A Conversation With Pittsburgh Branding, Commercial, and Portrait Photographer Amy Tedrow

For this week’s Photography Blog Circle post, I’m mixing it up a bit and sharing an interview with my friend and fellow photographer, Amy Tedrow of Believe, Create, Inspire and Amy Tedrow Photography who specializes in helping entrepreneurs, creatives, small businesses, and non-profit organizations level-up their marketing with professional photographs.

Amy provides photography services for anyone who is looking to update their marketing presence. She is passionate about quality product photos and offers flat lay, e-commerce (white background), lifestyle, and modeled. In addition, she enjoys photographing events for non-profits and small businesses because, as she says, “Everyone works so hard to organize these events, whether it be for fundraising or team building, but photographing the key moments is often the last thing on the organizer’s mind. I want to take that pressure off them and allow them the opportunity to participate in the event with one less thing to worry about.”

Photos provided by Amy Tedrow Photography.

If you’re in need of branding, commercial, event, or portrait photography, I highly recommend reaching out to Amy. In the meantime, enjoy this interview with one of the most organized, generous, and kind women I know.

Q: How did you land on the niche(s) on which you focus?

A: I picked up my first camera in late 2015 and officially started my business in February 2017. Initially, my first passion was travel and landscape photography, which is still a passion project for me; however, over the course of those few years, several friends and family members began asking for photographs.

I photographed my sister’s wedding, which was super fun but also stressful in that I was fearful of missing key moments. I spent a few years photographing seniors and families and then stepped into the world of corporate headshots, product photography, and photographing events.

As my career evolved, it became clear that the niches I enjoy focusing on (branding and headshots, commercial, product, and event) all support small businesses, non-profits, and entrepreneurs and that became my sole focus. 

Q: What sets your business apart from others of a similar niche?

A: I worked 14+ years in the corporate world as a technical writer for various products and software as well as several years as a digital communications specialist with experiences in website design and social media management. With that vast array of technical experience, I can provide guidance on both the technical aspects and the creative process of capturing amazing photos.

It’s funny how, at the moment, you can’t see how those skills will benefit you, but I can’t tell you how many times I have been able to help a client troubleshoot a website issue or determine the technical specifications for a photograph needed for print media. It truly is amazing!

Q: What has been the most rewarding part of owning your own business?

A: Wow, there are many things that come to mind, but the most important is the freedom and flexibility that comes along with it.

As a person who worked a corporate career, there were so many opportunities that I missed with my kids growing up because I had a meeting to attend or something to complete after working hours. It has been so rewarding to be available for my kids when they need it; although they are a lot older now, it still rings true the same.

My second favorite is the opportunity to create. In the technical field, there were not very many opportunities to be creative unless you count making the margins smaller on a printout! I love to think outside the box and create ways that help my customers succeed. That gives me great pleasure.

Q: What has been the most surprising or unexpected part of owning a business and how have you handled that?

A: Hmmm, this is a thought-provoking question. To answer honestly, the most unexpected and difficult part of owning my own business is overcoming the obstacles that are caused by my own fears and insecurities. It is so easy to get caught up in the comparison trap, or wonder what others are doing and start running my business based on others’ success. I have learned that the best way to overcome this is to stay in my own lane and be my true authentic self. I still struggle with this every day, but I like to remind myself to feel the fear and do it anyway.

Q: How do you feel you’ve changed or grown the most in the past year?

A: So many things to say here, but I will start with, I have grown the most when I gave up the perception that everything needs to be perfect to proceed. As a type-A, detail-oriented person, it is often difficult for me to proceed with something because, in my eyes, it needs to be done right if I am going to do it at all. I suffer from paralysis analysis. This has been something I have been working on all my life if I am honest, but more so over the past few years and I have seen a lot of growth in this area.

Q: Who (or what) inspires you?

A: My grandmother was such a beautiful inspiration to me. She loved everything about life and was an avid photographer as well. I remember many nights at her home pouring over her beautiful photo albums, listening to her share story after story about the love of her life, her vocation as an Army Women’s Corp (WAC) ambulance driver, and her love for her family.

