My name is Emilie and I am a portrait photographer based in Edmonton. I have been a photographer for 9 years now… wow time flies! I started as a wedding photographer but I am now only doing portraits, and especially women portraiture.
I have created this photo series called “The Truth in You” where I photograph women who want to celebrate themselves, despise what the society tells them to do or be and away from the beauty standards which are too restrictive. The society currently classifies women regarding their role (you are a mother, you are a wife, you are a daughter…) but women should not be defined by those roles only. You should be able to give yourself a photo session just because you want to celebrate YOU, without waiting to get married, become a mom or getting a promotion. Society teaches girls to be quiet, to follow the rules it has decided for them. Women are not allowed to be single, divorced, and with no kids without being judged EVERY DAY. And I don’t even start with the struggles the women of colour have to face, and also the LGBTQIA community. It takes every human to change the standards but we will get there one step at a time.
I started my own business 9 years ago when I quit my job as a corporate lawyer. As much as I loved my studies, I hated the job and could not see myself being a lawyer my entire life. So I had an opportunity to start my own business and I did it. I never looked back!
I must say being my own boss and having my own business has been eye opening for me. I never thought of myself as an entrepreneur (everyone in my family is a teacher) but I learned along the way, and I love being an entrepreneur now. I love meeting new people all the time, I love having a flexible schedule, I love being my own boss and making the decisions about my business. I am totally in charge of how I do my business and it has been life changing.
One of my professional goals is to open my own studio one day. To have my own space where I could work with other creatives. It’s a big goal for me because I have a very specific idea of what I want (design of the space, the size, the light, etc.) and it’s not something that I can just “rent”. I would need to think of every detail, design the space and maybe even build it myself… well hire someone to build what I want!
Being a small business owner is not always easy though. And I wanted to give up many times! I almost got a 9-5 job a few years ago when I moved to Edmonton and I had to start over here. Long short story about me: I was born and raised in Reunion Island, a French island located in the Indian Ocean nead Madagascar and I moved to Canada in 2011. I lived in Quebec for 5 years before moving to Edmonton in 2016. Nobody knew me in Edmonton and I had t start my photography business from zero. This is when I wanted to give up. But I did not and now my business is doing very well.
One of my mentors, Seth Godin, wrote this and it just sticks with me now: We fail when we give up too soon. Sometimes, well often, the moment we want to give up is actually the moment we need to push forward.
I remember the first time someone in Edmonton came to me at an event and asked me if I was Emilie Iggiotti, and I said yes, and they complimented me on my work and told me they love my work. That’s when I told myself: Okay this is good, people know who you are now, it’s getting there.
Also, because I use Instagram a lot, lots of people “know” me from this platform. Which is very cool! I found that Instagram completely changed the way we interact with each other. I feel like I have a community of people who know me and who I know even if we never really met in real life. And when we meet in real life, we feel like we know each other. It’s the same for my clients. They feel like they know me already and it creates a feeling of trust even before the photo session. And because I work a lot and I spend a lot of time on Instagram, my favourite thing to do when I am not working is going to a coffee shop with a book and just chill. But it’s very hard to do for me. My brain is always working and even when I am supposed to read and chill, I think of a million different ideas for a photo session or for my business. I found that boxing really helps me to disconnect. So I do that a lot!
I love the community of small business owners in Edmonton. We are all very supportive of each other. I try to attend lots of markets or special events and support local businesses. I try to also shop local as much as I can. I met a lot of amazing inspiring women in Edmonton. The way they conduct their business helps me being a better business person. I am always looking for inspiration from other businesses. So I would say I am just looking for that. And it’s a big thing for me. I don’t think we can have a business and not be inspired. We need inspiration every day… inspiration to keep going, to get better, to evolve, to improve our products, our services. Without inspiration, we are not going anywhere. So, cheers to being inspired by other YEGBOSSBABES!