It seems that the last decade has completely revolutionized photography. Gone are the days of Sear’s portrait studios and awkwardly staged photos. Photographers have taken the game to a whole new level and the results are hanging on the walls of millions of home, artwork in and of itself.
In a time where the photography market is saturated with talented photographers, how do you stand out? It’s simple really, you be the owner of M. Laine Photography. Meghann Grah’s work is so far outside the cookie cutter mold of photography that it will literally make you catch your breath. Her focus of embracing the incredible scenery surrounding Tacoma, Washington brings something to her photos that no one else has.
Tell us about yourself.
Hey, I’m Meghann. I’m the photographer behind M. Laine Photography and I specialize in weddings, elopements and adventure photography in the Pacific Northwest and beyond. I’m also the founder of PNW Boss Babes, a networking and support group for female creative business owners living in the Pacific Northwest.
On my days off, you’ll find me exploring Pacific Northwest and beyond with my hubby, Zach. We’re avid hikers, backpackers and are always in search of our next adventure. When I’m home, you’ll find me under a blanket with my nose buried in a book, probably eating ice cream.
How did you get into your business?
When I was studying photography at Pacific Lutheran University, I told myself I would never own a business. It sounded way too stressful! After graduating, I got a job at a portrait studio, but the schedule was terrible and I was putting in 50 hours a week. After two years of that, I quit and started my own business! Now, I can’t imagine wanting any other lifestyle!
What has been your biggest challenge?
Myself! I struggled with the fear of putting my hopes and dreams out into the world for a long time. My own fear kept me from trying new things. Now, rather than looking at things in terms of success or failure, I’ve learned to view everything as an experiment. It takes pressure off and I know if something doesn’t work I can always try again.
What do you wish you’d known when you started?
I wish I’d have let myself fail more. I was obsessed with making everything perfect before sharing anything and it was suffocating. Now, I learn as I go and that’s ok!
If you could narrow down your success to one thing, what would it be?
Persistence! When you own a business it’s not enough to be great at your craft, you have to learn how to run a business as well and that takes resilience.
Where do you see yourself in a year?
I see myself shooting destination weddings and leading PNW Boss Babe workshops!
What are your top three tips for women starting a business?
-Just go for it! Keep trekking, making mistakes, and growing!
-Remember your why. Whenever you start doubting yourself remember what inspired you to start, and the reason behind this madness. If you feel strongly about your ‘why’ then it will push you through anything.
-Whether in person, or online, find a mentor. So far, my mentors are all online podcasters. Every day I am lifted up by listening to Jenna Kutcher, Cathy Heller, and Amy Porterfield among others.
What is a typical day for you like?
Running a photography business takes a lot of back end work that you don’t usually see advertised, so I’m usually working from home listening to podcasts and catching up on laundry between emails.
What is your business model or quote you live by?
I’m not building a business, I’m designing a lifestyle. I say this because it helps keep me focused on my my goals and my why. When something sounds good for my business, I double check and make sure it aligns with the lifestyle I want. If it does, great, but if it would disrupt my ideal lifestyle, then I say “no”, even when it’s difficult.
If you were starting your business over again, what would you do differently?
I honestly don’t regret where I started, or the mistakes I made during that time. I feel like my mistakes made me learn lessons quickly and I appreciate where I am at even more because of them.