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Pay It Forward – AMP’d Studios

Photo Courtesy

I am happy to present to you our 36th local business spotlighted in the Pay it Forward feature – AMP’d Studios.

Our recent Lake County business featured was Massage and Bodywork by Sarah Genetiano and owner, Sarah Genetiano chose to Pay it Forward to AMP’d Studios.

The catch is that I will not choose the next business to interview, but the current spotlighted business will choose who I will interview next. Local businesses will Pay it Forward.

AMP’d Studios is locally owned and operated by Amanda Santana. She specializes in preserving your special moments with breathtaking photography.  

Amanda offers a variety of sessions, such as weddings, family, prom, business, sports, events and more.

AMP’d Studios will transform your memories into art!

1. Why did you decide to start your own business?

I decided to start my own photography business because I was consistently feeling unfulfilled and let down in my previous jobs. I realized that I was more passionate about capturing moments through my lens than anything else. Friends and family were always impressed with my photography skills, even when I was just taking random pictures with my phone during school. Recognizing my potential, my dad bought me my first camera, which was a turning point in my life. Encouraged by the positive feedback I received for my photos at a young age, I knew I had a talent worth pursuing.

Initially, photography was a side gig for me, a backup plan while I navigated through various phases of my life. However, when I started my own family, everything changed. I wanted to capture every precious moment myself, rather than relying on others. This personal desire drove me to transition my side gig into my main profession. I briefly “retired” from photography, but this break only reignited my passion. I returned with a renewed vigor, a new business name, and a solid business plan.

In April, I officially debuted my revamped business at the Business is Blooming Expo. This event was a significant milestone, allowing me to share my work with a wider audience and expand the scope of my photography. Since then, I have been enjoying the journey of growing my business, meeting new clients, and exploring new creative avenues. Starting my own business was not just a career move, but a personal evolution that allowed me to turn my passion into a fulfilling profession.

2. How do you deal with fear and doubt?

Dealing with fear and doubt is a crucial part of my journey as a photographer and business owner. Instead of letting these negative emotions control me, I focus on strategies that help me rise above them. I consciously make an effort not to allow fear and doubt to overwhelm or take over my thoughts. When I feel these emotions creeping in, I turn to activities that help me reset and regain my confidence.

One of my go-to methods is working out. Physical activity is not only great for my body but also for my mind. It helps me release tension, clear my head, and gain a fresh perspective on whatever challenges I am facing. And lastly, a long walk always leaves me feeling more grounded and capable.

Music also plays a significant role in managing my emotions. When I need to shake off doubt, I turn on my favorite jams at a loud volume. The energy and positivity in music can be incredibly uplifting, allowing me to shift my mood almost instantly.

3. How does your business look different now vs. when you first started?

When I first started my photography business, it was very much a solo endeavor with a lot of trial and error. I was primarily focused on honing my craft and taking on small projects whenever I could. At that stage, I relied heavily on word-of-mouth referrals from friends and family and was grateful for any opportunity to showcase my work.

Fast forward to today, and my business has undergone a significant transformation. One of the most exciting changes is that I am now actively booking events and working with a diverse range of clients. This includes everything from special events, family portraits, local events and now, showcasing small businesses!  The consistent stream of bookings has not only validated my decision to pursue photography full-time but also allowed me to build a solid portfolio that showcases the breadth of my skills and creativity.

A pivotal factor in this growth has been the guidance of a business coach. Having a coach has been instrumental in helping me pivot my business for success. They bring a fresh perspective and a wealth of experience that I wouldn’t have access to on my own. Their insights into marketing strategies, client management, and business operations have been invaluable. With their support, I’ve been able to set clear goals, implement effective processes, and navigate the challenges of running a business with greater confidence.

Having a business coach means I no longer feel like I’m navigating this journey alone. They provide not only practical advice but also emotional support, which has been crucial in maintaining my motivation and resilience. The collaborative nature of our relationship allows me to brainstorm new ideas, tackle obstacles head-on, and stay adaptable in an ever-changing market.

4. How do you set your business apart from others in your industry?

Setting my business apart in the photography industry involves a blend of passion, personal connection, and unique practices that resonate deeply with my clients. One of the core philosophies that distinguish my work is my focus on capturing memories and milestones for my clients, rather than just taking pictures for the sake of my business. Each photo session is approached with the intent to create lasting, cherished memories that clients can look back on fondly for years to come. This client-centric approach ensures that every image holds personal significance and emotional value.

