Pay It Forward: Two Oak Photography

Photo Credit: Two Oak Photography

I am happy to present to you our twenty-second local business spotlighted in the Pay it Forward feature – Life at Two Oak Photography. Our recent Lake County business featured was Flickerstix Candle Co. and owner, Tina Ball, chose to Pay it Forward to Tristesse “TC” Peterson, owner of Life at Two Oak Photography. 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.

Life at Two Oak Photography is a local professional photographer that is based in Middletown, California. TC is a Bay Area photographer of all things portraits; engagement, events, family and wedding sessions.

Travel is not out of the question for this photographer – inquire for all of your photographic needs. TC is not afraid of much – just ask and she’ll devise a plan. She loves trying creative things in a fast paced environment, adapting to any given situation, bringing out the beauty that’s already present within you.
Live at Two Oak Photography believes this time belongs to you – have fun with it and make memories to last a lifetime.

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

Starting my business has been a labor of love for over 30 years; To tell a story; to document a moment in time that won’t be repeated; to witness love and happiness before my very eyes; and to take care of humans who trust in my process are all reasons why I chose photography. I “feel” the moments with people I have known for years and new people I’m meeting through my lens. My hope for them when they experience Life at Two Oak is that they’re seen and heard for exactly who they are, no different. No taller, no shorter, not younger or older…that they’re beautiful in their skin and I can see that in them, even when they cannot see it themselves.

  1. How do you deal with fear and doubt?

I would have answered this question far differently 10-30 years ago; I think when you get to the point where you’re willing to expose yourself and allow for creative growth, fear and doubt can dance right on through your mind and not rest in my soul. A common feeling in this line of work issue is something called “Imposter” syndrome. It’s when you are surrounded by a group of like-minded creatives and your work mirrors another. I haven’t experienced this type of feeling in a very long time. For me it’s become more about relishing the entire experience from start to finish vs. any worry about me vs. another photographer. It’s truly the beauty of the arrival to a photographic brain. I adore all of the photographers in our area; they’re all talented in their own craft. If you brought us all together and we were taking images of the same thing, we wouldn’t take the same image twice. If someone chooses me, they’re choosing me because they like my work, my work ethic, my process, and for the basic fact that I will take special care of their hearts while we go through the entire process of introduction to wall art.

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

Over the years I have pulled up my bootstraps and traipsed through the digital era from film to learning about pixels, shifted editing from a darkroom to Adobe/Photoshop. You could say that there’s been so much change to when I first began. The coming of the digital era meant that the likelihood of eyes being closed has been reduced. I still overshoot with large groups or if there’s a lot going on, so I don’t miss anything. A typical family session/senior session can give me well over 3000 images to go through…But, since I know when everyone arrives in their comfort zone (when they get the most comfortable in front of my lens) which makes my editing process fairly easy. I won’t edit who someone is, in Photoshop. I will help anyone and everyone find the beauty they already possess, the parts of themselves that they’ve forgotten about or have a hard time seeing. I feel so fortunate that I can see it in them right away. I sincerely love life and those who surround me in theirs.

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

I feel that I offer an experience in comparison to a session. I will treat you respectfully and love you for who you are throughout the process. There are many steps and I want you to feel comfortable, so we meet ahead of time if we don’t already know one another. I have a process that includes questionnaires, an in person meeting or if we must zoom…I must hear you, know what you’re looking for and see your beautiful selves before we meet up for your experience.

I will do homework and find locations that you dream of; you send me your vision and I find ways to recreate it…and if you allow me creative freedom, I will tailor your experience around what you’ve shared with me. We’re always in contact, and the outcome is typically one you’ll never forget. The best part? You have proof, in the images. I truly love what I do, and feel ever so grateful for my clients.

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

The most difficult thing about being an entrepreneur at this stage of my life is paperwork. It’s sincerely not my favorite thing to do. Also, I want to give everything away because that’s just how my heart works. I’ve had to learn to charge what I believe I’m worth. The more I grow older, the more I’m reminded about time (the greatest thief of all) and how my time holds value.

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

Nearly the exact opposite of the question before…When I can do something for another entrepreneur and it has some potential to lighten their load, maybe provide them with something that may help their business. I have been going around the county and offering to highlight others, listen to them, write a little blog about them, and offer some quality images for free, in hopes that maybe someone didn’t know about this business, or how they came to be, or why they do what they do…and I write a blog about them and use SEO, and tag the heck out them. Basically, spreading love to others, because we all need one another, and to be able to reach and lean is a beautiful gift we should do more often as entrepreneurs.

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

I’m not good at answering questions, with simple answers. I don’t have one place I’d like to be. I dream of many places; all of my sweet children, who’ve started to spread their own wings in seeking their fulfillment, are geographically not within reach. I suppose “If I could lasso the moon” and pull us all closer together that would be ideal.

When I was a young girl, Italy was a huge desire. I love architecture, the landscape of how topographically the country changes from North to South. I love that the traditions and culture offer a very different outlook of a day, than here in the United States. I love the idea in my mind of how I perceive what the people would be like and their strong sense of family – The history that is throughout the region and I feel like I’d never want to leave.

Life at Two Oak Photography
Owner – Tristesse “TC” Peterson
PO Box 1074
Middletown, CA 95461

Contact hours typically 8am-7pm; Sessions are work with both of our schedules
Facebook – @Life at Two Oak Photography
Instagram – @Life at Two Oak Photography
Website: www.lifeattwooak.com

Tristesse would like to Pay it Forward to Stellar Homes in Middletown
Stay tuned for Stellar Homes!

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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