Our dear sister, Patricia was recently featured on Blog Talk Radio/Significant Business Results Radio. She was interviewed for her successful photography business, Fig Tree Portraits. Below is a summary of her interview, edited a bit for smoother reading. We commend Patricia for being courageous and not holding back the true reason for her success and joy: God. There are opportunities to evangelize every day. Be bold and courageous. Thank you Patricia.
Patricia has a passion for finding beauty in others. She has a great love for people and life that drives her to do what she does. She says she is a great wife, an award deserving Mom and a beloved daughter of God.
How did you come up with the name for your business?
I prayed about it. In the Bible, the fig tree was not able to bring fruits on its own. God is my business partner and He brings the fruits for my job. The second reason for this name is that “fig” are the first three letters of my last name. Also “tree” sounds a bit like “three”, and I have three sons.
We’re always interested in hearing how people form their business. You have a european background. What is your country of origin and how did you find your way here?
I was born in Poland and came to the States in 2004. We came here because my husband was invited for a job in research at the University of Pennsylvania. That was the main reason. We had originally come here for three years. Now we have been here for eleven years.
In the beginning I stayed at home and took care of my kids. I was not able to work because of visa restrictions. Then in 2010 we got our green cards. I thought to myself, what should I do? What is the next step? In Poland I was very active – I have three masters degrees. I was a teacher before we left. However I could not use any of my experience or education here in the US. I didn’t want to just be a cashier in a grocery store – I wanted to do something bigger and I was praying about it. Later, some friends suggested that I do what I do every day and just turn it into a business. I thought, it cannot be that simple.
Anyway, since I hand’t come up with a better idea for a while, I began to ask other photographers questions about how they run their business. I began to shoot more professionally. In the beginning I didn’t have a professional camera nor a computer with a suitable monitor. I felt like God wanted me to do this although I did not have any sign. Then one day a couple that we didn’t know came to our house and gave us three-thousand dollars in an envelope. They told us to use this for what ever we needed. I felt like this was the sign from God. So that is how it started.
As you began the business part, Who did you photograph? How did your portfolio start out?
I started with kids. The parents were very happy with the results and I received so many compliments on how my way of seeing their children was different from other photographers. I was also photographing families: for Christmas, family sessions on the beach in the summer, etc.
It was during these sessions that I noticed that many moms were actually trying to escape from the pictures. It was hard to convince them to be in those pictures. As I spoke to these women, it really made me think. They didn’t like the way they looked, they were unhappy about themselves. My philosophy is, however, that everybody should be included in the photos with their children. It doesn’t matter what your size is or what are your imperfections. Your children do not think of you this way. They wouldn’t look at these pictures and think: I wish my mom would have lost weight before taking this picture. Rather, they would be filled with joy and say: my mom is so beautiful! I am a mom myself and so I know how important this is, to create memories.
Some photographers offer boudoir or pin-up sessions for women. I am not comfortable with this, so I came up with something more elegant. Then the women began to buy all their pictures. I realized that I had done something good; I had changed the way they viewed themselves. So I began to concentrate more on women and moms.
So you developed a niche. You found a way to provide a service that was not available. It allowed women to see themselves as they are. For them to create memories for themselves and for their families. That is very powerful!
Yes, right now you can say I specialize in women’s portraiture.
You photograph in natural light in your studio. Why natural light? How does that connect with your philosophy and with your photography?
Natural light is the most beautiful and the most flattering light, especially on adult women. Their body is not perfect anymore and that light makes them look gorgeous.
If I would try the same thing with artificial light it just would not look good. It would look like the glamour shots from the 1980’s – perhaps good for supermodels, but not for real people. It was a problem for me because not every day there is beautiful sunshine for a session. But I know that it is what God provides for me. He knows our schedule and who will be photographed. This is my sixth year in business and I have canceled only one session because of light.
I understand your connection between passion and purpose. What guides your life?
The most important quote for me, especially for business, is a quote from Mother Teresa:
We are not called to be successful, but faithful to God.
This brings me back to work when I have difficulties. I believe that this is so true – you never know when it will be your last day. I believe my job is so much more than just taking pictures. I know this entire business is not because of me.
I try to teach my kids about another quote from Nick Vujicic:
Dream big and never let fear keep you from working towards your dreams.
So many people do not have dreams or desires. Find your purpose and go that way, no matter what.
It was fascinating to look at your physical portfolio; to see the different faces and smiles from different people. So as we finish up, is there a final thought you would like to share with our audience?
I would like to invite every woman, every girl who ever looked in the mirror and did not feel good about themselves to a very personal session with me. Because I believe it will change the way you see yourself. Thanks for letting me share my story and business with you all.
Thank you Patricia. It’s been a great opportunity to meet with you. You can find Patricia on facebook at: facebook.com/figtreeportraits