We had the good fortune of connecting with Carissa Cannizzaro and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Carissa, what do you attribute your success to?
There are so many different factors that have brought me success in my brand, whether it be specializing my business to elopements, providing an excellent customer experience, or even just being a good photographer – but none of those things would be possible without passion. Maybe it’s a cheesy answer, but it’s the truth. For me, passion has always been the biggest driving force in creating a successful business. From the moment I knew I was going to be an elopement photographer, I poured hours into perfecting my craft as an artist. I took huge risks, and invested thousands of dollars in gear, educational workshops, and traveling the world for portfolio content. I spent countless hours learning how to market my business, and provide an exceptional experience for my clients. I did all of these things while working an exhausting full time job as a way to provide for myself while I built my business. The amount of blood, sweat and tears it has taken to build my own business would not be possible without having an unwavering passion, and love for what I do, and I can honestly say that I’ve enjoyed every moment of.
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.
I am a destination elopement photographer. I document intimate, connected wedding experiences, in the most breathtaking landscapes on earth. My passion for photography comes from storytelling, so being able to document the story of a couple’s elopement day is so fulfilling to me as a photographer. I started out photographing larger, more traditional weddings, but overtime I started to realized that these big weddings felt more like a big production. When the focus of the day is on entertaining hundreds of guests, it becomes impossible to remember what you are even celebrating in the first place. Elopements represent everything a wedding is truly about. After I shot my first elopement, I was hooked. I rebranded my entire business to specialize solely in elopements, and never looked back.
Like any entrepreneurial endeavor, building a successful photography business isn’t something that happens over night. There have been so many challenges, and difficulties, but I’ve learned that if you love something enough, and work hard enough for it, you will find success. I think being an entrepreneur requires an obsession with the process. Despite the hardships along the way, I’ve loved every minute of the process. Passion is the core of my business, and who I am as a person – and I think that’s the biggest thing I would want the world to know.
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?
My favorite things about living in Denver is the amazing food scene, and all the amazing breweries. There is definitely nothing better than spending an afternoon drinking some good beer outside, with amazing views.
Some of my favorite restaurants are:
Surena Persian Cuisine
Of a Kind
Lucile’s Creole Cafe
Some of my favorite breweries:
The Golden Mill
Platt Park Brewing Co
I would also have to suggest a trip out of the city and into the mountains! You can’t come to Denver without seeing some of the amazing mountain scenery. One of my favorite spots close to Denver is Rocky Mountain National Park, or Loveland Pass – both are spectacular and not too far at all!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My parents! I was lucky enough to be raised by parents that taught me that I could be anything I wanted to be, if I worked hard enough. My dad always told me that if I followed my passion the money would follow. Choosing to go into a creative industry, and being an entrepreneur can feel like a big risk, and I wouldn’t have been able to take that risk without the encouragement of my parents.
All images are my images except the single image taken of me! The photographer that took that photo is Taylor Maloney. Her business name is Taylor Kay Photography. Her instagram is @taylorkayphoto_