Through the Lens of Anna Lee: Women-Owned Online Businesses on SiteGround
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In our Women-Owned series, we partnered with four female entrepreneurs who host, build, and grow their websites on SiteGround platform.
This is the story of Anna Lee, a music, tour and brand photographer living in Los Angeles and the webmaster behind annaleemedia.com. If you’re a photographer, aspiring to be one, or interested in how to build your online portfolio – dive into Anna’s story and find valuable tips that might be just the thing you need to read.
Entering the Tour Photography World
Anna Lee was that one child who constantly carried a camera, documenting the surrounding world. Following a very natural path, her love for music and photography fueled her journey as a tour photographer.
Tour photography connects the audience with the artist’s experience and documents moments that otherwise can’t be seen behind the scene. Anna describes the feeling of being on tour with musicians as “incredibly special, a little bit surreal and totally comfortable at the same time.”
Reflecting on her 10-year journey as a tour photographer, Anna attributes her success to curiosity and bravery. As a photographer, you must constantly challenge your creativity. You must also work up the courage to reach out to your customers without the fear of being rejected. Once you liberate yourself from that fear, the horizon of opportunities becomes far broader. Stir in a bit of patience, and you’ll be on the way to steady growth in what you’re doing.
Building An Online Portfolio
It’s easy today for people to rely on social media as a place for their portfolios. However, social media gives you limited control over what’s getting viewed and how your content is presented. Contrary to that, a website gives you the freedom to express your unique style as a photographer and curate your work. Expanding on this, Anna explains that “a photographer’s website is such an important home base for all of your work because you actually own your website.”
Before SiteGround, Anna hosted her website with another provider. Even though she wasn’t satisfied with them, she felt intimidated to transfer her websites with another host, feeling it would be messy and complicated.
Unlike her fears, Anna found migrating her website to SiteGround to be “pleasantly super easy.” She was also excited by the speed SiteGround offers. Anna was being very precious about her website. She wanted something really unique and different from what other photographers were doing. And the decision to switch to SiteGround completely transformed her previous experience and made it possible for her to realize exactly what she wanted.
Being an Early Adopter of Full-time Tour Photography
Being one of the early women adopters to enter tour photography as a full-time job, Anna occasionally faced certain setbacks. Initially, she encountered the uncertainty of musicians about bringing a woman into the tour, “some viewed it as a challenge rather than an asset to have a woman on their team.”
However, she eventually found the artists and the clients who were not afraid of embracing women into their camp. She worked with people who wanted her there and were excited about having her on their team, “Those ended up being the best working relationships that I had and that I still continue to work with to this day.”
Anna believes that we are reaching a point where photographers, visual artists, and content creators are viewed, approached, and treated with the value that they merit. Specifically, women photographers are finally being attributed the value they deserve for what they provide.
Word of Advice For Young Photographers
One of Anna’s mantras is “don’t be afraid to ask for what you want.” That’s something that she wishes she had realized right from the very beginning.
When she decided to pursue tour photography, what helped her breakthrough was realizing that she had to create her own job. Naturally, like many others, she didn’t know how to approach clients. She had to pitch herself to other people and overcome the fear of feeling like she was being intrusive. However, she chose a different approach – she pitched her clients by presenting the opportunity and the value she could add to what they’re doing.
Anna’s second piece of advice is to do what you want consistently and with as much authenticity. If you’re creating for what you think other people want or what you think is popular, you will get burned out. But if you create what you want to do, the right people will find you, and they will compensate you for doing the thing you love to do. That will keep you excited as you continue into a specific career.
Build Your Own Portfolio Website
No matter how skilled you are, SiteGround enables you to start easy, build fast, and manage your website effortlessly. For those who are just starting out, we have a helpful tool – the WordPress Starter. You can go through our pixel-perfect customizable templates, some with incredible photography options. But to have a successful portfolio that generates leads, you’ll also need a contact form, SEO optimization tool, performance analytics, and a calendar. With SiteGround, you can add these with a click of a button. Suppose you prefer to have a designer build your portfolio site. In that case, SiteGround makes it easy for you to give collaborators access, keeping the ownership and privacy of your website to you. With the right hosting provider, you can overcome technological limitations and build a powerful online presence. After all, your website is the go-to place for your potential clients.