This week in our Fierce & Fearless Biz Owners series, we're featuring incredible family photographer Francesca Russell. Francesca has such an interesting career history - she was a professional stage manager for 20 years! When her last show closed, she decided to take the leap and start her own business.
Francesca's documentary-style photographs of families are truly stunning! Make sure you scroll all the way to the bottom to see her beautiful video reel!
Hi! What's your name? Francesca Russell
What's your biz? Francesca Russell Photography
Tell us about your biz! I am a family photographer and filmmaker specializing in documentary-style photography and video sessions.
How did you get started in this industry? I am a former Broadway stage manager and I bought my first DSLR camera about 10 years ago while on tour. I began documenting my travels and life backstage. When my daughter was born in 2011, my focus shifted on documenting her growth and my new journey as a mother. When my last long-running show closed in 2015 ("Rock of Ages"), I took the opportunity to start my own documentary family photography business.
What did you do before starting your business? I was a professional stage manager for 20 years, regionally, on Broadway and on the road.
When did you make the leap to decide to open your own business? I began my business in 2015 after my last long-running show closed. I finally had a bit of down time to focus more fully on my photography and filmwork.
What are the biggest rewards in running your business? I feel very strongly about recording a legacy for our children. The photographs and films I make in my sessions are not for the parents - they are for the children, and for the generations to come. I capture a family's story - their history. I love getting feedback from clients about how much the honesty of the images means to them, and how the essence of their family has been captured. I also really love to show parents how much they are doing right in their journey of raising children. That can be hard to see in the thick of the day-to-day - so if I can show parents what an awesome job they are doing through my images and films, then that really makes my heart happy.
What are the biggest challenges? The biggest challenge is probably convincing clients to let their guard down. I don't give any direction in my sessions, I just come and hang out with a family and take pictures while I am hanging out. It can be unnerving having a photographer in your home, and worrying about "is my house clean enough?" or "are we too boring?". Dads can be uncomfortable! But it usually doesn't take too long for everyone to relax and just have fun. I love hearing from clients afterward about how easy the session was - I don't make anyone sit still and smile for the camera!