“If you’re an entrepreneur and you’re a professional, you don’t have time to just sit and do nothing. You should be out doing things for your business.”- Joy Pinkney Davis
Truer words could not have been spoken by this week’s Phind out Phriday entrepreneur, Joy Pinkney-Davis of Just Joy Photography. I don’t think I have interviewed an entrepreneur that I didn’t think was on their grind, but Joy gives new meaning to grinding. If she is not in the studio she works at part time, she is at some one’s home, place of business, or an outdoor location with her camera and photography equipment in tow. When I say her interview has been three months in the making, it has. And that’s because, she has been out “doing things” for her business- Just Joy Photography.
Phreedum: Tell me about how you took your passion for photography and turned it into Just Joy Photography?
JPD: It started when I was a sophomore in college. I started a part time job at a photography studio nearby. I just needed something to help pay the rent. It wasn’t really an interest of mine initially although I love art, especially painting and writing. In fact I was enrolled in school as an English major with a poetry concentration. Working at the studio exposed me to a new form of art that I really enjoyed and wanted to learn more about. Eventually I saved money enough money, bought a decent camera, and started practicing my skills on friends. In February 2011 I officially opened Just Joy Photography and turned the passion and practice into a profession.
Phreedum: You mentioned you love art, especially painting and writing, so why photography?
JPD: To be honest, I really enjoy capturing happiness. I get to catch something that happened in a second and translate it into a form of art that maintains that momentary feeling forever. I also get to work with children a lot which I love. I don’t just take pictures of children but they are my absolute favorite.
Phreedum: Who are you in 5 words?
JPD: Creative, daring, eccentric (I like a lot of different things and I love color), patient, weird.
Phreedum: What has been a highlight for you with Just Joy Photography?
JPD: I would have to say it was when I did my first wedding this past June. Weddings are really different compared to in studio photography where you can control a lot of elements like lighting for example. It was also my first wedding so I was really anxious about doing a good job and capturing the couple’s big day. Looking back I think it was a great challenge and they were really pleased with my work.
Phreedum: What would you consider one of the biggest lessons you’ve learned so far?
JPD: Everything. Wait, can I say that?
Phreedum: Sure. Why not?
JPD: Okay. So yeah, everything. Photography wasn’t something I always did or wanted to do. My initial exposure was a part time job in a photo studio where everything was new and everything was automatic. I bought my first camera, took it home, and it was like “Okay how do I work this?” Each day I would get on Youtube and look for videos that talked about things like lighting, focus, exposure, etc. This whole process has been one big ol’ lesson that if I am really honest is still being taught. I am still learning things.
Phreedum: You were recently married. How was it for you to have to trust someone else to photograph your special moment when you're usually the one doing that for people?
JPD: To be honest, the photography was the only thing that brought out the Bridezilla in me. I gave a lot of “guidance” to the photographer. Granted, the photographer was a fellow coworker from the photography studio and a friend. It was hard to trust her but she really did a great job and my husband and I have great pictures of our wedding.
Phreedum: For some entrepreneurs maintaining a business and a romantic relationship is hard, so much so, they forgo the relationship. How have you been able to grow your business and relationship?
JPD: I still work at the photography studio part time and then I do my own shoots. When I do my own shoots I will often bring my husband along with me as much as possible. I think it’s helped him really understand my work and respect it even more. Plus, we still get time in together. Now, that’s not to say that he and I don’t spend time together when I’m not doing shoots, we do. I think in terms of being creative with our time especially when I have a hectic week, having him be a part of the shoots has been really great for both of us.
Phreedum: Who or what motivates and inspires you?
JPD: My husband. When I am nervous about a shoot, which is every shoot because it’s a new client with new expectations, he really calms me and reminds me of how good I am. In addition to my husband, Facebook photographers motivate me.
Phreedum: What do you mean by "Facebook" photographers?
JPD: A lot of times people will get professional pictures taken and post them on Facebook. What they usually end up posting are super cheesy over edited pictures. The pictures use too much soft lighting or every picture has that circle around the image. It’s just too much and doesn’t look natural. So, it just motivates me to not produce those types of pictures for my clients.
Phreedum: How does Just Joy Photography change the lives of others?
JPD: I think the biggest way Just Joy Photography changes the lives of others is that I capture people’s special moments. I take a moment in time and capture it for a lifetime. I also like to think that I do this at a monetarily feasible rate. I work within the monetary means of my clients and provide quality work.
Phreedum: What do you think people under estimate about being an entrepreneur?
JPD: Time. People think if you have your own business you can create your own hours and work whenever you feel like it. In reality you work even when you don’t feel like it. When I am not at a shoot, I am editing pictures and making sure my clients get perfection.
Phreedum: What has been the best advice you have received as an entrepreneur?
JPD: My cousin told me to just be honest with my clients. I think I have held on to that and try really hard to do that with my clients. I don’t cut corners in terms of the products I use to take the pictures and produce them. I also don’t charge clients for the sake of charging them. I try to be honest and fair as an entrepreneur.
Phreedum: What is one piece of advice you would give the Joy of 10 years ago?
JPD: Go for what will make you happy not the money. Growing up I was all about being a doctor, helping people, and making money. Then there was a point where as I thought about it more I didn’t really want to do it. I went with what made me happy which initially was writing. Later, what made me even happier was photography. I think it just took me a while to let go of the whole being a doctor and feeling comfortable with doing something that I liked even if it wasn’t a profession which guaranteed decent money.
Phreedum: What advice would you give to other budding photographers?
JPD: Get off auto. Go to manual. Be in control. It’s easy to let the camera be on auto and have it do the work, but you’re not really learning and you’re not really in control. Also, please buy quality glass. By glass I mean lenses. My camera cost almost $3,000.00 and I have lenses that costs anywhere from $300.oo to $800.00. It makes a huge difference. You have to invest in you craft.
Phreedum: Last question. If Just Joy Photography was a reality TV show, which reality TV show would it be and why?
JPD: I think it would be similar to "The Real World." There would be me, other photographers, and we would just do a variety of different shoots, with different people, for different causes (ad campaigns, fundraising campaigns, weddings, model shoots, etc.), and in different locations.