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I'm the gal behind the lens, and the founder of paige elizabeth photography. 

If I'm not working you can usually find me exploring new towns, eating sushi, or cuddling with my pup and cat. Explore my blog to learn more about me, my couples, and even learn a thing or two!

Hey, there! I'm Paige.

Women in Business: Part 4

Welcome to the final part of our Women’s History Month series, where we’re featuring local female entrepreneurs! Each of these ladies has a unique talent they offer our local community and I’m so excited to be highlighting their expertise. Let’s meet the final round of boss babes!
 
Amanda Pollack, Skin Fitness with Amanda Lee
What She Does: Licensed Aesthetician with a Masters in Social Work providing aesthetic services such as facials, lash lifts, waxing, and make up services while helping increase overall self esteem and confidence
Contact: skinfitness23@gmail.com // 443-783-9436 // Instagram
Women In Business | Women's History Month
Amanda Pollack of Skin Fitness with Amanda
What inspired you to start your business?
“I am brand new to ‘owning my own business’! Starting out is super hard and challenging, but overall rewarding! Coming from working a M-F ‘9-5’.. it’s tough. You have to believe in yourself. You have to find a tribe and find people who want you to be as successful as you want yourself to be. You have to be crazy passionate. This is the most challenging thing, believing in yourself. How did I get here!? Shew, I like to call it the breadcrumbs of life! You never know where you’re meant to be until you look back and all these little pieces put you exactly where you need and/or are supposed to be! One of the main things that lead me to be here was realizing how much I loved making other people feel good and loving themselves, all starting from the inside out.”
 
What project are you working on that you’re most excited about?
“The project I’m most excited about working on right now is ME, continuing to learn and grow in this field, find my niche, and work on helping everyone around me learn and grow to be their best as well!”
 
What is your favorite quote?
“‘Today is a good day for a good day.'”
Kelsey McCarthy, McCarthy Imagerie
What She Does: Weddings, Engagements, and Real Estate Photography
Contact: mccarthyimagerie@gmail.com // 443-859-1200 // Website
Women In Business | Women's History Month
Kelsey McCarthy of McCarthy Imagerie // Photograph by Paige Engel Photography
What inspired you to start your business?
“Both of my parents are business owners and always have been. So growing up in an entrepreneurial home, I grew up with the mindset that I wanted to be my own boss. I picked up the love of photography in high school and went from there. When I started photographing weddings, I knew that I’d found my passion. I love the creativity it welcomes and the chance to be a part of one of the most important days in a persons’ life.”
 
What tips do you have for other women looking to start a business?
“KEEP GOING! There will be so many people looking to step all over you, especially as a woman. Connect with other local business owners and make good, honest connections. There’s TONS of local support as a business owner, especially from other women.
 
What project are you working on that you’re most excited about?
“I’m currently working on putting together a summer themed styled shoot that I’ve been super exited about!”
 
What is a big misconception about your business you hear often?
“Being in the photography business, you hear so many misconceptions about it. From ‘Your big, expensive camera takes such good pictures’ to ‘Oh, why do you charge this amount? You’re just taking photos’, etc. What people fail to realize is the business aspect behind it. Marketing, editing, managing your clients, answering calls/emails in a timely fashion, handling MANY different personalities, time and people management with weddings, the list goes on and on. People look at the outcome of one photo, but don’t quite understand the process that goes into it BEFORE the photo was even taken.”
 
What is your favorite quote?
“‘Everything happens for a reason.'”
Hayley Nicole, xoxohnw & Every Wave Photo
What She Does: Blogging & Photography
Women In Business | Women's History Month
Hayley Nicole of xoxohnw and Every Wave Photography
 
What inspired you to start your business?
“I’ve been an entrepreneur since day one! I was always thinking of business ideas throughout my childhood. I even made printer paper business cards for a dog walking service when I was probably 8, I had nobody to give them to though! I kind of fell into blogging when I was modeling. I was traveling so much and shooting almost every day, brands started to reach out to me wanting to send me their products or pieces to wear during my photo shoots in exchange for tagging them when I posted to social media. It became this thing that I was doing in my free time and I knew that if I grew my audience, I could start making money from posting and tagging these brands. I started having my friends help me take photos to post, I studied social media and photography, all to grow my audience and post the best images I could. At the same time I was doing this, I got tired of constantly being on the road modeling and I started bringing all of my attention to blogging so I could be home more. I loved modeling, but now I’m still doing the fun part of modeling (shooting) on my own terms, for even bigger brands, creating the content myself, and I don’t have to be on the road nearly as much!”
 
