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Conversations with the Inspiring Tiffany Allen

Today we’d like to introduce you to Tiffany Allen.

Tiffany, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
I think I always knew I wanted to do something artistic, but after growing up in a very conservative household, I opted for a career in Architecture. This led me to a job in Dubai between 2008-2012, where I really fell in love with architectural photography as a hobby. Over time, I began learning from one of the top fashion photographers in the Middle East and worked as his business associate. It was through his mentorship that I started believing that I could create the career that I wanted in photography.

I moved back to San Diego from Dubai in 2012 and at that time all of my friends were becoming mothers. It just fell into place for me to begin maternity and newborn photography, even though my initial interest was in fashion and architectural photography. Working with my maternity clients, however, has really been more of a blessing than I ever could have dreamed of.

As I’ve worked with women over the past seven years, I have truly developed a passion for helping them see themselves in a more empowered, beautiful, individual way. Now, I believe my work is set to take a parallel path as I extend my work and photography to adolescent girls. Using the same empowerment techniques and passion that I’ve used in my work with women, I want to help young women translate the messages of our culture into something meaningful and powerful for their life.

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It has and also has not been a smooth road. I tend to believe that the amount of frustration and stress that you put into a project or task, will yield only more of that, so I really hesitate to say that it’s been a struggle. I could have made it less of a struggle in some ways, for sure. But I’ve also been really blessed in how easy it has been as well.

When you have your own business, there are always going to be inherent challenges like finding the right associates to work with, understanding finances and insurance and liability and the yucky things that no creative business wants to consider, as well as the difficulties that exist when your paycheck isn’t a regular thing.

The biggest hurdle for me has been to find in myself an unwavering faith in, not only myself, but the Universe and I know that sounds all new-agey and spiritual, but it has been true for me that when I believe in those two things my business and my life has significantly fewer struggles.

I think that’s the single most important advice that I can give to younger women, along with the fact that this faith doesn’t and won’t come overnight – and it won’t always be consistent. It won’t show up on the hard days, and there is sometimes a month that will go by where I feel like I’ve lost all of the faith that I had – in myself as well as in the Universe, but you just show up that next day – and you keep looking for it, and you stay committed to it no matter what. It can and will always come back. Just don’t give up. Ever.

What are you most proud of?
I would say that I’m mostly known for my maternity work, even though my business is well rounded in all things that touch a woman’s life – from boudoir to engagement, weddings (although not a lot), maternity, newborn, family portraiture as well as corporate photography for women including fitness, social media, modeling, etc.

As far as what I’m most proud of… I’m not sure it really relates to my business per se, but just the fact that I truly believe in women as a species and I’m proud that my job means that I get to help women grow individually. Sometimes, it means a woman reclaiming her sexuality. Sometimes, it means showing them a photo that they love, when they’ve previously never had one that they even liked. I love that my clients have left here crying in gratitude and laughing with joy. It’s a very extremely rewarding career and I guess I’m most proud that I trusted in myself enough to start it and stick with it.

I’m not really sure what sets me apart from others. I don’t really enjoy drawing a divide like that around myself. I appreciate so many other photographers here in San Diego and worldwide and I think it’s just a personal aesthetic of minimal and modern that draws certain clients to me. In the end, though, it’s really just about giving the client what they specifically need and want.

What do you feel are the biggest barriers today to female leadership, in your industry or generally?
Gosh, this is a big question and honestly, I feel like the biggest barrier that women face (in general – in LIFE) is the belief that we’re not good enough. Our culture has literally capitalized enormously off of this lack of belief in ourselves, from the time that we are a young girl we are told that our hair needs to be longer, eyelashes longer, skin more perfect, we need to be taller, skinnier, more fashionable, cleaner, smell better, look better. It’s ridiculous really. And yet, despite all of that – we are I N C R E D I B L E. Even with numerous barriers, we keep going, we keep smiling, we keep loving, we keep giving, we keep trying to be better. And it really shows and I’m proud of that.

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