Episode 22: Lighting the Way to Success with Caroline Tran
Quynh first got to know Caroline Tran of Caroline Tran Photography when the photographer shot her sister’s wedding a few years back. Fast forward to today and Caroline and Quynh are frequent collaborators on many projects together across the United States from workshops to photography sessions.
She, along with Kelly Lemon, was one of the photography instructors at The Paper Florists Collective Masterclass in Seattle back in April 2019. Caroline first got her feet wet in photography when pursuing a creative side hustle. Eventually, she discovered that her ultimate love was photography. Known for her airy and bright style and her ability to create beautiful images of intimacy, Caroline is based in Los Angeles, California.
Listen to Caroline as she describes how her creative side hustle turned into a business, how she stays inspired, and her decision to offer online education.
First, let’s get to know Caroline:
1. Who is Caroline Tran?
I am a Los Angeles-based photographer who is constantly working on the art of balancing running a photography business and being a mom to two young boys. I started in weddings and portraits, and have since expanded into content creation, branding, and commercial photography. I have also started to offer online education as well to help creatives run a successful business.
2. How did you get started in photography?
I always knew I wanted to own a creative business. While doing market research for one of my businesses (I was designing and sewing doll clothes), I realized that brands with better photography were able to charge up to 100 times more! While learning how to better photograph my designs, I found my love for photography. I started photographing my co-worker’s children and my friends after work for fun, as a hobby and that’s how I started my portfolio.
3. Tell us about your photography business, Caroline Tran Photography.
What I love most about what I do is that I become my client’s lifelong photographer. I photograph them from engagement to wedding to babies, and for the past few years, I have also started to do more commercial work, including content creation for brands, and branding/lifestyle shots for people’s personal brands as well. I love telling stories so these are all so much fun for me.
4. How would you define your style? How did you find your artistic style? How has your style evolved to what it is today?
My photos tell stories. They’re romantic, emotional, and freezes a person’s legacy. I found my voice when I stopped comparing myself to others… when I stopped doing what I THOUGHT I was supposed to do (based on what everyone else was doing) and allowed myself to do what I FELT. I eventually attracted more people who connected with what I did, which further strengthen my voice.
5. What are some of the challenges you've faced during your career as a photographer and as an entrepreneur?
Growing pains… everything works until it doesn’t. For example, if I up my game in marketing and get more leads, I might not be able to keep up with the increased volume and become susceptible to unhappy clients. So many growing pains, but it’s a good problem to have.
6. How have you made yourself stand out in the crowd of other photographers?
By not looking at what others are doing and just focusing on my own art.
7. Give us one tip that would improve our images/photos of our paper flowers.
LIGHT! LIGHT! LIGHT! Bad light is bad light! You can’t fix bad light later. Use good light to take the photo and you’ll be more than halfway there.
You can read more tips on lighting on my website: https://carolinetran.net/photography-tips-for-perfect-indoor-lighting/
8. Tell us about how you got into teaching photography.
Backtrack a few years, the inspiration for where I came up with education. I used to be a high school teacher, so that’s where my educational background is from. I love mentoring, inspiring, and helping people in general. I left teaching to pursue photography. When I started photography, I used to have small cohorts where we would meet up at industry events over the years.
One thing that occurred to me was year after year, I would need to form new groups because many of my colleagues were no longer in the business anymore. I started teaching photography and education to help others to succeed.
Learn more about Caroline Tran by following her on social media:
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