What tips do you have for other women looking to start a business?
“This goes for anybody in business: launch fast and adjust as you go. I’ve done this for all of my endeavors! Rather than sitting on something and trying to perfect it before sharing it with the world, launch it fast and use feedback to improve it. You’re your own biggest critic, so what you’re trying to fix might not be what actually needs to be fixed. Ask for feedback, fix, and learn as you go.”
 
What project are you working on that you’re most excited about?
“I’ve been working on building my photography business! I’ve been working on this for quite some time but it’s something that I’ll always grow and work on- so I’m not in a rush. I take it shoot by shoot!”
 
What is one of your favorite ways to connect with other local business owners?
“Instagram is an obvious answer, but it’s a way I’ve met lots of my closest, like-minded friends! Other than that, I love trying new things and meeting people that way. I started getting lash extensions and became super close with the girl who does them because we’re both from Salisbury, are female entrepreneurs, and while we’re in different businesses, we’re still very much in the same industry!”
 
What is a big misconception about your business you hear often?
“A big misconception about my business is that I take selfies all day and don’t actually do anything! So many people out there think blogging isn’t a ‘real job’ or that it’s not hard work. Let me tell you: it is! I spend hours upon hours finding a brand willing to work together, researching their product(s), planning the collaboration, getting the product in, planning a shoot, shooting, editing the images, planning them in my feed, thinking of captions that are both super informative and not too long, then posting and being on social media to engage with my audience after the post is up- and that’s just working with a brand! Writing blog posts is just like any other form of journalism: we think of a concept, an angle, research, write, post, and then market the blog post so people actually see it. People think we just write about shopping and lip gloss. Not to mention, that without an audience my job doesn’t really exist. I spend most of my time researching my audience, their interests, where they’re from, and how old they are all so I can better serve them. People think that bloggers just sit back and watch people follow them but it’s so much more in depth and time consuming, and is the most important part of blogging as a whole.”
 
What is your favorite quote?
“‘A strong woman builds a firm foundation with the bricks others have thrown at her’- Unknown.”
 
Your favorite affirmation or self care practice:
“My skincare routine is very important to my mental health! For me, skin is super important because it’s something that you only get one of, but my skincare routine is more for my mental health. Having a routine helps me with my anxiety and taking ten minutes twice a day to do something good for myself keeps me sane. Baths are also my favorite after a long shoot, before I dive into editing I’ve got to relax and recharge in the tub for a little bit!”
 
Annie Velenovsky, Annie Velenovsky Photography
What She Does: Wedding and Portrait Film Photography
Women In Business | Women's History Month
Annie Velenovsky of Annie Velenovsky Photography
What inspired you to start your business?
“My journey with photography started when I was 12 years old and wanted to up my Myspace game (haha)! I had a pink point and shoot camera, and fell in love with self portraiture immediately. I got my first DSLR camera for Christmas when I was 14 and, as they say, the rest is history. For the rest of my life, it wasn’t really ever a question what I was meant to do. The entirety of high school was spent on self portrait series and photo shoots with my friends in abandoned houses. I spent a lot of my young adulthood trying to be ‘practical’, because I was fed the lie that making art for a living isn’t a real job and is impossible. My business started on an October afternoon in 2015. I was sitting in the parking lot outside of my retail job with my now husband, Alec, talking about how soul sucking these jobs were for me. Alec responded with ‘Why don’t you finally start making money taking photos?’ I was 21 and terrified at the idea, but something about that moment felt like a sign from God, and I didn’t go into my job that day. I never went back to a job that wasn’t photography-related. Now I’m here, constantly growing and learning what it means to be a creative entrepreneur, and knowing that the very best things lie on the other side of riskiness.”
What project are you working on that you’re most excited about?
“Last year, I opened up my Healing Sessions to anyone and everyone, and it was an incredible set of experiences with beautiful, imperfect human beings. I took some time off this Winter to fill my own emotional and spiritual cup, but I’m reopening them in April 2019. I’m inherently empathetic and a healer, and it’s only natural that I find so much fulfillment in combining that with my passion for photography.”
 
