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Rising Stars: Meet Emily Ingalls

Today we’d like to introduce you to Emily Ingalls.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
Kodak and Fuji film is where my photography journey started. I loved taken pictures as a kid. I would fill up photo albums of my family, friends, and myself with them. My parents were great in letting me take photos because film and processing were expensive, but it was worth it to have those memories. I loved running up to the camera counter at my local store and being handed the envelope of prints, and the excitement of flipping through them all to see which ones turned out, did someone make a funny face or was everything just blurry. You can’t replace that kind of excitement (even now). Although my love of photography started way back when the thought of turning it into a career never once crossed my mind until much later in life. After I had my first child in 2009, I decided to stay at home and raise my kids. I wanted to document their journey, so I started a blog with photos. It started out as a creatively outlet for me. I needed something to call my own when I was giving most of my time and energy to my children (all four). I wrote stories about the craziness that happened in my day-to-day life and posted some pictures up on it to keep my family, who lived out of state, in the loop of my life.

I wanted my photos to look better. I was just using a basic point and shoot camera at the time. I started researching where I could learn more about photographer, and I found Clickin’ Moms (now called Click Community). I signed up for a membership and started online photography classes. I bought my first DSLR, a Nikon 5100, and started practicing and shooting my kids. I have so much of my kid’s younger years documented in photos! I might have gone a little crazy, but they were willing subjects, and it was really easy to practice on them. When my youngest child turned 1, I had a few people start to ask me to take their family photos. I have always wanted to own my own business. It’s one of the reasons I got my MBA. In the end, I opened up my business, Emily Ingalls, Photography, in 2016. I started off really small, and I’ve grown it to be a successful business. I love shooting newborns, families, headshots/branding, and seniors! My business has evolved as I’ve learned more and more about the photography business, my Voice, and my style in general.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
It’s definitely not been a smooth road! I remember many nights crying, not understanding why people would go to different photographers and not me for photos. It took me a solid two years to finally make a profit. Looking back, I’m glad it wasn’t an instant success. I learned a lot about marketing, SEO, and being myself. I stayed true to who I was and what I wanted my business to be, and it eventually caught up to what I wanted. I’ve also learned to be criticized and learned to stand up for myself and what I believe it. I once had a customer ask me to make her slimmer because she didn’t like how big she looked, and I said no. It was hard because I want my clients to be happy, but I don’t believe in representing a false truth and false narrative. Being proud of who you are and what you look like should be the norm, and it’s what I believe in. That was hard. It was also hard seeing others have success where you fail or where you aren’t keeping pace. I constantly wondered what I was doing wrong. I kept telling myself I was in it for the long game. My husband was my rock during all this, and I couldn’t have done it without him. I applied to be a Click Pro Elite which is an association of professional photographers pursuing advanced artistic and business development while amplifying the voice of photographers worldwide. I had to submit a 150 image portfolio and have in be scored in 6 categories, then earn a minimum score to be accepted. I didn’t get admitted the first time I submitted my work. I missed the score by 1 point, and I was devastated. I cried and questioned everything I had done and all the photos I submitted. It was a huge blow to my self-confidence. After six months, I reapplied after tweaking my portfolio a little and was accepted!

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I specialize in lifestyle newborn photography, family photography, headshots and branding photos for individuals and businesses, and senior photography. My work is consistent. What you see on my website and in my portfolio is what you get. I’m really honest with my clients as well. I keep things as natural and true to the photo as possible. I’ve also recently started photographing food, macro, and Legos/toys. That’s a lot of fun! I get to set up different scenes and compositions then get lost behind the camera. Next thing I know, an hour has gone by and it feels like 5 minutes. That’s when I know I love what I’m shooting!

I’ve also picked my film camera back up and have been shooting film for my personal projects the past few years. It’s always gets me that amazing, same rush as a kid when I get the film developed.

I’ve been a finalist twice in an international photo competition called The Voice in 2016 and 2018. And I was an Honorable Mention in The Voice in 2020. I’m also part of a member of Click Pro Elite which is an association of professional photographers pursuing advanced artistic and business development while amplifying the voice of photographers worldwide. I had to submit an 150 image portfolio and have in be scored in 6 categories, then earn a minimum score to be accepted. It was an honor to be accepted, and it’s still an honor to be a Click Pro Elite.

I have done volunteer photography for various organizations including The Tiny Footprint Project.

I believe it is really important as an artist to develop your own unique Voice. It’s really hard to do! I find my voice evolving as I grow as an artist, but I’ve always found some common themes throughout my work. I love negative space and clean images. It’s been a constant for me and my work over the years.

What do you like best about our city? What do you like least?
I love the weather! It’s great for shooting outside almost all year long. The summer can be brutal, but I can definitely make it work. Seeing the rapid amount of growth is sad and exciting. I hate we’re losing the small-town feel and traffic is horrible, but seeing the area grow and bring in new businesses is fun. Although I miss all the green space we used to have now that’s it’s being developed so quickly.


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Image Credits
All images taken by Emily Ingalls, Emily Ingalls Photography

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