We had the good fortune of connecting with Maggie Dunn and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Maggie, how do you think about risk?
Risk taking is essential to finding out who you are and what you want out of life. I think that if I live within what is comfortable to me all of the time, I won’t ever have the opportunity to do something greater than what I could even imagine. I am not someone who likes risk taking or even feels good about taking risks all of the time, but I could rather take a risk than regret not doing it. I went to college for marketing, and everyone around me had their 10 year plan set ahead of them. I never felt super excited about working a desk job, and I fell in love with doing photography, all of the pieces fell into place for me. It was then a matter of putting myself out there and going for it, rather than just following what everyone around me was doing.
It is super hard to be self-employed, and being a creative small business has its own challenges. For me, taking risks makes the wins and success so much more gratifying.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
For a long time, I struggled with seeing myself as an artist. I definitely still see myself as a business owner first, and to me, that means putting clients first and having a heart for service above most things. This translates over to how I create photos. I do a lot of planning ahead of time, and I work collaboratively with my clients to put together a session that they feel represents them well and is something that makes them excited. Half of the process is talking to the people I’m taking photos of, and making them feel comfortable and confident. After that, taking good photos is pretty easy!
I learned a lot of this from actually getting photos done by other photographers of myself, and noting how I felt and how I wished that I had felt. I think lots of photographers shy away from getting in front of the camera, but it’s actually been one of the best ways that I’ve become a better photographer myself.
It is SO hard to set yourself apart in this industry! There are so many wonderfully talented photographers, and I definitely struggle with comparison. Staying off of social media when I’m feeling especially down has been something I try to do. I also try to focus on my clients, their personalities, their love, and what makes them special, and normally beautiful, unique photos happen naturally!
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.
I love Ponce City Market or the Clermont Hotel Rooftop for some really fun vibes. I could spend all day with friends walking around there shopping or eating really good. Getting Jeni’s is always a good time, and so fun to bring people who haven’t been before. I also really love visiting new breweries with friends. Bold Monk Brewery is a new favorite for sure!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
Definitely Anna and Daniel Shackleford! I was their intern and assistant for years before I jumped into doing my own thing. They taught me so much with so much patience and generosity, and it was the best time being part of their team.