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Meet Amiee Berry of AJ’s Expressions Photography

Today we’d like to introduce you to Amiee Berry.

Amiee, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
When I really think about how I began my photography journey, I am blown away at the Lord’s hand in it all. Photography has been a huge blessing in my life that began with a desire to buy a decent camera. I financed the camera and thought I would help make my payments by taking photos of friends in the Texas bluebonnets. I believe I charged a whopping 20.00 because I had NO clue what I was doing and thought it would be a fun way to learn how to use my camera.

Understanding my camera was like a foreign language, I became obsessed with the challenge. I had a dear friend that was a photographer in Hawaii, who took time to point me in the right direction. From there, I began researching as much as I could. I went to photo seminars and began to connect to online resources. I learned that photography is a HARD industry. It became clear that the competition is stiff and help is rare. I had to learn a lot through trial and error and just allowing myself to be vulnerable to criticism.

I would spend hours and hours editing photos and exploring each tool my editing software offered so that I could better understand it all. What started as a hobby quickly turned into a desire for a career. With each photoshoot, I could see improvement and year by year my clientele began to grow until I was able to quit my teaching job and solely commit myself to being a photographer.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I have had several people comment over the years how happy they are for me that this business fell into my lap, for lack of better words. What they don’t see is the countless hours of research, editing, and critiquing that I have poured and continue to pour into photography.

When I became a mother to my son and daughter, running a business became even harder. I made the decision to stay home during the day with my kids and work at night. I am thankful for the opportunity, but it has come with a huge sacrifice of sleep and sanity-ha! I am still learning how to balance it all, but I can’t imagine earning a living doing anything else.

Please tell us about AJ’s Expressions Photography.
I am a photographer that specializes in families, children, seniors, and smash cake sessions. You heard me right, smash cake sessions. I have lost count of smash cake sessions I’ve photographed. I’ve taken photos of one-year-olds up to 100-year-olds. I’m not kidding you, I photographed a 100-year-old and loved every minute of it.

I am most known for my 30th smash cake session that went viral a few years ago. It was a close friend of mine who asked me to photograph her turning 30. She brought a cake, and I brought some decor and voila- we created my very first Adult Smash Cake session. I posted the session one evening to my Facebook page, and by the morning time, it had thousands of shares…

A few days later, I interviewed with Good Morning America and Fox News. I was literally changing dirty diapers and within the hour, taking interviews that would be seen all around the world. The experience was surreal and never would I have believed I would have people from other countries asking if I am open to flying abroad to do a photoshoot.

When I think about what sets me apart from other photographers I am once again, directed at the Lord’s work. I came from a broken home and moved A LOT. I was constantly forced to make new friends and to adapt to various environments. I feel this also impacted my learning early on, as the constant relocating made it nearly impossible to experience a curriculum from start to finish.

I knew at an early age that I would have to work much harder than everyone else to learn and make good grades. I had to fill in the gaps of my education myself, and because of this, my work ethic became my strong suit. My misfortunes as a child equipped me with the skills needed to run a successful photography business and generated a passion to excel; I wouldn’t have, otherwise.

When I meet a family to photograph I specialize in making them comfortable and finding ways to connect to my clients. Obviously, when you are a photographer it’s important to understand your camera & light, but I’ve learned documenting real smiles & genuine love is the most important, and that only comes with comfortable clients.

If you had to go back in time and start over, would you have done anything differently?
In the beginning, and still to this day, from time to time, I am overworked and underpaid. Most would look at this as a regret, but honestly, each obstacle and each photo shoot (even the most difficult) has been a learning experience for me. With that being said, I can truly say I have no regrets and wouldn’t change the aches & pains of starting this business one bit.

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