Q: Tell me about your business.
A: I am the only photographer. I shoot mostly lifestyle and commercial photography, which is advertising created to look natural. I'm working with people to make them look at ease.
I've had the business for 11 years. Before that I was with Godfrey Advertising for 14 years. They actually helped me start my business when I started. There, I was one of two staff photographers. At the time, it was always recommended that you specialize in something, but as a staff photographer, I got to shoot so many things, and that has served me well. My experience is very diverse.
I love photographing people to make people feel at ease, but I also love collaborating with clients to bring their ideas to life. I enjoy people, and I enjoy working with people.
Has the company had any recent expansions or other changes? How is business going?
One of the changes has been that my daughter, who is almost 9 now, was adopted almost two years ago from China. The business had to be downshifted, put on pause or take a break. That has changed my business. Also, my assistant became a mother for the first time, so she was less available to help me.
We're starting to climb up out of it. I'm starting promotion efforts. I'm not a young photographer, even though I think I am. This is much more competitive, and I have to show people I have the experience.
What are some challenges you have had to overcome?
Everyone thinks they can be a photographer, but when you compare the work side by side, there is a difference. Whether it's a portrait or a commercial client, everyone wants something for nothing. Convincing people of the value of good photography is one of the big challenges.
The other big challenge is that I am a mom to two young kids, and I'm the sole proprietor. I love what I do, but I'm always torn with the balance of being a good mother. It's constantly a balancing act, and I honestly feel really blessed. Ultimately, I set my own schedule, so if I need to be home, I can be there for my kids.
What are some of the trends in the industry now?
Definitely one of the biggest trends is photographers are being asked to start shooting video to accompany still photography. I haven't started doing that yet, but I've been looking into it. I think it's here to stay. I understand it, but I feel it waters down the two media to bring them together, but I know I'm going to be asked to do it. I'm hoping to find a videographer to collaborate with.
Has the price of gas, the slow economy or any other negative factors affected your business? How so?
Gas, no, not directly. I travel a lot for my clients — I'm based in Peach Bottom. I do have a studio, but I've kind of put myself in the niche of location work. One negative factor is that people are just so much tighter with their budgets.
A very strange trend I've noticed this year is that people schedule shoots and then cancel them at the last minute. I see that happening a lot, and it's not the same clients. I think people are hesitant to invest in good photography. I have had to adjust my prices, but I'm willing to do that for jobs that will challenge me, creatively and artistically.
What are some of the positive things that have come out of our recent down economy for you?
Maybe it kind of forced me to get out, meet new people, get new contacts. I think that's something every artist struggles with. Making time for marketing is always a struggle.
One of the positives is that I have done more gratis work because my schedule has been lighter. I can spend more time with the kids. The year my daughter came here, there was a lull, and that was the perfect time, since she was an older adoption and we had to get her used to her new family and the new culture and the new language. I've definitely taken advantage of that, volunteering at the school. When my life-quality stuff is better, I work much more creatively. I went for a walk today for the first time in weeks, and I just had all kinds of creative ideas.
What does the future look like for you?
Bring it on, baby. In the future, I look forward to continuing to grow, to constantly challenging myself, to use my photographer's eye to see more of the work, to train my eye to see more, bring more.
Gini Woy, 52, is the sole proprietor and solo photographer at Gini Woy Photography, based in Peach Bottom Township, Lancaster County.
A former staff photographer with an advertising agency, Woy’s experience and expertise include ad and marketing work, news and journalism, portraits — including children, pets and special events — and retouching and restoration work.
Some of her major clients include Penn State University, Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center, Hershey Entertainment, Reading Hospital, Drexel University and Godfrey Advertising.
Woy and her husband, Kelly, have two children — Henry, 11, and Stella, 8.