Meet Tiffany Bender :: {Women In Business Series}

INTERVIEW WITH Munchkins & Mohawks Photography / Pennsylvania

Hi Tiffany! Thank you for sharing some business insight with all of those reading today! I am thrilled to feature you and your gorgeous work in our Women In Business Series! Okay let’s jump right in.  How long have you owned your own photography business?
Munchkins ans Mohawks is going to their 3rd year.

How did you know photography was your destiny….what type of subject(s) are your favorite to photograph?
From the second I picked up a DSLR I knew this was it. I was totally obsessed. Being able to share with others the way I choose to view the world, was so fulfilling. It is my connection with  humanity. How I give back. I really love little ones. Their innocence and take on life makes me just joyous. I kinda wish I was a kid again!

Are you married? Do you have any children? If so how do you best balance your family time with your work time?
Balance??? What is that?! It is pretty much organized chaos here at any moment. My husband and I have three beautiful babies at home. Our “original baby”, as we call him, is seven. Our middle child, the first girl, is three and the baby just celebrated her first birthday. So between kid activities, church, and work our plates are full. I really try to do what I am good at and delegate the rest. It has taken me a while to get to a place where I feel like I am beginning to get a grasp on it all . I am constantly evaluating and reevaluating my priories to make sure I am keeping my focus where it needs to be. Really though, I think this is one of the toughest parts of our careers. I can frequently be seen working away at 2 am, thank Heavens I don’t need much sleep…..shhhhh- don’t tell my husband that though!

What are the top three things you did you did, when you were first getting started, to bring in clients?
There are a few things that really helped me gain a solid start. I shot a lot. Like everyday.  I offered specials to friends and neighbors to continue to keep sessions rolling in. Then, constantly blogging and staying active on facebook was and still is super important. When you are connected to them, they see you, they think about you, then they NEED you again! I am always sure to tag my clients in their images to generate more traffic to us. Their friends see their images and need a Munchkins and Mohawks session of their own! And lastly I made local connections- with boutique shop owners and mom’s groups. I went to where my future clients were. I became active in our community, established friendships and the progression to business relationships was natural.

What camera do shoot with? Favorite lenses?

I shoot with the Nikon D700. My go to lenses are the 70-200 2.8 mm and the 35 1.8 mm

In owning your own business, what have you found to be your greatest struggle?

Balance for sure. When you have a 9-5 you go to work then come home. As a business owner I am constantly connected. While I love being accessible to clients it is a struggle to cut that off to dedicate to family time as well. I have set office hours now and have recently acquired a studio space to create some separation. I want to be 110% present at whatever I am doing

What are you most proud of accomplishing as a business woman?
I still pinch myself that people pay me to do this!  I feel a sense of pride being able to translate my passion into a successful career

What was the BEST business decision/or change of direction, that you have ever made in your business venture?

Saying no. By staying true to my brand I have honed in on exactly what makes my heart sing. I truly only shoot what I love and therefor put my whole heart into each commission. It is hard at first for sure. The fear of hearing crickets can be stressful, but if you step out on faith and continue to push yourself in the direction that you excel at you will be successful.

What are three things you wish someone would have told you when you were just starting out in the photography world?

First I would get your policies in black and white NOW. I think not knowing what you don’t know is hard. Talk with other photogs that have been there and done that.  Get a mentor and ask away! I know most of us have probably had a few clients that helped us realize how important it is to put everything down before the session so that all policies are clear.

Second I would suggest to figure out your pricing by what your actual costs are. Not what others are charging, but what you are worth…time, expenses, professional fees, etc.  It is easier to get all that figured out before you are slammed with the general running’s of the daily business life.

And that is probably it. Honestly, I  had a great entrance into business life and was fortunate to have a network of others who were in the start up phases or beyond in their business. We were able to talk things out and help each other in our journeys.

Have you attended any workshops or online forums that have helped you get to where you are? What was your favorite of each?
Long long ago it started on a mommy board. There was a DSLR hobbyist board where other moms would share tips on how to shoot their kids. There are quite a few of us that have continued to grow on as professional photographers . I also have been blessed to be part of an online private mentoring group. It has allowed me the opportunity to ask for critique in a safe place. I feel like that was and continues to be the best place for growth. When receiving honest feedback I am able to have a clear view on where I stand.  Being part of a community of people that are doing the same thing as you is so important. Clickin Moms is another forum I frequent.  The vibe there is just awesome. So many working toward the same goal- all in different ways. You can learn so much from so many different perspectives. There are some amazing talents as well as some new on their photography journey. I try to give honest critique to other on there as well. I think it is important for me to give back the way it was given to me.

And finally, what are five things that you couldn’t see yourself without in this business?

1. The number one thing would be God. I feel that He has gifted me with the ability to create beautiful art for my families and the brains to actually make money at it !
2. My family. They drive me…they  are the reason I strive to be my best.
3. My assistants. I have an amazing team of gals that I lean on constantly. They get me…or maybe just tolerate my craziness.
4. My 70-200 2.8. The variety of images I can deliver to my clients from this lens is just amazing.
5. My reflector. It is my BFF ; – )

THANKS FOR STOPPING BY AND CHECKING OUT THE WOMEN IN BUSINESS SERIES, BE SURE TO CHECK OUT ALL OF THEM!! Leave some love for Tiffany, or click the “LIKE” button, I’m sure she loves the feedback as much as I do!!

Much Love, Heidi

  • Heather Stockett - Those are some absolutely stunning images! What an incredibly talented woman. I love that she gives thanks to God, first and foremost. Great post!

  • Shannon Wilkinson - Wonderful interview. Hard to believe so much has happened since that little board so long ago. You have grown in ways that continue to inspire me.

    – Shan

  • Luba Hlutkowsky - Dearest Tiffany,
    What beautiful work you do!
    I am so very proud to tell people that know you and loved you even before you became a star. I just looked at the picture of you and my father, God Rest his soul, he always loved you and told me that you were “verrry prrrety”.
    Good luck with your photography!

  • Nancy - Great interview! Such an honor to “know” Tiffany! Amazingly talented & just a lovely, lovely person!

  • Carole - Enjoyed your article. It’s very important to love what you do.

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