Allie Siarto "What is Success?"
Even as a child, Allie Siarto always knew she wanted to do something creative with her life. And while she knew it was creativity that she craved, Allie didn’t always know what that outlet would look like. At 27, she took a year of piano lessons, just one year, and she insists that her husband is the musical one.
But growing up, she would take the family film camera, create a makeshift studio in her bedroom with the bunk beds and a sheet, and have her family members sit on little stool and pose for her. Today, Allie is still drawn to portraiture — but instead of her family, her subjects are a mix of college seniors and businesses needing branding photography.
Allie consciously tries to bring her client's personalities out in her work — particularly with her branding work. It would be easy to simply capture what's expected of different professions, putting the person into a box defined by their company or role. Instead, the focus is on the individual personalities in front of her and the connections these people have created with one another. She's capturing moments, joy, and relationships the same way a wedding photographer would.
Allie has all of her clients fill out a questionnaire before their shoot — it not only tells her how the photos will be used and what the company does, but it also helps her understand how the individuals see themselves, each other, and the type of working relationships they have.
"If I have a group that runs a business together and they work for the government. You immediately think 'serious and professional.' But in their questionnaire, they say they're like family. And I want to show that they are friendly people and that they love each other, and operate like a family."
What is success?
“When I was in my 20’s, I thought success was “more.” Make more money, grow my company to have more employees — just more of everything.”
Since having kids, Allie has refocused her energy on recognizing achieving what is “enough.” This change from “more” to “enough” is not only a mental shift, but has allowed Allie to spend more time with her family, more flexibility, and a chance to enjoy the lifestyle being her own boss gives her — and that is enough.
Finding a balance and achieving harmony between work and life is always difficult when you run your own business. It’s easy to feel guilty about not spending enough time with your children and not committing enough time to your business. To help keep this balance in check, Allie and her family try to keep an open calendar as much as possible and avoid overscheduling themselves.
“We like to get to the end of the day and be able to say “what do you want to do? Do you want to go for a bike ride? Go downtown? Do you want to have a meal outside? Or just hang out with the neighbor or with the family?” We just like to play it by ear and take it slow. We’re kind of a slow-paced family for the most part.”
Albums are one piece of the puzzle
"I once had an album take four years to design."
Before using SmartAlbums, Allie admits that creating albums used to be overwhelming because it involved so much manual labor and backwards and forwards. Now, it's a far easier process.
"I remember the first time I used SmartAlbums to proof an album. It was so much easier. I'll just drag in all the images I think I want into SA. Then I'll pick a few, see how they look laid out, maybe change the template, and think, "Hmm, that looks good." I love that I can have that album designed really quickly, and my clients think it takes me much longer."
SmartAlbums is just one piece of the puzzle for Allie when it comes to achieving "enough." Many little things work together to make her life more manageable so that she can spend time with her family while continuing to run her business. One of those is the peace of mind she has knowing when she delivers that tangible album to her clients, that it will look great.
"I know I can get it done quickly without having to sit there and try to design every single pixel myself. It's just going to look good."