In 2010, commercial photographer Vicky Scesa was pregnant with her daughter, Safi, when she started thinking about moms and all the pictures they take of their little ones. Scesa had worked on and off teaching camera courses, and had particularly enjoyed leading a photography workshop for a moms' group in Miami.
Could she turn that idea into a business?
"I had always taught photography," said Scesa, who lives in Delray Beach. "I thought what a great niche it would be to teach to moms."
Today, Scesa owns Mamatography Photo Workshops. Here’s how she did it.
The big idea
Mamatography Photo Workshops teaches moms how to best capture their children in photographs. Lessons range from basic camera skills to lighting and editing, and are taught in group or private lessons in South Florida, or through webinars, blogs and video tutorials on the web. Students are beginners through advanced. Costs range from $45 for webinars and an eBook, to $50 for a two-hour group lesson, to $300 for a private, customized series of four classes.
Scesa graduated from the Art Institute of Miami in 2006, but she started shooting in high school "and never put the camera down," she said. While in college, she shot photos for United Way. After graduating, she worked as a full-time designer at Carnival Cruise Lines. Finding that she disliked desk work, Scesa began freelancing as a corporate photographer in New York and South Florida, including a stint with the Miami Dolphins. Scesa also has taught a variety of photography workshops.
Scesa did an Internet search of "photography lessons for moms" to see if she had anything different to offer to the marketplace. She researched photography workshops offered by commercial studios and studied price, format and course offerings. She decided to design and price her classes for the mom market: women on a budget with limited free time.
Now a new mom herself to Safi, born in December 2010, Scesa wanted to be able to network with other moms while teaching them about photography. Scesa began offering group workshops in April 2011 to teach camera basics.
The next step was customizable one-on-one workshops, where she took a student from how to work a camera to portraiture, lighting and the editing process. Next Scesa started creating online webinars and tutorials, and started a blog.
"I started a Facebook page, and soon I had fans from around the world," Scesa said. "I thought, 'Why limit to locally, when moms around the world need to learn to use their cameras?' If they have a webcam and an Internet connection, they have everything they need."
As a new mom herself, Scesa also had enjoyed the camaraderie and friendships a women's-only workshop brought.
"Moms are looking to connect with other moms," Scesa said. "As a new mom myself, it feels really good."
In the summer of 2011, Scesa wrote and self-published a book Photo Basics and Beyond: A Camera Bag Companion. It is available as a digital or paper book.
A Facebook page was started in January 2011, which Scesa populates with contests, promotions, news of workshops and free tips. The website went live in April 2011; it contains a blog, class schedule and an online discount camera equipment store. Scesa is active on Twitter, and uses Pinterest to post photos from workshops. "Everything is linked together," she said.