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Meet Aileen Wilson of Aileen Wilson Portraits in Fort Worth

Today we’d like to introduce you to Aileen Wilson.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I began as a business analyst, specifically in software/systems prototype development. As a teen, I had wanted to enter art and writing field, but my parents pushed a tech career. I think “starving artists” weighed on their minds. Tech and business development fit well until I mapped a way toward a career combining tech and creativity. I love creatively working with machines, which require deliberation. Photography, specifical portraits, is a perfect fit. I have the best of both worlds, and working with individual personalities on a rotating basis is inspirational and exciting. As enigmatic as humans can be, it doesn’t take long for me to find something to admire in everyone.

Recently, I moved into my own studio in Fort Worth’s Near Southside district (right beside Stage West and steps from downtown and the Medical Arts district) after co-oping with a wonderful group of fellow photographers. The location is convenient for executive / personal branding clients and offers diverse “out on the town” options when my “model-for-a-day” and family session clients leave the studio feeling confident and looking fabulous.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Perfectly smooth roads lack challenge, which drives me. The biggest challenge has come in the form of switching careers mid-stream, but that is a mindset obstacle rather than real. Once I decide to learn/tackle something, I do it with maddening focus. While I am a learner and information input junkie, I love relating to people. Each photo shoot focuses heavily on a goal/purpose that I work with every client to achieve—how they would love to be photographed or what business / corporate needs they have.

Please tell us about Aileen Wilson Portraits.
Aileen Wilson Portraits is a boutique photography studio. We specialize in headshots / personal branding, as well as general individual and family photography (maternity parent-child, child mini-sessions, engagements) and model-for-a-day “experience” sessions. Model-for-a-day sessions are a blast for individuals, best friends, mother-daughters, etc. Sometimes we combine the cover girl session, so to speak, with the family shoot (dads, sons, and the tiniest members come in toward the end after mom and older daughters have had fun being pampered and photographed “getting on their Vogue.”

Each session is tailored, so I spend time learning what each client truly wants and needs from a session, as well as providing them with style and grooming preparations tips and what to expect from their session from beginning to end. There are fewer surprises, and by working to spec in that way, we are able to relax and have fun during each shoot. When someone comes to me as a bit of a blank slate in terms of what they want, I tend to gravitate toward classical painting-style looks with a bit of the contemporary thrown in for good measure.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
I have a nearly eidetic memory of how the light looked during any given childhood event and was mesmerized by it (I didn’t speak much as a child). There are so many colors in the light. One of my favorite memories was a winter morning in 1978 after a heavy snowstorm followed by icefall. The snow surface had a thin, reflective shellac, and the trees were heavy with ice thick around each branch and twig tip. Trees chime when they have that much ice on them. At sunrise, the warm light lit up the mountainside, making small rainbow prisms through the trees. If I could wake every morning to that, I would be thrilled—as long as it was warm by mid-morning. One can see why I love playing with my studio lights.

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