yes? [00:28:19][5.3]

[00:28:20] Tiffany Crenshaw: Right, right. [00:28:20][0.3]

[00:28:20] Lisa DiGeso: And so when I finally unpacked, like I don’t have to say yes to everything, and when I, you know, it’s been this year of just not shooting has been just really an eye opener on like what I want to go back to, what I want to do and how I’m going to be filling my calendar in 2024. So it’s just been, uh, it’s been eye opening. [00:28:38][17.6]

[00:28:39] Tiffany Crenshaw: Really. Yeah, yeah. I also take December in the summer off. So that’s funny. Yeah. It’s so that’s a photography thing. Life like don’t need me in December and it’s to we live in the South. It’s too hot down here to be outside. Yep. Taking pictures in the summertime. So I try to use those times to refuel myself. I try to do a lot of my education in the winter. Yeah, any courses that I’m really wanting, you know, I’ll go ahead and purchase them when they’re when they’re sold, but then wait until the winter to actually be able to dive into those, because I’m at a place to be able to receive that information in the fall. I can’t process one more, one more thing. And it’s also when I do my model calls in the winter. And so, like, I’m gearing up to do some in-home model calls because I really want my goal is to transition to being majority in-home sessions over the next few years. That’s where I’m feeling pulled, um, is to tell those real stories in people’s homes. And so using this time winter to to really do what I want to do. Yeah. And it’s so freeing because there’s no expectation with a model call. It’s you know, I’m very upfront that these are for me. And so, you know, obviously we always get yeah beautiful images. But I’m very clear about, you know, I don’t have an expectation of what’s going to turn out. And if I want to do crazy things and I just do crazy things and see, you know, see what happens. [00:30:06][87.1]

[00:30:07] Lisa DiGeso: So I love it. I think that’s for me, that’s what happened with my personal projects, of my self-portraits, is. [00:30:13][6.3]

[00:30:14] Tiffany Crenshaw: I love those, by the way. Your projects. So there’s no there’s so I feel like I’m not creative. I feel like I’m really good at what I’m, I’m good at, like, you know, capturing families. But the creative things, I’m like, I am. Let’s make it live. [00:30:32][18.7]

[00:30:33] Lisa DiGeso: I’m good at being ridiculous. That’s my superpower. [00:30:34][1.6]

[00:30:36] Tiffany Crenshaw: I love it. I wish that I had that that personality and that mindset. Um, yeah. I’m not I’m not there yet in my career. [00:30:45][9.1]

[00:30:46] Lisa DiGeso: Uh, I’m sure like, I know you’ve got some different creativity and, like, how you see families and how you see, like. Yeah, you’re you’re underestimating yourself. [00:30:56][10.0]

[00:30:58] Tiffany Crenshaw: I know it. [00:30:58][0.4]

[00:31:00] Lisa DiGeso: So are you ready for a lightning round? [00:31:01][1.3]

[00:31:02] Tiffany Crenshaw: Oh, yes. Nothing is better than a lightning round in a mommy brain. Yeah. [00:31:08][5.9]

[00:31:09] Lisa DiGeso: Coffee or tea? [00:31:09][0.5]

[00:31:10] Tiffany Crenshaw: Coffee. Okay. [00:31:11][0.7]

[00:31:12] Lisa DiGeso: If you like to cook, what do you like to cook the most? [00:31:14][1.8]

[00:31:16] Tiffany Crenshaw: Pasta. Um, yeah. Homemade, like made from scratch. Italian? Yeah. [00:31:21][5.1]

[00:31:22] Lisa DiGeso: What’s the best gift you have ever received? Oh, I know right. It’s a hard question. [00:31:27][5.2]

[00:31:28] Tiffany Crenshaw: Sorry. Um, probably our trip. Our missions trip to India. We went and lived there for a few months, uh, when we were newlyweds. And just the time spent there with the kiddos and, uh, the orphanage we were living in. It was a pretty amazing, like, a surreal time. So I’d say that. [00:31:45][17.0]

[00:31:45] Lisa DiGeso: That’s really cool. Yeah. What are you most grateful for in this season of life? [00:31:48][3.6]

[00:31:50] Tiffany Crenshaw: My children. Yeah. They’re joy. They’re just, you know, they’re just joy. So love and being a mom right now. Yeah. [00:31:57][7.2]