Another unique aspect of my business is the way I immerse myself in the events I photograph. I make it a point to dress for the occasion, matching the theme and ambiance of the event. For instance, if I am photographing a Halloween party, I will dress in a costume that aligns with the event’s spooky theme. This not only enhances the overall experience for my clients but also helps me blend seamlessly into the event, making everyone feel more comfortable and at ease. My dedication to aligning with the theme demonstrates my commitment to the project and adds a layer of fun and engagement to the process.

5. What is the hardest part of being an entrepreneur?


One of the hardest parts of being an entrepreneur is staying on task and maintaining a healthy work-life balance. Running your own business often means wearing multiple hats and juggling a wide array of responsibilities, from client management and marketing to finances and project execution. The sheer volume of tasks can be overwhelming; making it challenging to stay focused and organized. Additionally, the blurred lines between work and personal life can lead to burnout if not managed properly. Finding the right strategies to prioritize tasks, set boundaries, and allocate time for both work and personal activities is an ongoing challenge.

Another significant difficulty lies in pricing. Determining the right price point for services is a delicate balancing act. As a photographer, I strive to offer fair and competitive prices that appeal to a broad audience while ensuring that my work reflects its true value. This is particularly challenging because it’s easy to undervalue one’s skills and services, especially in a creative field where subjective opinions can vary widely. I aim to avoid selling myself short and undercutting the market, but I also don’t want my services to be prohibitively expensive for potential clients.

6. What is your favorite part of being an entrepreneur?

My favorite part of being an entrepreneur is the freedom and flexibility it affords me, especially when it comes to managing my own schedule. Unlike a traditional 9-to-5 job, being my own boss means I have the autonomy to plan my workday according to my personal and professional needs. This flexibility allows me to allocate time for both my family and my business, ensuring that I can be present for important moments in both realms. It also means that I can choose when and where I work, giving me the opportunity to seek out inspiring environments that fuel my creativity.

Another aspect I love about being an entrepreneur is the unique behind-the-scenes access I get to a variety of small businesses. As a photographer, I have the privilege of working closely with different businesses to help them showcase their products and services. This often involves delving deep into their operations, understanding their stories, and capturing their essence through my lens. It’s fascinating to learn about the intricacies of various industries and see the passion and dedication that small business owners pour into their work.

This immersion into the world of small businesses not only broadens my own knowledge but also allows me to contribute to their success in a meaningful way. By presenting their products and services in a creative and compelling manner, I help them attract new customers and grow their brands. The collaborative nature of these projects is incredibly rewarding, as I get to witness firsthand the impact of my work on their businesses.

The creative freedom that comes with entrepreneurship is something I deeply cherish. Each project offers a new challenge and an opportunity to think outside the box. Whether it’s experimenting with different lighting techniques, scouting unique locations, or conceptualizing a themed photoshoot, the creative possibilities are endless. This variety keeps my work exciting and ensures that no two days are ever the same.

7. If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

If given the opportunity to travel anywhere in the world, one place that has always captured my imagination is Scotland.

One of the aspects that draw me to Scotland is its stunning scenery. From rugged mountain ridges to rolling green hills dotted with sheep, the landscapes are nothing short of breathtaking. The opportunity to photograph these dramatic landscapes, capturing the play of light and shadow, would be a dream come true for me as a photographer.

Beyond its natural wonders, Scotland is steeped in history and folklore. Castles perched atop cliffs, ancient stone circles nestled in remote valleys, and quaint villages with cobbled streets all waiting to be explored. Each corner of Scotland seems to have a story to tell, whether it’s the stirring tales of clans and battles or the mystical legends of mythical creatures like the Loch Ness Monster.

AMP’d Studios

Business Hours: By Appointment Only

Website: www.ampdstudios.co

Book A Session: https://bit.ly/ampd-to-book

Instagram: www.instagram.com/AMPd_Studios

Phone: 707-809-5482

Email: amanda@ampdstuidos.co

Photographer Owner: Amanda Santana

Amanda would like to Pay it Forward to CJS Property Services.

Stay tuned for CJS Property Services!

Lori Armstrong

Lori began her career in the legal field, leaving that position to pursue full-time writing endeavors. Being a criminal court reporter for the Record-Bee, she balances the chaos in her brain by writing children's books and reflective pieces. When time allows, she publishes books for Amazon.

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