What’s your favorite part about being a local small business owner?
“Sometimes I just sit and think about all of the people I’ve photographed in my lifetime, specifically since I’ve started my photography business. A lot of my clients have become genuine friends, and it fills my heart so much that my photographs will be heirlooms for lovely humans, with stories that are completely and uniquely their own. I love seeing their lives evolve and being along for the ride to capture some of their most monumental life moments; whether it be getting married and having their first child, or letting go of a past that used to hold them hostage. I believe in the immense power of story, and that we all have one worth sharing.”
 
What is your favorite quote?
“‘Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage’ ― Anais Nin.”
 
Caroline Downes, Caroline F. Downes Fine Jewelry
What She Does: Handmade refined, rebellious jewelry.
Women In Business | Women's History Month
Caroline Downes of Caroline F. Downes Fine Jewelry // Photograph by AR White Photography
What inspired you to start your business?
“When I was growing up, I always strived to be different, and to push the boundaries with my art and my wardrobe. In my teenage years, I wore a band t-shirt every day, Vans, pink hair dye on the tips of my long wavy hair, and listened to my favorite hardcore bands on blast. As I grew older, I always included bits and pieces of ‘edge’ in my look to pay homage to my favorite music, artists, and fashion designers. I struggled to find jewelry that fit my style, so I started making and selling my own, using beads and wire. I always felt restricted by these pre-made materials, leaving little room for texture and organic shapes. Somehow I knew in the back of my mind that I would become a metalsmith one day, to finally create the jewelry I’ve been dreaming of wearing for years. Fast forward 14 years, to me quitting my job as a Graphic Designer, and making the decision to drive 12+ hours/week to get to fabrication and casting classes. I finally made that dream a reality! I quickly realized I wasn’t the only one seeking to wear a little refined rebellion, so I found a studio, got my first bench, and got to work! I haven’t stopped since!”
 
What is a big misconception about your business you hear often?
“Similar to what Ami Reist Jachimski of Little Miss Lovely said in Woman In Business: Part 1, there is SO MUCH that goes on behind the scenes to make our final product a reality; it’s pretty shocking! People seem to think jewelry making is something that can be thrown together really quickly, and they don’t understand how many steps go into each piece. Even the simplest silver band has about 20 steps to it- involving measuring, hammering, sawing, filing, torch work, acid baths, sanding, sizing, buffing, tumbling, etc. I have been humbled by the jewelers I have met along my journey here who have shown me the incredibly intricate process of jewelry making that went well beyond what I ever imagined. When you think there will be just one step, there will always be ten. You have to understand the alchemy of the alloy you’re working with, it’s temperament to the flame, each gemstone’s characteristic and hardness, reputable sourcing, years of honed torch and tool handling, and so much more. Owning your own business, especially when you create the product you’re selling, is an undertaking a lot of people can’t comprehend. The hours that go into the planning, creation, casting, refining, stone setting, and finishing process are mind boggling- let alone all of the regular responsibilities of a small business owner like bookkeeping, sales, customer relations, shipping, and advertising. I’m also able to photograph and edit every photo of my jewelry, create any forms or advertising material myself, and I design and manage my own website (with the help of Shopify, of course). It looks like playing jewelry dress-up on the outside, but it’s blood, sweat, and tears on the inside!”
 
What project are you working on that you’re most excited about?
“I am so excited about my newest collection! I have been working non-stop for the past few months to create a fully rounded collection and I’m about to cross the finish line! I CANNOT WAIT to share all my new designs with everyone!”
 
What tips do you have for other women looking to start a business?
“Move to Berlin, Maryland! I cannot say enough about the fellow business owners of my hometown. They are all so kind and encouraging. They want each other to succeed, so they’re always telling their customers about the promotions and items in other stores. Not all towns are as ridiculously supportive as this town is. 80% of the business owners are women, so it’s a great environment for entrepreneurs to thrive.”
 
