Interview with photographer Rachel Vogeleisen

Find out how Rachel Vogeleisen fulfilled a lifelong ambition by launching her own photography business.

What’s your career background?

I navigated through a lot of jobs in my 20s, started as a hotel receptionist, waitress, worked in travel. In my late 20s I went to night school to study business and started working in finance.

How did your career change after having children?

Having children was a big shift as it affected my options for suitable jobs which would allow me to take my children to school, which also meant a lower position, with less responsibilities and pay.

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When did you get the idea for your business?

I’ve basically grown up with photography, but it was like an unattainable dream and I gave up with the idea of being a professional photographer. I’ve tried to set up other business ventures which did not work out.

Photography was becoming a kind of obsession, even my husband was pushing me to set up a photography business. I had to consider my choices, I went back to university to study for an MA in Fine Art Photography, in a way it felt like getting permission to finally be a photographer

How did you move from idea to actual business?

As a photographer people are not just going to knock on your door and initially I was not very clear about what I wanted to do. So, I started by asking friends to photograph them and their children for my portfolio as well as taking head shots.

Doing this made me realise that what I really wanted to do was photograph women and give them a sense of recognition and acknowledgement of who they truly are.

What’s your USP?

My USP lies in the fact that I want to make a difference for women. If someone steps in front of my camera and I can make them feel great about themselves, boost their energy and confidence during a photoshoot to get the best out of them then I consider my job as successful.

Who’s your target audience?

Women over 40.

How do you spread the word about what you do?

I go to network meetings, write blog posts and do a fair amount on social media. Also, I find doing photographic projects enables me to reach out to new people.

My next project is going to be about women who at 50+ have started a new career. I’m looking forward meeting lots of interesting and inspirational ladies!

What’s been the biggest obstacle you’ve had to overcome?

Not having a studio. After browsing through London to find a suitable studio to hire on an ad hoc basic I have found a great place to photograph my clients. My ideal in the long term would be to have my own photography studio.

And your proudest moment so far?

There’s quite a few; giving joy and laughter during a photoshoot to a woman who suffered from depression. Completing a photography project about Women who served during World War Two and convincing these 90+ year old women to trust me to photograph them.

Why is work so important to you?

Work is like a bloodline, I love what I do, for once in my life I feel aligned to what I do and who I am. I consider financial independence as key as well.

Who inspires you?

As a photographer Annie Leibowitz and, as a woman, Michelle Obama.

How do you balance your business with your family?

Being an entrepreneur is 24/7 I have had to learn not stay at my computer all the time in my home office. I try to dedicate family time in my agenda.

What are your three top pieces of advice for someone wanting to do something similar?

  • Go for it.
  • Be prepared to work hard and get help when you need it.
  • Don’t give up.

You can find out more about Rachel on her website