Amy Elisabeth Spasoff of Amy Elisabeth Photography

How did you start your business?
I started working as a professional photographer by taking on event photography jobs. My first professional job was for a friend who had seen some of my personal photography work. She called me and said, “You know what, I love taking pictures at events, but it drives my fiancé crazy. I’d love to hire you to photograph my birthday party.” I said I’d do it for free, but she said, "No, you need to do this for real, and I’m going to pay you." And that’s where it all started.

How did you come up the idea for your business?
I have always been a photographer in my own time. A dear friend convinced me to make a real go at this as a profession. I lost my job due to a layoff in November and decided this was the time to do this full-time.

What resources here did you take advantage of and how did they help?
I am a current finalist for Bad Girl Ventures. The Candace Klein-run organization has been such a blessing as I am learning the ins and outs of how to run a successful business. What’s so wonderful about it is I’m learning how to make something that used to be a hobby and make it into a real business.

What inspires you?
Everything inspires me. During one of my favorite shoots, I wanted the girl to look very angelic, so I wrapped her in 11 yards of tulle fabric. She almost appeared as if she were encased in a cloud. I got that inspiration while I was at Jo-Ann [Fabrics & Crafts] and I saw it and thought, "Oh my God, that could work!"

What’s next for you and your company?
My first goal is to photograph editorial content for Cincinnati Magazine. Another local goal is to work with Procter & Gamble on a beauty product campaign. My ultimate dream is to photograph the cover of Vanity Fair.

Interview by Robin Donovan