Leslie Mazzei, Clarke & Co.
What She Does: Virtual Assistant Services for Creative Entrepreneurs 
Women In Business | Women's History Month
Leslie Mazzei of Clarke & Co. // Photograph by Jonathan Allen Photography
What inspired you to start your business?
“You want the Real Deal Holyfield answer? I was on a whole Dave Ramsey, get-yourself-out-of-debt kick! We’d just built our home, I had some lingering student loan debts, wanted to pay off my car, and thought: ‘I have 10+ years of admin experience, I can totally do this!’ Like all great love stories, I quickly fell hard in love with my business and my clients, and that’s what has kept me in business. I LOVE what I do, and I LOVE the clients I work for. They are all special, they are all unique, they are all rock stars at what they do, and they make my job so enjoyable. I feel so honored every day to not only know, but get to work in the presence of such talent, and I never want to go back to not knowing that feeling day in and day out.”
What tips do you have for other women looking to start a business?
“You just have to do it. Seriously. It’s gonna be hard, you’re going to have tons of doubts, six million ‘what if’s’ will run through your head; but hear me when I say it will be worth it tenfold in the end to just jump.  Louder for those in the back? As women, we are uniquely designed to just make it work. Four kids to four different practices all within 30 minutes of each other? ‘No problem, we’ll make it work.’ Client meeting at 8, first available doctor’s appointment at 9? ‘No problem, we’ll make it work.’ Uniform still soaked, but you have to be out the door in 5? You best believe, we are going to be blasting the A.C. AND have the windows down on the way because why? ‘We make it work.’ The same is true in business, you will not let YOU fail. As each day passes your drive, will, and want will grow stronger and stronger until one day you just sit back and say, ‘Yeah, I’m glad I just did it’.”
 
What is a big misconception about your business you hear often?
“There are a few, but here is one of my favorites, ‘I can’t outsource, I have to do everything’. Alright Wonder Woman, well keep rocking on, but if it ever gets too heavy holding up the whole world, I’m here. We all have things we can outsource, even as a VA I think sometimes about hiring a VA. Quite frankly, we can’t show up for our clients or ourselves in the best way if we’re always so overwhelmed doing everything from A-Z. Bringing someone in not only helps relieve some of the pressure, but it gives you back time! No one goes into business because they like working 24/7, outsourcing some of your tasks means you have more time to stay in your zone of genius (ahem, make more money) and have time to just live life.”
 
What is your favorite quote?
“An oldie but a goodie, ‘People will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel’ -Maya Angelou. I strive every day in my business to show my clients how much I care. Their business means as much to me as it does them. I understand that owning your own business is a huge dream for most, your business is almost like your baby and you wouldn’t let just anyone hold your baby. I want my clients to know that I am not just anyone, I am their team member, their cheerleader, and their support system. Teamwork makes the dream work!”
 
I have absolutely loved doing this series! I am honored to have been able to feature all of these amazing women, and this series goes out to all of the hardworking, inspiring, and heroic ladies out there! I hope these ladies have encouraged those of you with quiet dreams to shout them from the rooftops, and to fiercely pursue your passions! The world needs more of you.
 
Leave a comment below and let me know if you enjoyed this series, and what other questions you’d like to ask a local female entrepreneur!
 
XO,
Paige

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- samantha + ryan

"These are the most beautiful pictures I have ever seen in my life. You are a wizard (yes the HP kind) with a camera - it was meant to be in your sweet perfect hands. Thank you so much for yesterday and for everything. We are so so lucky to get to have you and your talents capture the best day of Ryan’s and I’s lives"

"You Are a Wizard"

- HALEY + BRANDON

"OH MY GOD PAIGE YOU F*@%KING KILLED IT...Thank you so much for capturing everything. We are so grateful for you!"

"OH MY GOD"

- EMMA + BRETT

OMFG PAIGE the sneak peek is INCREDIBLE and I’m having so much trouble choosing just a few to post 😂 so so amazed by your talent and artistry girl!!!!

"OMFG"

- Krista, 2020 PEP Senior rep

"Paige is one of the kindest people I've ever met! When it comes to senior pictures, I'm so glad I chose her. She was quick with our photos, always gave us sneak peeks, and hyped us up during our whole shoot! Wish I could be a PEP Senior Rep forever!" 

