Interview With Danielle Trina
Brandon Bornes: Ms. Danielle Trina, I wanted to ask you some questions for an article that will go in our magazine. To start off, can you share in your words, what you do and why you do it?
Danielle Trina: I’m a photographer. I photograph with a camera, iPhone, and a GoPro. I’m a photographer because I am eager to show the world a different way of looking at beauty through my point of view.
I’m in love with images and how images can tell the story of a person. Images are a universal language, they can speak to anyone. I want my images to make you stop, stare, and experience the same deep emotion I feel. It is my desire that people look at my images and evoke the same deep emotion I experience. That’s why I do what I do.
BB: How did you get started taking pictures?
DT: Oh gosh, I’ve been taking pictures forever. I was always the friend with the camera. 20 years ago when I graduated back in the film days,
I’ve always loved taking pictures. People always told me back then that I had this gift and I was like, huh? maybe I do have this gift. Maybe there’s something there, but I really didn’t know what I could do with photography as far as a career went.
Now I am about to celebrate 10 years of being in remission from pancreatic cancer. Five years ago, I realized that I was still here and that I beat the odds. Doctors don’t give you very long to live after you’ve been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. I had the surgery and five years into it, I was still here. [That’s when I decided that I wasn’t meant] to be at this corporate job. So I walked out of my job one day, picked up my camera, and I haven’t put it down since.
BB: So are you doing photography full-time now? If so, how do you make it work?
DT: Yes, I own my own photography business and I am also a single mom. I make it work.
BB:What have you learned over the years about like when you step out step out of the corporate world and into your own business, what are some successes or learning experiences that you have?
DT: Oh my gosh,so much! The first thing that I learned was to stick with a goal. In the past, I always bounced from one thing to another. I wanted to do business, then psychology, and then be an actress. I was on a 20 year college plan and I never finished anything. So when I took a leap of faith and decided to leave my job, I had to make it work. When you know that you have to bring in income, it forces you to focus.
DT:That’s probably one of the biggest things I learned about myself; how to focus and make things work. I had to constantly strive to learn something.
I tell people that I mentor that you’ve got to focus on learning something every day about your business or craft, even if it’s for five minutes.
Some people joke with me that I always have my cell phone with me. I would have a little Poker League that I would play in and they were like, “you’re always on your phone.”
“I have to, I would say, even when I’m here socializing, I’m learning.” Ninety-nine percent of the time that I am on my phone, I’m probably reading a tutorial or learning something so that I can continue to grow.
BB: How have you made photography a financially stable career? I know it can be hard for a lot of people to do.
DT: I’m actually still learning.You have to keep trying, keep evaluating, and re-evaluating what you’re doing. And you know, you can’t continue to be unsuccessful if you want to build a full-time business in this industry. If you’re not making money, you have to take a step back and re-evaluate what you’re doing wrong. You have to keep hustling.
I think one of the things that continue to make me successful is that I’m constantly learning, growing and figuring things out. The biggest thing I’m doing, is constantly building relationships with other small business owners who help propel me as much as I’ve helped to propel them. The connections that you make can help propel you forward on your path to success quicker. You’re focused on you can do to help each other grow.
I just built a relationship with a big bridal shop here in town, and you know, they’ve done some amazing things for me. I constantly tell them that I am thankful for this opportunity and they look at me and say “no, thank you so much for the opportunity. When you have two businesses that both see an opportunity, one business doesn’t think they are giving more to the other. They see the value that I bring to them and they see the value that they bring to me. The relationship naturally drives itself. I don’t know how to explain it, but you have to build connections.
I would also tell other small business owners, especially in the photography world, is that you have to take time to evaluate. Even if you think you are the most successful photographers in the world, and your numbers show that you are making more money than any photographer, you have to take time to evaluate. Otherwise, you’re not going to move forward. Somebody is going to exceed you at some point.
You have to consistently evaluate. You can’t just stop evaluating, you have to be able to look and say what you are doing wrong. You have to know how to make those decisions.
BB: Yeah, okay. What is something you are excited about right now? You’ve talked about how you have a contract with the bridal company, but what other things do you have going on?
DT: I’m excited about the new Direction that Danielle Trina Photography is going in. I’m rebranding and also have someone working on my new website. I’ve got new images and everything that are coming out in Las Vegas.
I found my way of editing. I spent a lot of time in the beginning of my career really looking at what other successful photographers were doing. Not necessarily trying to copy them, but I was looking at their images thinking that’s what I had to do to be successful. So I took a step back at the beginning of the year and I was like no.This is about me and what I think is right and what I love. I’ve really taken a step back and am getting back to what I love about editing and how I edit my images.
and the Timeless love the time was film look . I’m excited about moving forward my way this time.
In regards to moving forward with my mission to empower young girls and women through my images, I have been working on tutorials for photographers with iPhone photography. I’m going to be teaching in a few different arenas and I’m also working on some public speaking stuff. So I am excited about a lot of the new things coming.
BB: That’s exciting. Yeah, so focusing on more trying to find your Niche but based on who you are and how you like to do things.
DT: Yeah! I think I’ve always known my Niche, I was focused on doing it somebody else’s way. I was told that I needed to do this and that and if I didn’t do it and this then I wasn’t going to be [successful], or that dark,moody images don’t sell. So I’m going back to doing what Oprah says. Oprah said always trust your gut.
BB: What piece of advice do you give to your clientele when it comes to preparing for a photoshoot?
Speaker 2 (Interviewee): I actually wrote this down in my new Client PDF that I have coming out for sessions and that is, don’t think too much about your upcoming session. Let it be, let it unfold naturally. I tell them, “ you know you love your family right?” You love your fiance, correct?” Loving them isn’t something that you think about or dwell on so just do that. Love them the same way in front of me and my camera. Add me to the circle of connection, bring your soul to your fingertips as I do, and dance with us until our time together becomes genuine,natural, and authentic. [Let your] heart explode in front of my camera and the story I tell through the images I capture, will be 100% your story. That’s the advice I give.
BB: Oh, I like it. Do you have anything else you want to share for this article? What about the girls you are going to try to feature for the cover?
DT: Yeah, I think one of the things that I love, is working with young kids. That’s my passion; a lot of it is just about empowering kids, especially girls and young women. Especially [empowering] girls and young women to be authentically themselves, live a life full of passion and stay the same. Especially minority girls too.
The girls that I’m going to [photograph], Maya and Malia, embody just that. They are so passionate about dance. They literally live eat, sleep, and dream about dance. It’s not because they’re forced to do it. It’s because they love what they’re doing. They don’t you want you to know, that they’re going through bullying at school. They go through a lot of things because of their passion, but they don’t let that get in the way. You can’t let the bullies get in your way. You can’t let people tell you that you can’t do something. Follow your dream. That’s what I love so much about having Maya and Malia be a part of this cover, they truly have a voice that I think other young people and adults don’t have.