We had the good fortune of connecting with Grey Darrah and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Grey, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
My mother was an artist and from an early age, I had a love of beautiful things. My favorite painter is John Singer Sargent and I find paintings of timeless, classic scenes or people hold the awe and respect of the viewer more than trendy art. I was in the Marine Corps when I began focusing on photography. I sculpted marble for a while, and continue to turn and sell wood vessels from my wood shop, but creating beautiful photographic images for my clients is my passion. I always knew I would be self-employed in some capacity and have been blessed to have a successful portrait studio since 2004.
What should our readers know about your business?
When I decided to open a photography studio, I did thorough research of other photographers in the U.S. that had the style, quality of work, and success I hoped to achieve. I simply asked them if I could spend a week with them in their studios for mentoring and they agreed! Afterward, I modeled my business plan and studio design after theirs, focusing on classic, timeless portraiture of babies, children, Seniors, families, and pets. I don’t do weddings or events because I believe you can’t be great at everything, so pick what you love and be the best. I am very proud of our beautiful 3000 sqft. studio, which is filled with gorgeous antiques and classic furniture for portrait use, as well as our closets of classic baby and children clothing we offer to our clients, if desired. We also provide actual prints of our images (paper and canvas) instead of just digital images on a CD. We consider it a disservice to only give clients digital images, as most people don’t know what to do with the CD and never actually print and enjoy their images. I grew my business mostly by referrals, rewarding referring clients with free prints for future sessions. Brick and mortar studios tend to be the only photography studios that survive recessions and we have worked our way through two recessions so far. It teaches you to stay on top of your marketing and sometimes make drastic changes in marketing methods and markets, but also find new policies to help your clients afford your portraits, such as, no fee payment plans and flexibility. We give back to others by consistently donating around $100,000 in portrait packages to Georgia Nonprofits annually.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
When my out-of-town friends come for a visit, I love to treat them to the Georgia Aquarium, Ponce City Market, Downtown Woodstock, GA, hiking at Red Top Mountain State Park, and Cartersville’s two premier museums – The Booth and Tellus Museum. There are too many amazing restaurants around the Atlanta area to mention, but as a “Foodie”, I try new restaurants all the time, especially if there is a “buzz” about one.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
While some might think it tragic I grew up at the Big Oak Ranch in Gadsden, Alabama (a Christian home for abused, abandoned, or orphaned children) from about age 12, I personally found the mentors and father figures a boy needs to grow into a confident, self-sufficient, loving man. My time at the Ranch taught me to respect others, obey the law, love God, and that only I am responsible for my future. It made me accountable and dependable as a friend, husband, and father and I have never felt like a victim or less than for growing up in such unusual circumstances.
Facebook: Darrah Photo
All image were created by Grey Darrah and owned by Grey Darrah.