"I'm so glad I chose her"

- Kelsey + gavin

"Paige made our engagement and wedding photo experience unforgettable. She was professional, fun, and did an amazing job capturing our personalities in our photographs. Great turn around time. I cannot say enough great things about this woman!!!"

"Unforgettable"

- jen and shane

"PAIGE! I just got a chance to completely look through all of the photos. They are absolutely stunning!!! Thank you so much, you captured everything perfectly!"

"Captured Perfectly"

- courtney, 2020 PEP Senior rep

"I genuinely could not be happier with the experience Paige provided me with this year. I was super nervous to be in front of the camera, but my shoots with Paige literally felt like hanging out with your best friend while simultaneously taking photos. Paige sincerely cares about each and every one of her clients, and that is made so evident by the hard work she puts into her craft. I’ve learned so much from watching Paige run her business and I am in awe of how much she loves what she does- and how incredibly talented she is at what she does. Not only did I gain breathtaking photos of my Senior year that I will keep close to my heart forever, I also gained a friend, and to me that is priceless. If you’re thinking about booking a shoot with Paige, do it now- you’ll wonder where she’s been all your life. 💕"

"Could not be happier"

- Gabby + Kyle

"Literally sitting here crying because your pictures are so amazing. I’m absolutely in love they are perfect. I love your style of candid and how you get the perfect shot...The hardest thing for me to choose was our wedding photographer, it took me the longest time. And we 1000% made the right choice. You did amazing. Thank you so much!"

"Absolutely in love"

- Kelly + jared

"Extremely talented, professional, and genuine photographer who loves what she does and loves who she does it for. If she didn’t, would her photos be THIS DAMN GOOD?? Would hire her over and over again."

"Would hire her over and over"

- Baby, 2020 PEP Senior rep

"You're literally the best at what you do...I love them all!"

"The best"

- Tori + aaron

"BEST. PHOTOGRAPHER. EVER...Don't know what we would have done without you!"

"BEST. PHOTOGRAPHER. EVER"

- becca, 2020 PEP Senior rep

"I'M CRYING DRIVING HOME FROM ASSATEAGUE. I'VE ONLY SEEN THE COVER AND I'M DYING....OH MY GOD. You freaking killed the game and outdid yourself. THESE ARE GORGEOUS!"

"THESE ARE GORGEOUS"

- hannah + ross

"Paige is phenomenal. From the very first meet up, I knew that she was going to do everything in her ability to make our day something special. She is so easy to work with, and really plays to the strengths of the couple. My husband and I are awkward and we laugh at everything, and she let us be ourselves and really captured our personalities in the pictures. She truly went the extra mile and brought so much energy to our day."

"Phenomenal."

- Chelsea + seth

"We had a blast with Paige, and have the most amazing photos to show from it. We are blessed beyond belief that we met this wonderful human and that she provided us with photos that will adorn our home for years to come. Through grateful tears, THANK YOU for your work. We are so happy to have a friend in you."

"The very best day."

- Morgan + Matt

"I can't stop staring at my wedding photos!"

"Can't stop staring"

- Keeley, 2020 PEP Senior rep

"Paige is one of the most kindest, hardworking, selfless, people I know. I’m am not a confident person at all, but when I did my shoots with Paige she would make me laugh and feel confident. One of my favorite parts of my senior year was being able to get to know her, and do my senior casuals with her. She is not only a great photographer but a great person💕"

"She would make me laugh and feel CONFIDENT"

- Alicia + Justin

"From personal experience, I can say that Paige is incredible to work with. She was the best photographer we could have asked for! We highly recommend her!" 

"Highly Recommend"

- Tori + otto

“Paige is an outstanding professional with AMAZING photography skills. My husband and I LOVE her, and we were so delighted with our experience using her services on our special wedding day. Paige has a way of making you feel so comfortable in front of the camera and the photography she creates is absolutely top notch. Thank you Paige!”

"So Comfortable"

- morgan + skye

“Paige is just the best. She (sometimes literally) bent over backwards to make our day and everything before our day go absolutely perfect. There aren't enough words to explain how thankful we are for her AND her beautiful work. I can't imagine our wedding day without her and will most definitely be recommending her to everyone in the future.”

"Aren't Enough Words"

love notes.