Maddie Peschong and I “met” on Instagram, and I was immediately drawn to her authentic and hilarious Instagram Stories about being a working mom. When I viewed her work as a photographer, though, I knew that while Maddie is certainly remarkable (she’s a total #girlboss at just 27 years old) and a true gem, her work truly is as well. Plus, she loves a good Cabernet – she’s my kind of gal. Meet Maddie, everyone!
As a bonus, make sure you read through to the end of this post to view a coupon code for Maddie’s Lightroom Presets, EXCLUSIVELY for What Sara Said readers!
Introduce yourself! Why are you a storyteller? Why do you feel called to share your stories (or the stories of others) in your work?
Hi! I’m Maddie. I’m a photographer based out of Sioux Falls, and I photograph weddings, seniors, families, and also shoot brand photography for businesses and bloggers around the greater Sioux Falls area.
Anytime I photograph, I’m looking through the lens of a storyteller. I’m tasked with capturing people or businesses at a particular time of life. I’m telling the story of where they are right now. I try to remind myself to step back, to act like a fly on the wall, to watch it all unfold and to capture interactions just as they are. I want to tell a family’s story, a couple’s story, for them and for posterity – to capture a moment in time.
When I’m working with a brand, I’m hired to make the business owner’s job easier – at the end of the day, each business owner wants to sell something, and it’s important to listen to a business owner to uncover who they are as a business and what story they are hoping to tell through their photos.
What medium do you create within (i.e. photography, poetry, songwriting, fashion, blogging, etc.), and why?
As a photographer, I still think it’s hilarious that I’m working in what’s considered a creative field, because in high school, I hated art class. HATED it. I just didn’t see the point! I couldn’t uncover the purpose of creating whatever art project was assigned.
Later, when I was a communications and journalism major in college, I discovered graphic design. While I wouldn’t say that I’m a graphic designer, for there are others in the business that I respect much more for their design talents, graphic design was something that make much more sense to me – finally, I was creating art for a purpose, to achieve a goal.
But after I began pursuing a photography career, I realized quickly that people connect with stories on another level than they do with marketing or with a brand’s cool logo. Photos that tell a story, whether the images make people think back about their childhood or wedding, or think ahead about what kind of parents or business they want to be – that’s the magic bullet.
What have you learned thus far about business or creativity that you’d like readers to know?
Every project that you deliver to a client won’t be an A+. While everyone typically has each other’s best interests in mind, sometimes it’s not until a brand sees what they DON’T want that they know what they DO want. It’s important to have conversations with repeat clients, whether it’s a family or a brand, to brainstorm what could we do next time. If the brand wants to tell a story through images that evoke light, we need to schedule a shoot in the morning to capture the natural light in the photos. Sometimes, we can’t adjust until we know what didn’t work the first time.
In my industry, a lot of people shooting photography as a side hustle think they should charge less. I don’t agree, and the reasons why became more clear to me when I took my business full-time last year. I’ve seen a lot of people in my industry move to shooting photography full-time, and they increase their prices astronomically when they make that move. Their clients are shocked, and there’s the potential for a lot of backlash.
If you’re hired to provide a service, and that service takes you away from your kids, you have to be making enough money to justify that time away from what matters to you. I’m so, so passionate about pricing yourself how you need to be priced if you were doing this full-time. It’s important to know your numbers – how many sessions do you need to shoot per week? Per month? How will each session contribute to your yearly salary?
Don’t be afraid to ask for help, either. I just hired an assistant for five hours per week, and she’s awesome. If she can do smaller tasks and take them off my plate, I have more time to do what only I can do, and that’s worth the investment.
Where are you headed? What’s next for you in sharing your stories?
I will always believe in investing in the power of good, professional photos, but at the same time, I understand that scheduling sessions every few months is not in everyone’s budget. I’ve recently launched a few collections of Lightroom Presets, which are designed with the intention of helping women to tell their stories. I want women to feel empowered to take their own photos and feel confident in their ability to take a quality photo. I have a Facebook group exclusively for people who have purchased my presets, and it fires me up to see women posting before-and-after shots in that group and feeling confident in using the presets and sharing their editing process. I hope this year to offer in-person or online courses on using a DSLR camera to continue to demystify this for more women.
Eventually, I’d love to work directly with creative female entrepreneurs to help them to make money and to price for profit. There are so many things that feel like they’re against the working mom, and I want women to know that they totally can do it. No woman can do it all, but every woman deserves to work and to feel like a human and to be a kickass mom. I have such a heart for empowering women.
How can readers connect with you?
EXCLUSIVE COUPON CODE FOR WHAT SARA SAID READERS!
Please visit Maddie’s online shop by clicking here, and be sure to apply the following coupon code for 15 percent off a Lightroom Presents purchase! This code is good through the end of February. Thanks, Maddie!