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Meet Cassandra Estifanos of Cassema Photography

Today we’d like to introduce you to Cassandra Estifanos.

Cassandra, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I ran a photo prop business for several years knitting newborn outfits for photographers. I had decided to invest in a nice camera so that I could take better photos of the items I was selling, while learning how to use the camera, I quickly fell in love with photography. It amazed me how something so technical could create such beauty. The first person I photographed was my sister for a maternity shoot. We had an amazing photo session at the beach. I was so inspired by the lighting and the way I could manipulate it. It was at that moment, I knew I wanted to help people capture their special memories.

My first year in business, I was voted top 5 best San Diego photographers. It really helped open opportunities to me. I was going to school full time pursing my psychology degree during the week and then spending Saturday and Sunday photographing everything from newborns to families. Once I finished school, I decided to really focus on my photography as I enjoyed it. Five years later it is my full-time job and I love it just as much as I did the first time I picked up my camera.

I don’t think I would truly be as successful as I am today if it weren’t for the amazing support I have from my family and friends. Particularly my husband, grandmother, and father. They have always believed in me since day one and are some of my biggest cheerleaders. It is so wonderful having a great support system always rooting for you. I am also so grateful to the clients who return to me over and over for their photos. I love getting to see their families grow and knowing that they trust me to capture it.

Has it been a smooth road?
As with all businesses, it took a little bit to really get noticed. There were and are SO many amazing photographers out there! It was difficult to get people to trust in my work as a new photographer. It also was definitely an adjustment learning the business part of things. Managing social media was very daunting in the beginning as well.

The biggest challenge I faced was trying not to compare myself to others. At the end of the day, photography is art and no two artists are the same. Once I realized that, I was able to truly create what I myself felt was beautiful and it really helped shape me into the photographer I am today.

My current challenge is trying to manage family time. I try to spend as much time with my daughter and husband as I can but since I work a lot on the weekends, it can be difficult. Thankfully, they are understanding and we make it work.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
I am an award-winning photographer located in San Diego, California. I specialize in maternity, newborn, milestones (3 months, 6 months, 9 months, cake smashes) and family photography. I was voted San Diego’s best photographer this year and that was definitely exciting! I have been voted top 5 best San Diego photographers several years prior.

What I think helps set me apart from others is that my customers deal 100% with me. From booking, to planning the session, to taking the photos, to hand editing everything, and finally to delivering the products. They know who they are dealing with throughout the whole process. I also treat my customers like family rather than clients. I really take my time between photos to get to know each person I am photographing. We laugh so much during the sessions! Everyone always leaves their session relaxed and in such a great mood. They come in a client and leave as a friend. It is truly a blessing.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
San Diego is amazing! There are so many beautiful locations spread throughout that you can achieve almost any look you want. The beach sunsets are always so colorful and beautiful. I also feel like we have some of the nicest people living here. I absolutely love being a photographer here.

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