Happy Friday, friends!
This week’s How I Flourish in Des Moines profile is all about Ana Woods and her local photography studio, Ana Woods Photography.
If you’re new to How I Flourish in Des Moines, it’s a blog series sharing the stories of local women in business. Get ready to learn more about these passionate women, how they started businesses in the Des Moines area, and advice they have to share.
Introducing Ana Woods and Ana Woods Photography
I met Ana in person earlier this year after following her on Instagram, in true millennial fashion. As I watched her Instagram Stories and scrolled through posts, I couldn’t help but realize that we were in similar life stages: recently married, small business owners (both with a content focus to our business), and Des Moines area residents.
I admire how she’s expanded her business to follow her passions and fill the needs of those she serves (more on that below!). I can’t wait to see what big things she brings to Des Moines.
1. What is your business, and what do you do?
I am the owner and heart behind Ana Woods Photography – a film wedding and portrait photography studio based out of Des Moines! When I’m not behind my camera I’m also a freelance copywriter and social media manager as well as a co-owner of The Darling Studio where I help manage a team of around seven amazing photographers!
2. How long have you been in business?
I have been in business since my sophomore year of college, 2012!
3. What sparked your interest in becoming a small business owner?
I always say that photography (and small business ownership) found me. I went to college without a clear idea of what I wanted to do. My freshman summer I was a little restless so I picked up a camera and something clicked. Within a few weeks (yes, weeks) I launched a website and Facebook page for my newfound photography business. What’s that Amy Poehler quote?
“Great people do things before they’re ready. They do things before they know they can do it. Doing what you’re afraid of, getting out of your comfort zone, taking risks like that- that’s what life is. You might be really good. You might find out something about yourself that’s really special and if you’re not good, who cares? You tried something. Now you know something about yourself.”
Small business ownership was something I did before I was ready and before I ever fully understood what I was getting into.
4. What gap does your business fill?
As a film photographer, my work is rooted in the idea that quality is better than quantity. Each roll of film has sixteen photos and so the photos I’m able to take during a wedding or portrait session are limited. Instead of rapidly shooting on a digital camera, I’m super intentional about every. single. image. I take. My business fills a gap for people who are looking for photographs that’ll stand the test of time- long past editing and photography trends. I mean, what’s more classic than film?
5. What do you enjoy most about operating a business in the Des Moines metro?
The community and sense of collaboration! I’ve been so lucky to meet and work with countless talented creatives in the area and it never ceases to inspire me.
6. What is the best business-related advice you’ve received?
My grandpa was a successful entrepreneur and always told me to have a strong, firm handshake. I think of his advice often and see it as encouragement to be confident, firm, and kind in all things business.
7. What tip do you have for other women in business?
Go for it. Don’t think too hard, just put your head down and take the leap. It is easy to have good ideas but hard to actually act on them. Act on your ideas and you’ll go far!