[00:31:58] Lisa DiGeso: I love that. Um, what is something you’ve accomplished as an adult that your younger self would be proud of? [00:32:03][5.3]

[00:32:05] Tiffany Crenshaw: Public speaking. Yeah. You know, being able to teach in front of people and speak is not something I would have thought. As a younger me, that I would have ever wanted to do. Yeah. Like that. [00:32:18][13.7]

[00:32:19] Lisa DiGeso: Go to song that lifts you up when you’re down in. [00:32:22][3.0]

[00:32:25] Tiffany Crenshaw: Anything Lauren Daigle. I’m a huge fan. Yeah, I’m a huge fan. So put on a good worship station. But specifically, I think she’s always helps kind of get me in a better headspace. Love that. [00:32:36][11.1]

[00:32:37] Lisa DiGeso: What is the best piece of business advice you’ve ever been given? [00:32:40][2.7]

[00:32:42] Tiffany Crenshaw: To raise my prices during busy season. Um, yeah, that is important because when you raise them in slow season, you get really insecure that no one’s working. When naturally they weren’t really booking anyway. And so raising them when you’re in the middle of booking everything out I think is, is really reaffirming. So I highly suggest. [00:33:04][22.0]

[00:33:06] Lisa DiGeso: What advice do you have for someone just starting out? [00:33:08][2.3]

[00:33:09] Tiffany Crenshaw: Learn as much as you can. Uh. Be humble. I know we can all go back to our early or early work and it’s like, wow, wow. But just soaking up education as much as you can and learning from as many different avenues as you can so that you can really find your voice and find out who you want to be as an artist. That and also starting off charging profitably. Yeah, I think it’s really it’s easier to start that way than to try to backtrack and and get there. I think so, yeah, I love that. [00:33:49][39.3]

[00:33:50] Lisa DiGeso: And where can our listeners learn more from you? [00:33:52][1.8]

[00:33:52] Tiffany Crenshaw: They can find me over on Instagram at Animal House Photography. Um, my website, which is AnimalHousePhotography.com. Um, and I do have on there a section for photographers so they can come see me over there. I’d love to chat about all things motherhood and building a good brand. That’s not. [00:34:11][18.8]

[00:34:12] Lisa DiGeso: And you’re teaching for the online newborn retreat. So can you share what you’re going to be teaching on? [00:34:17][5.1]

[00:34:18] Tiffany Crenshaw: Yes. So I am so excited. I am going to be teaching on photographing older babies and home sessions. Uh, when you know, you can’t quite get them in those first few days. And so I’m super excited just to kind of share some behind the scenes of, of that session is going to be good. Yeah. [00:34:35][17.3]

[00:34:36] Lisa DiGeso: Love it. So I love to end my interviews just with this last question. And it is what are you currently curious about or artistically curious about? [00:34:43][7.9]

[00:34:45] Tiffany Crenshaw: So I’m really wanting to learn more about lighting in my studio. I am a natural light photographer, but I have some projects coming up in the spring that are going to require some some different types of lighting. And so that’s my winter project is to really set up some light walls and, um, kind of dabble in that. [00:35:05][19.9]

[00:35:06] Lisa DiGeso: Love that. Well, Tiffany, thank you so much for spending time with me today. [00:35:10][3.9]

[00:35:10] Tiffany Crenshaw: Yeah, it was great. I appreciate it so much fun. [00:35:13][2.7]

[00:35:14] Lisa DiGeso: Oh, my beautiful friends, I hope you have loved this conversation just as much as I did. I’m sending you so much of my light and my love today and every single day. We’ll see you next time. [00:35:25][11.3]

[00:35:25] Lisa DiGeso: Hey, friend. You know, it’s the worst. It’s just being mid-session and completely freezing. You start to feel awkward, your clients start looking at you for direction, and your brain feels like you just hit a wall. Now, believe me, you are not alone. And that’s why we created the Storyteller’s Toolkit. It’s an emotive prompt guide help sessions, stay free flowing and fun. And best of all, right now it’s totally free. It’s full of prompts for parents, motherhood, family, siblings and couples, and even surefire smile prompts. We’ve put together over 200 prompts for you so you’ll never be lost for an idea again. Grab your copy at themilkyway.ca/toolkit. [00:35:25][0.0]

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