I am also inspired by my family. My husband is so supportive of me and my crazy ideas, and both of my kids are amazing individuals. I am so blessed and every day I am thankful!

Photos provided by Amy Tedrow Photography.

Q: What is something most people would be surprised to learn about you?

A: My family and I are avid board gamers and have quite the game closet collection. My favorite board game is the Game of Life, but my husband says that any game where you fill up a minivan full of kids is not winning. We love to sit down on an evening and play a quick game, or if they can talk me into it, a game of Risk or some strategy game that I have no chance of winning. It is all extremely fun. I think with the era of online and video games, board games tend to get overlooked. To me there is nothing like a good board game to bring friends and family together, creating memories that last a lifetime.

Q: Do you have a favorite quote or motto that you try to live by?

A: My friend gave me a sign to hang in my office that has the best quote and I adopted it for my life and business. It simply states, “If the plan doesn’t work, change the plan, but never change the goal.” This is a great reminder to always keep that flexible hat on and be ready to pivot. Life is too short to continue the status quo. Set goals for your life, and then proceed to make them happen. Every day might throw something new at you, but if the goal doesn’t change, keep proceeding, changing the plan to accomplish the goal if needed.

Q: What do you love to do outside of photography?

A: I have been volunteering with an organization called Living in Liberty that works to combat human trafficking in southwestern Pennsylvania by supporting survivors on the streets and in their safe homes, and by providing community education about the realities of commercial sexual exploitation in our city. They provide awareness and prevention training and education to various groups including professional care providers, law enforcement, and community groups, as well as advocate for legislation to fight trafficking and support survivors, and focus on youth prevention training, keeping our youth safe online and in-person. 

They also provide street outreach and a safe home, and their work is supported by their two repurposed thrift stores. This cause is very near and dear to me and I love every opportunity I have to bring awareness to this organization. If you would like to learn more about Living in Liberty, you can visit their website here.

Q: If you had to describe yourself as any dog (or animal), what kind would that be and why?

A: That would be a hummingbird. They are so carefree and remind me to live in the moment and enjoy life’s simple pleasures. Hummingbirds are also seemingly unpredictable, which I love. Some of my fondest memories are sitting on the back porch of my grandmother’s home watching the hummingbirds feed off the beautiful flowers in her garden never really knowing when they will appear yet so excited when they finally do. This is my why for choosing a hummingbird as my business logo, a daily reminder to be unpredictable, carefree, live in the moment, and enjoy life’s simple pleasures.

Photos provided by Amy Tedrow Photography.

Q: What are you most excited about in the coming months?

A: In the coming months, I plan on exploring more of my original why for photography. My true passion lies in traveling and creating amazing art pieces of the beautiful and vast landscapes I see. I aim to bring that joy home and create beautiful landscape art in hopes that those who purchase it will enjoy that small piece of the world in their own homes and businesses. I will be traveling to Washington State to visit a friend in July where we will spend some time together photographing and when I return, I will be working to open an online storefront selling my landscape and nature photography. My dream is to travel and photograph beautiful landscapes and I am excited for every opportunity I am given to do so. 

Q: Where can people find you (your social media links, website, etc.)?

A: You can easily find more information about me and what I do on my website, www.believecreateinspire.com, on Instagram at @amytedrowphotography, or on Facebook at www.facebook.com/amytedrowphotography. If there is anything I can do to help your business grow or if you just want to keep in touch, give me a follow!

If you’d like to see your Pittsburgh pet-focused small business featured here or share a guest post that you think Pittsburgh pet parents would enjoy, I’d love to connect and hear your vision! Choose your adventure below to begin.

Did you enjoy this post? Great, there’s more coming your way because it’s part of a photography blog circle featuring photographers specializing in a variety of niches! To see more content like this and what the next photographer is sharing for our weekly theme, “A Conversation With…,” check out Gretchen Decker with Gretchen Decker Photography, who shares a conversation with Pittsburgh senior photographer Michael Holl of Holl Photography. Continue to click the link at the end of each post in the blog circle until you eventually find your way back here.

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