Today we’d like to introduce you to Roxanne Rankin.
Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
I was always into artsy things growing up, drawing any chance I could. I loved everything that allowed me to use my creative side. In high school, I took all the art classes offered, including photography. I loved it but didn’t know how a person could ever make a living taking pictures. I was also a huge Disney fan, so when I learned that Walt Disney went to the Kansas City Art Institute, I was determined to as well.
And I did, majoring in Illustration. There is where I was first introduced to Photoshop. I learned to edit and enhance photos and totally fell in love with the possibilities! Unfortunately, at the time, KCAI didn’t offer a degree program in Graphic Design, so I transferred to JCCC until I found a University that did. I received my Associate of Arts Degree from there and then went on to the University of Central Missouri, graduating with a Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Design and Commercial Art.
I had been working at Wal-Mart for almost 10 years at this point, through high school and college, to pay my expenses along the way. After graduating, I was offered a job at Spangler Graphics by a friend. He had been there many years and taught me a great deal about the back end of printing. This leads me to a job working for The Leslie Company, another local printing company in Kansas City. I was able to put my design skills to good use here, working on monthly marketing and advertising pieces.
I got married soon after and my husband and I had our first son. Everything was going great until my husband got laid off from his job. Around the same time, I was looking for a photographer to take pictures of our little boy, who was growing quickly. We obviously now, could not afford any extra expenses. So, I grabbed my camera and set up a cute scene in our backyard, and took his pictures myself. I shared the photos with my friends on social media and everyone loved them… so much so they were asking me who the photographer was.
I began getting requests from several friends to take their family’s photos and then requests from friends of friends. That’s when I knew this could become an amazing opportunity for me and my family. I absolutely loved that I was able to capture moments that families would cherish forever, and I got paid to do it! Thus, in 2009, Picture Perfect Design Studio was born!
I worked hard at growing my business for the next two and a half years (and another little boy) and only through word of mouth and sharing photos on social media, I was able to quit my full-time job. Along with portrait photography, I was doing a lot of freelance design work on the side. In 2013, I began contracting for Goodcents Subs at their home office in DeSoto, KS. There, I’ve assisted several of the owner’s companies in designing logos and marketing pieces as well as numerous food photography shoots. It has been such a great opportunity for me for over 8 years now!
This amazing career that I have made and owned for 12 years has allowed me to make my own schedule and be present in everything for my two boys! My husband and assistant, has been my biggest supporter along the way! Things have been going so well, we launched another business in January of this year, KC Custom Ink, a custom design and print shop, specializing in custom apparel!
I’ve been so very fortunate and blessed to work with so many incredible people and families over the years… I could not have done any of this without them!
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Owning your own business is never easy. My biggest struggle, in the beginning, was not knowing how much to charge for my services. I enjoyed what I was doing so much and starting from the ground up made it difficult to charge what other photographers were charging after years in the business.
I “gave away” my work more than I probably should have, but it gave me more experience to show what I could do. My goal from the beginning has been to provide all families with great photos at an affordable rate because everyone should have that option.
Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I would say I specialize mostly in Family Photography. My most popular family sessions are probably either my Fall Minis or my Christmas Minis. I have so many families that come back year after year and some that do both sessions each year! I think families feel comfortable with me and know they will have a great memorable and affordable experience with each session.
I’m most proud of referrals. When I meet new families and they tell me their friend or coworker told them about me and how much they loved their pictures, that makes me feel great about what I’m doing!
I would say what sets me apart from other photographers is patience and quality. I am a perfectionist, hence the name Picture Perfect so therefore I aim for the best always. Not every session is perfect, but I do my very best every time to capture moments that will be cherished forever.
Do you have any advice for those just starting out?
My advice to new photographers just starting out is to just get yourself out there! Take a lot of pictures, do a lot of industry research and know who your target audience is. Pick a specialty area and stick with it. If you have the passion and drive, it will all work out!
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Website: www.pictureperfectdesignstudio.com
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/PicturePerfectDS
Linsey Fitzpatrick Photography (Main Photo)