We had the good fortune of connecting with Marissa McDaniels and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Marissa, how has your work-life balance changed over time?
Balance is very important to me. I am always trying to achieve and prefect balance in my personal life and business. My work life balance has changed over time from working all the time to make a paycheck. Skipping time with family and making excuses to do make healthy choices because I needed to hustle to keep the roof over our head an food on the table. I have learned that money comes and goes and you can’t get back time. Therefore, I changed my values of being that girl that will pick up every shift and stay late because I told myself I needed the money. In reality I needed balance between work, family and me time. Now, I have created boundaries for myself to keep the balance between work and my personal life. I still grind and channel my inner hustle all the time to create a business that fulfills myself and others. I have a quote that lives rent free in my head, “to get to the castle you must swim the mote.” That quote keeps my fire going. I have spent countless years in an industry that doesn’t care about you and will replace you in a heart beat and I finally took the jump and trusted myself to create my own business and be my own boss. At the end of the day I have to answer to myself on how the day went. It is myself that I will have to answer to at the end of the day. I have to be real with myself if I am creating the life that I want to live and what my heart desires. In my work life it is a core value to balance work, health, family to achieve my personal happiness. I am currently trying to get to the perfect balance of it all. I wake up early before the sunrises to get the day started with a cup a tea, yoga and meditation for a little me time. I sprinkle in the start of my work flow before I have to take my daughter to school. The to do list of being a mom and a business owner is never ending. I have learned to schedule in breaks and things that I love to keep my soul happy. I want to be sharp and refreshed to have a clear vision and execution plan for my short term and long term goals. I am proud of the boundaries and the balance I have created and I am excited to see how it keeps clearing a path for the future.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I have always been artistic and creative in every way. I have always loved creating from DIY projects, drawing all the way to digital art where I found my niche. Technology always just clicked with me and I loved learning all about photoshop and find the right angles and dimensions in photography, It all started as just fun and how to pass the time throughout middle school and high school. I loved taking any art classes. I have been a model since I was a young girl and learned a lot from being on both sides of the camera on what to do and what not to do. I was always playing around with a camera and photo editing software and as the years have gone on I have fallen in love with sharing how I see the world though a lens for everyone to see. That is why I love the wedding industry. I have an empath personality and feel emotions easily and deeply by just standing in a room. I can create the emotions I feel from others into candid photos to freeze in time for my clients to look back on and relive the emotion and details from the day. I wouldn’t say where I am today was an easy journey. It has been a lot of soul searching and running away from what I kept getting drawn back to. I have had to learn a lot about myself, business and marketing. It has been a beautiful journey non the less and it isn’t over! I am always over coming challenges, creating and accomplishing new goals. I love learning new things and in this industry there is always something new to learn and perfect. It keeps me on my toes. I enjoy meeting new people and telling their story through photos. Being a photographer isn’t always easy. My job is to break down the insecurities someone has that has been created over time through social norms and expectations and how one sees them self. When you leave a session with me you will guaranteed feel confident, sexy and ready to take on the world after you leave. My brand and story reflects emotions, milestones and celebration. I shoot in RAW format and create RAW moments, (photography jargon.) The brand I have created is down to earth, natural and creative and confident. I bring out the beauty that people didn’t know was there in the moment and within themselves. That is what I take pride in. I love telling stories, creating memories and hyping everyone up to be their higher self. As a wedding and elopement photographer the photos and the memories of that day are what will last forever and what you look back on to relive those emotions and details of the day. The flowers will die, the decorations will get taken down, the guest leave and the venue schedules another event. I have a big role to play in the wedding and I take it very seriously but approach it with a fun and energetic way to get the job done. Everyone will leave satisfied and ecstatic for the future and if that feeling starts to fade. Look at the candid raw moments we created to feel that fire again.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I love a perfect mix of city and the wild. I love the fast beat life of the city and the endless options for good food and every city has a different vibe and aesthetic. Naturally my go to would be a Ramen joint or JAX for some seafood and beer in Denver. Find a club and dance our hearts out. Next day, after we get our high off the city life it is time to escape into nature. I don’t always have a plan on where I am going. I just like to pick a direction and end up somewhere beautiful and unexpected. I like showing my friends a favorite hike that they wont know how to get to because it is the road less traveled. A day hike that ends with us in a natural hot springs or just chilling at an Air Bnb with a hot tub and pool that is all to ourselves.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Where to start on my shout out list?! Over the years I have had many support and so many people pushing me to believe in myself and my talents when I didn’t put energy into and I just wanted to make a paycheck and wasn’t reaching higher. I want to thank my family and friends for always thinking of me when they wanted photos done for any occasion from branding to weddings. Thank you for reaching out to me even when I wasn’t pursuing it. Every session lit a fire inside me that I couldn’t ignore and it all added up over the years until I was finally ready to listen and pursue it and make the jump. I want to thank the Crabb family especially for always pushing me towards doing what I love. Kellie, Mark, Zach and of course the father of my child Garrett for the never ending support. My heart was shattered when all my photography equipment got stolen and Garrett purchased a brand new camera for me to keep on going and to not give up even when the cards were stacked against me at the time. Here I am today, still using that same camera during every session, thriving now more than ever. Thank you to parents for always letting me borrow and try out new photography equipment from your personal selection and being there for me every step of the way. Thank you to Kailani for always hiring me over the years for weddings and family events. It mean the world to me to know that you are always thinking of me and supporting me in any way you could. Another special thanks to Leenda; Founder and Owner of Cathexis Talent. I am so grateful for meeting you at one of our odd jobs years ago where we instantly vibed for our high drive for success and bouncing ideas off each other. I appreciate all the photography gigs you were able to place me in as you grew your business and to help me build mine. You have always been there for me every step of the way and my heart is so full knowing you and watching you grow and how many people you have helped along the way. You are one of a kind and I am proud to call you a friend. Nikki Burke with Exquisite Events and Productions has had another big role in my story as Light Rae Exposures. I have worked with her on multiple weddings and elopements and every time is a pleasure. I love her work ethic, organization and communication skills which is everything you need and are looking for in a Wedding Planner. I appreciate every client you recommend that needs a wedding photographer. Your support has helped me grow as a person and as a business tremendously and for that I am always grateful. Thank you Alex for supporting my journey is establishing myself as Wedding Photographer. I love learning and expanding our knowledge for business and marketing together. Every share and shout out of social media to get my name out there speaks volumes on the type of friend you are. We push each other to keep creating and keep setting goals and manifesting the future. Of course, I can’t forget you are my ultimate adventure and work out buddy. Last but never least. My fiancé, Kevin Owens. You are my rock, my soul supporter and the reason why I am establishing my business more and more every day. Your undying support and love and belief in me is breath taking. You make me feel like the luckiest women alive for having you by my side. I can never forget to thank you and your family who has been there every step of the way with me and supporting me. Thank you Roxanne and Renee for always being a mother and sister to me through out all these years and accepting me into your family. Seriously, thank you to everyone who has a had a part in my story on creating Light Rae Exposures. You all mean the world to me.