Reston Chamber Spotlight is a sponsored feature highlighting businesses that are members of the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce. Today’s spotlight is on Laurentia Photography, based in Reston. Speaking is Laurentina owner Laura Kuah.
Reston Now: Why did you decide to start your business in Reston?
Laura Kuah: Laurentina Photography is primarily an on-location, full-service social event and portrait studio. Reston offers a variety of backdrops for my clients: from corporate events at the Hyatt in Reston Town Center to family photos at Lake Fairfax Park, and even editorial photos along the W&OD Trail. Reston offers a sense of community that I have never experienced elsewhere and I really wanted to keep my business local and engage with my neighbors.
With its ample cultural and recreational opportunities, Reston has given me an amazing place to live, work and play. I am grateful to Bob Simon for his gift of Reston and can’t imagine being anywhere else.
RN: What are the challenges and rewards of being a business owner?
LK: As a business owner, I would say that everyday is an adventure and surprise. The obvious challenges comes with being your own boss and delivering what you promise. As a photographer, this means that you are responding to emails after the typical 9-5 business hours and skipping social events to work on the weekends. It also means that you are following up with your clients to make sure they love their photos. And sometimes, you may even deliver their prints!
The rewards of being a business owner far outweigh the challenges. It’s my clients and social media following. I also love attending workshops/networking events to meet other business owners and hear their stories.
RN: Name something about your business that most people don’t know.
LK: Laurentina Photography has a pop-up studio in Reston Town Center. There is an abundance of natural light and a great location for headshots, lifestyle portraits and more formal portraits as well. The pop-up concept comes in when we set up backdrops and props for your specific photography needs!
The studio space is also the location for our Reveal session, a follow-up session for portrait clients to see their photos for the first time and can order prints, wall art and digital files. The studio space is available by appointment only and the rental is included in the 2016 creative fee.
RN: What is the unique value proposition your clients get when using your service?
LK: Laurentina Photography’s clients know and value professional photography. I guarantee brand authenticity at every stage of the process so that my clients know that they are receiving a finished product after every session.
All of my packaging, albums and print material are made in the USA and printed on high quality, acid free, archival paper from professional photography labs nationwide. Furthermore, I am always an email away for additional questions and support even months after their sessions.
RN: Describe a typical day as the business owner.
LK: There is no such thing as a typical day at Laurentina Photography. Every day is different and a new adventure! At the moment, I also work a day job and sometimes have to be out of the office all day so I answer a lot of emails on the road. In any case, I try to start my mornings with some quiet time of journaling, prayer or meditation. It helps me stay focused and centered throughout the day.
At the start of each week, I also try to write down three goals that I hope to for a session or event that day, I pack my gear the night before and review my notes prior to leaving. If I am working on editing client photos or blogging/social media, I make time in my schedule for that.
I highly recommend using Google Calendar to organize all your events and Wunderlist to keep track of your “To-Do’s.” And don’t forget to take time to yourself daily: for me, that means going for a run, taking a class at the gym or cooking a delicious meal.
RN: How has the Greater Reston Chamber of Commerce helped your business grow?
LK: The Chamber has been a valuable resource to helping Laurentina Photography grow and engage with the local community. I really enjoyed presenting my photography to the local network in my role as the official foodie blogger for NoVA Restaurant Week 2015 and Taste of Reston 2015, as well as a volunteer at Oktoberfest Reston 2015.
By participating as a social media ambassador for the Communications the Greater Reston area. I have also been published in Around Reston magazine several times and collaborated with other Chamber business owners to help with their marketing initiatives.
RN: What is the quote that best describes your business?
LK: “How you do anything is how you do everything.”
RN: What is your advice to someone who is thinking about owning a business?
LK: Be confident in who you are and what you do. Develop a business plan. Put people first but also stand firm in what you value. Go with your gut feeling. The timing is right when you feel at peace in all you do. Get connected with your local community (such as the local Chamber of Commerce) and other networking groups. It takes time to build your business and find your ideal client. There will be highs and lows, and somedays you will want to quit all together. But if you keep an open mind and positive outlook, the journey will be much more enjoyable.