We had the good fortune of connecting with Jessica Surovchak and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Jessica, let’s start by talking about what inspires you?
When it comes to my business, I’m inspired by my fellow entrepreneurs. I know some incredible people who are in the process of building their own businesses. Seeing and hearing about them put in that work and that hustle and watching them succeed – that excites me. In several cases, that is what has helped me push through a rut or a plateau. I am especially inspired by my fellow photographers. For the longest time, I felt like I needed to be intimidated by people who had been in this industry longer than I have, and I caught myself comparing my work to theirs constantly. However, over the past few years I’ve felt more inspired by them….Not just by their work, but by the personal journeys that they share.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Portrait photography has been a passion of mine since 2014…I’m really proud of how much I’ve grown and how far I’ve come since that very first session. I look back on some of my older photos every now and then and I just cringe and question how anyone saw those and thought, “Yes, I want my photos taken by HER.” (laughs) I’m grateful for the people who gave me a chance and who have grown with me over the past seven years. I’m excited to see where it goes from here. As far as how I got to where I am today…I believe that nothing worth having comes “easy”. I feel like I’ve faced the same challenges that most creatives encounter when they decide to pursue their passion as a career.

Most of mine were internal obstacles…fear, doubt, comparison to others who had been in the industry way longer than me. Fortunately, I’ve only had a handful of difficult/uncomfortable experiences with clients, but those interactions have taught me valuable lessons about communication with my clients and protecting myself as an artist/business owner as well as educating others on my process and my style (because most people who don’t do photography don’t always know how that works, and how would they, if no one never explained it to them?). A struggle that I’ve faced more recently (and I’ve talked to other photographers about this as well) is finding that work/life balance.

I am currently trying to balance a day job, my business, and my life. I’ve caught myself putting my mental and physical health on the back burner because I want to pour myself into the things I do to serve other people, because I don’t want to let anyone down. I’m working on it. I know that I can’t pour from an empty cup, so finding that near-perfect balance and taking time to breathe and rest is so important. As far as what sets me apart from others, I’ve been told that my passion for what I do is obvious to the people I work with. I’ve had clients comment on my enthusiasm and my “hype-girl” vibe during our time together. It makes me feel good to know that I make people comfortable when I work with them!

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
There is so much to do in and around Atlanta. I’ve lived in Georgia for almost 27 years and I haven’t even experienced all of it. It’s been a while since I’ve put together an itinerary, so I’ll spare everyone a poor attempt at one, but here are some of my favorite places in the city to eat, drink, and hang out. There are a couple of “speakeasies” in the city, but my favorite is the Red Phone Booth!

When my friends and I had a girls night out in the city, this was one of our first stops and it was so cool. We got the password from the front desk at our hotel, and when the door opened and we walked inside, it felt like we had stepped into the 20’s. Our drinks were delicious and our bartender was awesome. Definitely an experience I’ll never forget. The Roof at Ponce City Market is also a fun place to hang out! They have carnival games, rides, and a slide (and a bar)…Not to mention an incredible view of the different points of Atlanta. Ponce City Market itself is a fun place to spend an afternoon, shopping and checking out the different food options they offer! Ton Ton is my favorite. Their pho is to die for.

The Georgia Aquarium is always going to be one of my favorite places. I could spend hours in front of the Ocean exhibit, just watching the whale sharks and other fish swim by. I’m excited to go back and check out their new shark exhibit! If you’re a brunch person, I’d recommend West Egg Cafe at West Side Provisions. It’s been a while since I’ve been, but I think about their biscuits and gravy and their iced coffee way more often than I’d like to admit. West Side Provisions is another fun place to shop, so you can indulge and then walk it off! During the summer, a Braves game is a MUST. There isn’t a bad seat at Truist Park, and the energy there is always so fun and exciting. The Battery also has lots of restaurants, bars, and shops to enjoy before, during, or after the game. These are the places that immediately come to mind for me, but there really is something for everyone here. There is still so much that I haven’t seen that I want to explore.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Choosing just one would be impossible… First and foremost, my family. My parents have supported me in everything I’ve ever done. I’m sure that they probably worried about my future when I was younger. I wasn’t the best student and I only went to college for a couple semesters before deciding that it wasn’t for me. But they have always supported my choices (even if they didn’t agree with them 100%) and they’ve been incredibly encouraging since I started my business. My siblings willingly jump in front of my camera any time I want to practice (my sisters, anyway; my brother takes a lot of convincing). My younger sister taught me how to shoot in manual mode, my mom passed down her love of capturing memories to all of us. They all build me up and encourage me when I’m being too hard on myself or when I feel stuck. My family is a big part of me, they’ve molded me into the person I am. Their love and support keeps me going and means the world to me. My boyfriend, Jon, and his family. Before Jon, I had no idea what it was like to have a significant other be 100% emotionally invested in my dreams and goals. I don’t think the people I dated before him really took what I did as seriously as I did, if that makes sense. I didn’t expect them to. But Jon showed an immediate interest in my little business and in my work, and he’s just been one of my biggest supporters from the day he came into my life. He comes to sessions with me, he shares my work, he researches equipment for me, he’ll rub my shoulders and bring me food when I’ve been sitting in front of my computer editing for hours…He just finds little and big ways to support me. And his family…They constantly hype me up, share my work, and recommend me to everyone they know…They’re just wonderful people and I’m blessed to have them in my life. My friends. They understand and appreciate my grind, even if it means I read my texts and answer them in my head sometimes or show up late to an event because I had a photoshoot. They model for me, they hire me, they recommend me every chance they get. Every client who has stuck with me over the years. There are several people who hired me back when I was first getting started and had no idea what in the world I was doing, who have continued to show their support over the years. I’ve had the honor of capturing their relationships and their growing families. It’s just very special and it means a lot to me. I know without a doubt that I wouldn’t be where I am now without the love and support of these people…I’m sure I’m forgetting someone. I just know that I owe everything I do to the people who have gotten me to where I am now.

Website: https://jsurophotography.mypixieset.com

Instagram: jsurophotog

Facebook: Jessica Surovchak Photography

Image Credits
Main photo: Nikki Chattom Photography

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