Alvin Samir Yono is an accomplished photographer based out of Maricopa County in Arizona. Specializing in portrait and architectural photography, Alvin brings a high degree of expertise and professionalism to his freelance work. After being inspired by the historical architecture while on a trip to Spain, he was encouraged to establish his own photography business back home. As an avid traveler, Alvin enjoys capturing the unique individuals and experiences he encounters on his journeys.
Where did the idea for your career come from?
After completing my undergrad, I ventured on a three-month trip to Europe, which ultimately led me to establish my freelance business. While in Spain, I was awe-struck by the extent of historical architecture, and I knew right then and there that I needed to start my own business. I was so inspired by both the people and the culture I wanted a permanent outlet for my art.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I consider myself to be a very organized person, so I am always making lists and scheduling out my day accordingly. I try and utilize technology as much as possible, whether it be through computer software or an app on my phone to help organize my thoughts.
How do you bring ideas to life?
Every photographer has a different way about bringing new ideas to life. For me, I like to sit on the idea for a while to make sure I have all of the necessary pieces to execute it properly. I may also obtain feedback from several other artists before establishing a creative plan of action.
What’s one trend that excites you?
I am loving drone photography that has become so popular the last several years. Having an aerial view allows you to take vast amounts of data that can be used to create some of the most beautiful and memorable photographs. They are also safe and easy to use so I can see why a lot of professionals are incorporating them into their services.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
I am all about open communication. I think it is vital to establishing a sense of trust with clients and ensuring everyone is on the same page. I will normally have several meetings with a client before a shoot to finalize details and to make sure I understand their vision.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would likely tell myself to start my business sooner. I am so fortunate that my skill set aligns with my passions and that I am able to pursue my dreams each and every day. I also consider myself to be a very social person, and I enjoy interacting with others on a daily basis. My only regret is that I did not start my business sooner.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
That great photos do not require expensive gear. While high quality equipment certainly helps, taking an amazing shot relies on so much more. Photography is about creating a vision and then coming up with a plan to execute your idea. It requires passion and a genuine love for what it is that you do.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I highly recommend meditation. While this may sound unrelated, it has helped me navigate any obstacles I face in my everyday life. Taking the time to rest my mind has led to enhanced productivity and an improved sense of well-being.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
The COVID-19 pandemic forced me to think outside the box in terms of marketing efforts and services. With an extensive range of government mandates and stay-at-home orders, I had to get creative. I have amplified my social media presence and I now offer free consultations for anyone interested in working with me.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
Failure is a normal part of business and unfortunately it is something that everyone must face sooner or later. Early on in my career I was held back by certain photography myths that stunted me in terms of professional growth. I think confidence comes with experience and I now just trust my own opinion and talents.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
Probably a photos app that allows you to edit your photos without the extensive use of filters. I think a lot of mobile users would like to be able to really play with their images without having to worry about altering the subject.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I recently signed up for a photography subscription box. I love trying new things, so I figured it would be a great way to sample new products.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
I use HoneyBook to book clients and organize my shoots. I receive real time notifications for every new inquiry, and it allows me to track all of my leads.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
For photographers I recommend “The Photographer’s Eye: Composition and Design for Better Digital Photos” by Michael Freeman. This book really helped me come to terms with my own creativity and taught me how to arrange my thoughts and ideas into one cohesive photo.
What is your favorite quote?
“The photo that you took with your camera is the imagination you want to create with reality.”
– Scott Lorenzo
● Trust your instincts when it comes to creating art.
● Confidence comes with experience, so do not lose sight of your goals.
● Do not be afraid to think outside of the box.
Steve (Stefan) Junge hails from Germany and helps with the day-to-day publishing of interviews on IdeaMensch. While he and Mario don’t share a favorite soccer club, their enthusiasm to help entrepreneurs is a shared passion.