We had the good fortune of connecting with Brooke Austin and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Brooke, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I feel like I was sort of thrust into starting my business overnight. I had been a busy, stay-home mom and doing my own very small handmade creations side biz, but some challenging life experiences changed my circumstances lightning fast and I sat on my couch one night and thought “if not now, when?” I look at it like I really just threw myself into the process without a lot of planning and that uncertainty and unknown somewhat led my flow. The unplanned, “fly by the seat of my pants” attitude actually kept me grounded in staying focused on one thing, one step at a time. I had been doing photography since childhood and it was a beloved hobby, but the confidence and drive to chase it as a dream and professional business, that developed and continues to develop, out of a passion to grow my talents, be a self-sufficient single mother and live in my creative passion for photography.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My photo art is a constant work in progress. I absolutely love capturing people, street life, events, and documentary style photography with my camera. I am born and raised in the Denver area and have a solid network in the Aurora, Boulder, Lakewood and Denver communities and metro area in general, but I also have a passion for travel, so as much as I adore photographing my local community, I also love to take my camera on wanderlust adventures and desire to do it as much as possible in the future as well. My photos are rich, vibrant and emotive, with a lot of my current work focusing on portraits, headshots, models, children and families with a whimsical approach and I pride myself on having strengths in connecting with a variety of people and snapping shots in-between the planned moments that perhaps the clients didn’t even know I was capturing. Some of those shots often become my favorites, the lightly posed or free-spirited photos that freeze my subject and showcase them as authentically as possible. I work hard to put in some sort of daily effort to grow my business, even if it’s just a small thing or detail to focus on. I think I have to make that effort to brainstorm, take notes, research, try things out, fail, try again, play and practice, ask questions, work on my social media presence, try new marketing tactics, and just put myself out there to grow and glow myself through the process. It’s not easy, but it’s rewarding, it’s fun, and I am excited for every shoot I have the opportunity to work on and edit. The biggest lesson I’ve learned is to focus on my own journey and not compare myself to others. I love to be inspired by other creatives, but we are all on our own path. My story is uniquely mine and I’ve learned to allow myself to beam and celebrate an artistic win and give myself grace through the rough spots or moments I feel stuck. My reason for starting my business is my own and it’s sometimes crawling one small step at a time. I’ve also learned to value my talents and skills and to be careful to not let my gifts be taken for granted. I’m proud that I’ve had a few photos published in art publications and that I was announced winner for Colorado Parent Magazine Family Favorites in the Family or Child Photography category for 2020! I want the world to know, I have a whole lot more photography I want to do and so much more I want to explore, people I want to meet and shoot and art I want to create!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’m going to give you a bullet point list of some of my fave Denver area spots! – Red Rocks Amphitheatre for concerts or just to check out for surrounding hiking trails! – RiNo District downtown for the art murals, foodie spots and youthful energy. – Boulder, Colorado. Love this funky town and the gorgeous University of Colorado campus, Fox Theater, Flatirons Mountain views and trails. – Five Points Denver. Multicultural area with yummy dining, cafes, bars and nightlife. – South Broadway. Lots of cute boutique shops, bars, pubs and fun food spots. Herman’s Hideaway for live music. – Jerusalem Restaurant. (My personal fave Middle Eastern deliciousness.) – Colfax Ave. Historic landmark street, good eats, colorful and gritty entertainment. Ogden Theatre & The Bluebird Theater for live music shows. – Denver Art Museum – Museum of Contemporary Art Denver – Larimer Square. People watching, restaurants, Denver street life. Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I am so grateful for the friendships, specifically my close group of women friends in my life who just encouraged me along the way through my trial and error efforts as I started my photography business and worked through some personal traumas along the way. I had a friend, Megan Heffernan (speech coach, actress/comedienne https://www.meganheffernan.com), who reached out to me to photograph her headshots and another family friend who asked me to take their family photos and both of these experiences just propelled my belief in myself and photography abilities. Megan’s support and truly our ability to work well together for my first paid professional shoot just gave me a lot of confidence to keep going. My girl gang of women friends rallied behind me and gave me that extra boost of love and faith that I could create a self-taught photo business. Many friends in my community started sharing about me just through word-of-mouth and I owe friends and many clients in my early business building stages as well as my new clients a giant thank you for trusting me to capture them with my camera and believing in me. I have created some loyal photography clients, friends and encouragers during this journey so far.
I am also so thankful for the photography groups I’ve sought out online and became an active part of including Archipelago Collective and Pretty Presets for Lightroom on Facebook which have both been amazing spaces for me to share my work, learn and connect with other creative photographers. I’ve also begun to grow my Denver creative circle and meeting local photographers for community over competition. I am currently a member at Denver Photo Collective https://www.
headshot image by: shel francis creative all portfolio images by me: brooke austin photo