International Women's Day: Alyssa Hunter

Author: The Event Community

Date: Mar 8th 2023

Image Credit: The Event Community

International Women's Day: Alyssa Hunter

Image Credit: The Event Community

Happy International Women's Day! 

Today we celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women around the world. It's a day to honor the contributions women have made to society, and to highlight the ongoing struggle for gender equality

In recognition of this important day, I am thrilled to introduce you to an inspiring woman and creator in our community, Alyssa Hunter, the Owner & Photographer of Alyssa Hunter Photography based in Santa Monica, CA.

In this Q&A, we will be taking a closer look at Alyssa's story, her journey towards becoming an entrepreneur, and the work she is doing in the event industry. We will explore the challenges she has faced, the lessons she has learned, and the successes she has achieved.

Through her inspiring story, we hope to shine a light on the incredible impact that women can have when they take a leap of faith to follow and pursue their creative dreams. 

Photo Taken By: Kaysha Weiner

Alyssa, we are constantly in awe of your work! Let’s give readers a short introduction about your business, Alyssa Hunter Photography, the services you offer, and the qualities that make you stand out in the industry. 

My name is Alyssa, and I’ve been documenting events and families for the past 6+ years. Over that time, I’ve narrowed down my focus so that I’m mostly photographing events that are all about the kiddos. You definitely won’t catch me photographing weddings, but I do know a bunch of great photographers I can refer you to! I really value my relationships with vendors so I do my best to share photos and embrace community over competition. There’s definitely enough room at the table for everyone.

Being around kids can be stressful, especially since every day comes with new joys and challenges, but I do pride myself on having a lot of patience.

Photo By: Alyssa Hunter Photography

What’s the story behind the start of your business? Thinking back to this time, what was it like for you personally and professionally to start something of your own?

My business originally started in San Francisco, where I moved after graduating with my BFA from the Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York. If I’m being completely honest, I never thought I would have my own business. I was working with a nonprofit in San Francisco that unfortunately went under. While I was figuring out what was next, I had started photographing families and events. I realized that what I love most is working with kids and that’s when I started Alyssa Hunter Photography. That was about 6 years ago.

Fast forward to a move back to Southern California where you can mainly find me photographing birthdays of all ages, a variety of events, and family/maternity sessions.

Speaking of that move, it was in July of 2019. After a lot of back and forth from LA to SF, I officially relocated my business in 2020, and it was a challenge for so many reasons. After a lot of struggle, I’ve met some wonderful people, photographed some pretty luxurious parties and events, and am happy to say I still have a thriving business!

Photo By: Alyssa Hunter Photography
As anyone can imagine, it’s a rollercoaster ride trying to run your own business. What have been some of the ups and downs that you have experienced as a small business owner?

Running a business is already incredibly tough and a 25/8 job but when you add a pandemic to it, it can be so overwhelming. I’m so thankful for my creative friends that I can vent to, ask for help, run ideas by, and celebrate success with! I may work by myself, but I’m definitely not alone.

I’m still working on finding some work life balance. That’s probably the toughest for me. If I’m not actively working, I’m not making money. It makes it harder to have office hours and put my computer away so that I’m present for my own life. I love my business as if it were my first child, but it’s not a newborn anymore. It’s ok to have time to yourself and put your never ending to do list to the side. Everything will be fine - I promise!

What are the best resources that you have used to help your business grow? (Books, Software, Social Media Tools, Youtube Videos, Products You Use)

My top 4 favorite resources that I use in my business daily are Honeybook, Flodesk, Pixieset, and Squarespace. Honeybook is my client management system and how I keep all of my clients organized. Flodesk is what I use to manage my email list and send out newsletters. Pixieset is where I host my client galleries. Squarespace is what I built my website on. All are so helpful, keep me extremely organized, and make my life so much easier.

What’s a common myth about your profession that you’d like to debunk?

I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase “you can Photoshop that?” whether or not you’re a photographer. I know I’ve heard it thousands of times at all sorts of different sessions. I sort of laugh it off and ignore it because no, you can’t always Photoshop it lol.

What other important message would you like to share with the community?

I would say 99% of us are all here to help each other in any way that we can. Anytime I’ve asked another photographer or vendor questions, they are happy to share. I know anytime a photographer emails or DMs me, I’m more than happy to help them in any way that I can. What’s most important is to stay genuine. If someone is giving you their time, appreciate and respect that. As the cast of High School Musical says, “We’re all in this together”!

Here at The Event Community, we strongly value Community Over Competition. With so many photographers trying to make a name for themselves, what’s the most important piece of advice that you would give to another photographer starting their own business?

Southern California has no shortage of photographers. That was what I was most afraid of when I moved to LA. There are so many photographers, how will I even find any work? The most important piece of advice is to always be kind and genuine. Instagram is so helpful because you have access to other photographers and more often than not they’re happy to talk with you. Specifically within Southern California, there are so many events happening daily! There are so many people here that need a photographer so never think of it as someone taking away your potential clients. Keep sharing your own work, updating your website, reaching out to people you want to work with, and your time will come!

Photo By: Alyssa Hunter Photography
Would you like to shout out to your team, friends, family, or other friendors (vendor friends) who have helped you personally or professionally? Shout them out and write them a message of gratitude!

I have so many friends in this industry that I’m so grateful for, and the majority I met through Instagram! Nicole Hollins was my first ever SoCal client, and I’ve worked with her family for many years now. I am so grateful to the Hollins family! Mahvush of Styles of MH was the first vendor who hired me to photograph an event with a capital E (IYKYK). I met Crystal of The Jolly Sheep at that same event, and she gave me water to cool me down from an extremely hot day. Her and her whole team have always been so sweet and lovely to work with. I am obsessed with Lisa of The Candy Coach, Kham of Hello Pretty Events, Kristen and Katherine of Alpha Lit Orange County, Vanessa of Navas Click Stop, Codi of Codi Wilcox Photography, and truly the list goes on and on. I am so lucky to have a great group of women around me, and if you’re looking for your own team - DM me! I love this community and am so happy to give back some of what I’ve received. 

Thank you so much Alyssa for taking the time to participate in our Q&A session for International Women's Day. Your insights and expertise have truly inspired and empowered us all. We are honored to have had the opportunity to learn from you and share your story with our readers.

Contact Alyssa Hunter

More Photos by Alyssa Hunter Photography!