We had the good fortune of connecting with Annie Mason and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Annie, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I always laugh a little when I hear questions like this because honestly, it started when I just wanted to be in control and make sure no one was able to delegate my “fun time.”
The whole concept of wishing away my weekdays to only enjoy life on the weekends seemed absolutely mad to me. Life moves slow but it goes by fast, and at my core, I wanted to enjoy it with those around me, both clients and loved ones alike.
Some people love their 9-5 jobs, but some of us crave something bigger. I think that’s the beauty of humankind, is we’re all created so uniquely + intentionally, with different strengths and core values. Humankind is at its best when it functions as a body – if the whole body were an eye, how could it hear? We thrive + serve others at our best when we lean into our purpose and what means the most to us. I’m so fulfilled being a part of such a special chapter of my couples’ lives, from being there and helping in real time, to gifting them tangible memories that will last for generations.
So having a job, or creating a job, that I actually loved and fueled me even when I was on the clock, was the only realistic answer for me. Living a life that was overall more enjoyable & didn’t limit my time with my friends, my spouse, our two rescue pups, and doing all the things and activities I love – pulled me in like gravity.
There were sure as hell learning curves – any business will have them. But everything is figure-out-able & the time you invest will always pay off. Outsourcing time consuming tasks has also been a huge factor in making sure my core value of spending life with my people is my first priority. Whether that’s my circle of loved ones, or my clients on their wedding day – my soul is fueled by the people in it.
I think when people say to “find a job that aligns with what you love” it’s not always just a talent or hobby. Sometimes it’s at the very core of what matters to you in life and what you deem as meaningful and valuable. And celebrating and experiencing moments with others feels like a life long party.
What should our readers know about your business?
I’m a full time couples, wedding + elopement photographer for the wildly in love. I mostly work around my hometown in the Lake Tahoe area, but am always down to travel. At my core, I cherish presence and genuinity more than just a perfect photo. Weaving together documentary photography by being a fly on the wall, with stepping in when I need to in order to create hype, peace or order, is a balance I’ve fallen in love with within my career.
Everything I’m proud of, I really owe to my incredible clients. They’ve been my motivation for everything. Each couple has their own story, their own dynamic + their own quirks and things that make their hearts wild for each other. No wedding or elopement is anything like the next – and I really really love that. I really do work for the raddest people & feel like bff’s with each one of them by the end of their day.
Lessons I’ve learned — there’s control in letting go. Whether its accepting I don’t always have the answer and being willing to learn, to outsourcing tasks that aren’t my strengths, to not allowing my business to be my identity. It really all comes down to surrendering in one form or another.
In order to love your work life, you have to prioritize your personal life. You can’t pour from an empty cup, just like you can’t be fully present if you’re exhausted. Know your limits and honor those.
Nobody’s gonna hand it to you. You really do have to be your own teacher + researcher (shoutout Google) and channel your boss energy if you want to create anything. The cool thing about this is your time + energy you invest will always pay off, and you really do get to build your business the way you want to.
At the end of the day, life’s sweetest moments are those we spend with our people. Be sure that when you’re living them, you have someone to document them who truly cares about you and your day.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Ya can’t visit Tahoe without going to Garwood’s & taking a walk on the beach afterward – a local fave. I actually reside in Reno even though I work mostly in Tahoe – so I love going to Old World Coffee, Coffeebar (any of their locations,) The Jesse + Estella next door( their tacos are bomb,) Centro, Pinon Bottle and Whispering Vine to name a few. And if you’re taking the scenic route through Gardnerville, our close friends have a coffee shop DST Coffee that’s a rad spot as well! If you’re thinking of getting married in area, some of my top favorite venues are – Twenty Mile House, West Shore Cafe, Kinship Ranch, Tannenbaum, Chalet View Lodge, Forest House Lodge and Dancing Pines have all been incredible to work.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Honestly the entire photography community in Reno/Tahoe has been one of the coolest parts of being a photog. Community over competition has been our motto and damn have we stayed true to that. I’m so proud of each one of them & we’ve all grown so much the past few years. I’ve never felt so much genuine encouragement as I have with this community – I want them to win more than I want myself to win, and I know that goes both ways. Lora Wagener, Ali Boundy, Emma Wynn Paul, Jasmine John, and so many more – love y’all so big.