Alejandra Valencia - Prisma Photography Studio
Tell us about yourself
I am an early riser and I love everything about coffee. I believe in Jesus Christ as my Lord and Saviour. I am very visual and love every opportunity to create, design and photograph. For over 10 years, I have been helping individuals and businesses stand out through smart and engaging content and design. As a photographer I love capturing social and special moments with a unique creative approach and an uncommonly fast turn around. I was born in Colombia and completed a Graphic Design program before coming to Canada in 2002.
I am a third generation photographer, both my grandfather and father were professional photographers. I grew up seeing how they work, the cameras they used, how they developed their own pictures, and even how they managed their business and clients. It was a different world then.
I graduated from the University of Western from Journalism and, in combination with a Multimedia Design and Production program from Fanshawe College, I was able to work on companies as Marketing Coordinator, Creative Specialist, Graphic Design and Photographer, and Creative Lead. From these positions I gained the experience and confidence to start my own business.
Tell us about your business
Prisma Photography Studio was officially born in 2017. I adopted the name for my business from my grandfather's business in the 1940s, - Foto-Prisma. Currently I have hired photographers and editors on demand, depending on the amount of weddings I get per season. I also hire graphic designers when projects for graphic design are combined with my photography packages. Some of my clients that have hired my photography and graphic design services (excluding wedding and portrait customers) are: Lazar Law Firm, IMMPLOY, Forest City Talks, Deb Crowe, Innovation Works, D'Larche Community Service, Shang Gong Chinese MedCine Clinic, Mayne Products, Konnexio Engineering, Wastell Homes, Rico Chicharron, Oh Crepes!, Cowell Carpentry, Trudell Medical International.
My services include:
- Wedding Photography
- Engagement Photography
- Wedding and Elopement and Candid Storytelling
- Portrait Sessions for Professionals + Food Photography (Corporate Image, logo and brand design)
- Product Photography (Corporate, and brand design)
- Family Photography Sessions
- Newborn Photography
- Boudoir Photography
- Business Events and Conferences
- Graphic Design and Corporate Design
As a business owner I strive to give back to the community. I sponsor organizations such as: London Forest City Talks, Redemption Bible Chapel, The Aeollian Hall - El Sistema
Has your business been impacted by COVID-19? If so, how have you adapted?
Before COVID-19, showing up on networking events, managing social media, and all the rest was hard work - no doubt about that.
With COVID-19, the challenge was making a commitment to keep showing up consistently and figuring out ways to let customers know my business was still available for future bookings. I discovered COVID-19 - 2020 was an opportunity to grow in areas I didn't explore before. I had to come up with a new mindset to continue marketing my business on social media, and be present. I challenged myself to use social media to create a system that made sense for me and my business, and map out my content. It was all about having a plan and being able to adjust as life/business unfolds. I had to create a posting schedule one week at a time. I divided my content in caption categories and photo topics with images that I would regularly incorporate on social media to give an inside of my business without having to sell my business. I learnt that I had to make an effort to customize my content and know who I was intending to reach when marketing my business on social media.
COVID -19 became the time to do something wild and crazy with my business. I reached out to every one of my old customers directly, personalized my services and offered my services boldly. I became purposely present on social media and have bookings for 2021. Despite this year's challenges that came to us all, for me personally, it has been a blessing. I have a new routine in place that includes sharing office space with my husband at our dining table while homeschooling my kids, learning new recipes, going for bike rides with my family, taking courses to upgrade my skills, working as a graphic designer and even gaining a bit of weight - booo! I'll keep showing up, learning, serving without fear, still dreaming and trusting everything is going to be OK.
What is the #1 small business book/blog/website you would recommend?
I am always reading and looking for inspiration. I personally find a lot of guidance and wisdom in the Christian Bible for every aspect of my life, including business and money. I also like to keep up with the new trends in the economy and my industry. I like to follow https://www.entrepreneur.com/ and also https://www.hubspot.com/. A must read is "High Performance Habits" by Brendon Burchard. Good to Great, by Jim Collins, The Essays of Warren Buffett, by Warren Buffett, and Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World, by Cal Newport, and How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie.
What’s the best business advice you’ve ever received and why?
A friend entrepreneur said "Everyone is lucky" but "few are prepared." I always wondered how to best prepare for my next "lucky" opportunity. I searched and prayed for methods of preparation then I realized that being prepared was the relentless pursuit of following my dream. I found a mentor who kept me motivated and didn't let me forget my "Why". Preparation taught me I needed consistency, so I became consistent. My mentor kept me going while I kept bettering myself through my business. I started giving my uber best to every project, every photoshoot and everyone I meet. Preparation is showing up every time - I wake up early and go to bed late. I learned that preparation is saying you're sorry, you’re welcome, and how can I help you (sometimes in the same sentence). Preparation is also falling down...then getting back up again.
The best piece of advice is to be prepared. I realized that if we are not willing to prepare, then, we will never get lucky. So, don't forget: The more prepared we are, the luckier we get!
What advice would you give to someone starting a small business today?
My advice to a starting business would be to buy a calendar and plan your time through the year. Have passion, strong will and be emotionally focused to make good decisions. Take care of your well-being, get over being self-centered, and remember that your body needs rest and nutrition to be creative and have the proper energy to keep up. Stay in shape on the spiritual side. Find a mentor. Book reflection time on your calendar so you can reflect on your days and go back to see if you can do things better, or differently.