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Meet Carissa Byers of Carissa Byers Photography in Lakewood

Today we’d like to introduce you to Carissa Byers.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
I went to school for journalism and film. I’ve always liked hearing and telling real stories. During maternity leave from my day job, I started taking still photos and totally lucked into a few great photography gigs that turned into steady referrals and a real business. I was having a hard time imagining leaving my son in childcare so I did not return to my day job and took the leap to make a photography business work. At the time I would photograph anything I could get paid for. After working as a full-time photographer for 14 years I’ve managed to find my joy in photographing editorial stories, children, and food.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I’m so fortunate that it has been mostly smooth! One of my biggest challenges is pushing myself to photograph more creatively at each shoot. When you photograph so many people every week, it’s easy to get stuck taking the same shots that work. I have to remind myself to push past the safe shots.

I also struggle with taking a ton of shots and then a little longer than my schedule should allow to edit them. It’s so hard for me to cull them down. I love them all! I deliver photos in the way I would want them delivered to me. And I’d want to see everything.

I also have three very busy children to balance out a work schedule with. I keep regular editing hours during the week and as long as I don’t get distracted with another task during those hours I make pretty good progress. The biggest obstacle to my business right now is getting meals on the table, dishes clean, and laundry folded. But I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Carissa Byers Photography – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
I photograph stories, people, and food. I LOVE photographing children. Children come without vanity or hang-ups and it’s easy to get them to really look at me and be themselves. Children are such naturally beautiful people and I am genuinely interested in learning who each one is. I bring them to photo shoots with no expectations. They can’t go wrong. I tell people that patience is my superpower. My feathers really aren’t going to get ruffled at a shoot. When I photograph kids and families, I feel like I’m preserving the best parts of their life. And life is fun! So I try to create a great experience that they get to pass down forever. As a mother, I know how valuable these shots are.

I love to photograph food and the chefs that create them. Cooking is a beautiful art and telling the story of how someone creates that art is fascinating to me. I freelanced for Modern Luxury magazine doing a lot of food and restaurant stories of amazing Dallas chefs. It remains some of my favorite work. Similarly, I enjoy photographing the process of any maker.

I don’t use any props. I have no idea what to do with a prop! I’m so minimalistic and centered on the person and I don’t always like the distraction of other things in the photos.

What sets me apart from others is the desire to tell a unique story with my portraits and the patience I have to find it. I love the stories we tell with our lives and our faces and our joy.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
I have a teenage boy and I feel like, because of the phases of life he is heading into and the decisions he is contemplating, we are always discussing and defining success and then adding a bunch of qualifiers to it. I don’t know that we have found a definite answer. But I don’t think success is definite. Success is some flowing river of personal achievement, prosperity, and satisfaction, maybe. I look at success in my life in daily tasks and in chunks of time.

I want to always be better than I was before. Before yesterday. Before last year. I want my photos to be better, my finances to better, my balance, my love, my skill, my drive… all to be better than it was before. Life is kind of a two steps forward and two steps back kind of dance, but in general, if I’m heading in a forward motion I feel successful.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
The photo of me is by Dylan Hollingsworth. The cover image of the Modern Luxury magazine is mine.

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