We had the good fortune of connecting with Tori Garling and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Tori, what’s the most important lesson your business/career has taught you?
You have to believe in yourself more than anyone else does.
I learned a lot about that from my dad growing up. He always told me that I could do anything I set my mind to. I didn’t always believe him, but through different life experiences (including starting my photography business), I’ve learned a lot about the importance of mindset.
I’ve learned that mindset and perseverance go hand-in-hand. There are ALWAYS new things to learn in business and obstacles to overcome. If you believe that you can learn to do something or that you can find a solution to a problem, you’ll do it. Your mindset won’t do the work for you, but it will get you started and keep you going.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
I am a portrait photographer working primarily with families and seniors. I love serving my clients and having a great time! It can be SO awkward to be in front of the camera, so I try to make my clients feel as comfortable and confident as possible. I love delivering joyful images and want to make sure to break down that tension and have fun!
I’m proud of how far my photos have come since I started shooting and how far my business has come since it began. There will always be something to learn and it’s easy to look ahead and see how far I have to go, but it’s empowering to look back and see where I started.
I’m not sure I have a cut-and-dry answer as to how the business got to where it is currently. It was simultaneously easy and difficult to get here. It was easy because I’ve been having a blast! The challenge of launching and running a business has been exhilarating. I’ve overcome challenges by seeking education and not settling until I’ve found a solution.
There are MANY lessons I’ve learned, but I want to highlight this one: everyone starts somewhere. We live in a time where it’s very easy to compare ourselves and what we’re doing to other people. We have each other’s lives at our fingertips. It can be hard to start something new because we worry we won’t be good at it. How many things do we do in life because we’re good at them rather than doing something because we enjoy it? I was not very good at photography when I first started. But I loved doing it! So I invested in education. I learned about camera settings, I learned about light, I learned about posing, and now, I love the photos I’m taking. There will always be someone out there who is better at something than you. Don’t let that stop you from living your life and doing the things you enjoy!
I got my first camera in 2013. At that time I was taking pictures as a hobby and had no plans to get serious about it. I took photos for friends from time to time, but was not trying to book consistently. After graduating college, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to pursue, but I liked the idea of having some flexibility and building something of my own. It was my husband who suggested that I start my photography business and I’m so glad he did! I love what I do!
Our lives are made up of many small moments that seem insignificant at the time, as well as bigger moments that are really important and exciting. Photos from all of these moments tell a grand story of our lives–that’s what I love most about photography, being a witness to the lives of others and helping them compile a visual representation of their life story. My brand is all about taking these moments, big and small, and turning them into something tangible.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
First, I would love to show them some of our hiking trails and mountain views. Perhaps we would even stay a night or two in Evergreen, Estes, Grand Lake, Leadville, or Buena Vista. Colorado is so beautiful and I would be sure to show it off!
We have so many great restaurants here, but the one where I would really want to take my friend is the Yak and Yeti located in Old Town Arvada. After we get our fill of delicious food, we would be within walking distance of The Bluegrass, so we would stop there for a post-dinner drink! I just recently visited Café Brazil for the first time and the food was incredible, so that makes the list too! At some point during their stay, they would have to see Union Station–I just think that building is SO beautiful. We could sit in the Terminal Bar, catch up, and watch the hustle and bustle of the station.
If my friend likes jazz, I would take them to Nocturne in Denver. If not, we could catch another show at one of Colorado’s many live music venues.
In our spare time, we would take a drive and find the best views of the city lights!
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 husband, Andrew, is the MVP! He is my biggest supporter and most encouraging cheerleader. Not only does he assist me at my sessions and help carry my gear, he also builds me up and dreams big with me. He has given so much time in supporting me and deserves more than a little credit.
Also, Sara deserves a huge thank you for her guidance.
And mom, thank you for liking all of my Facebook posts and boosting my engagement. Joking aside, my biological family and my in-laws have been amazing.
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Sweet Solstice Photography, LLC