Cyndi Araujo – Owner of Araujo Photography

I think you have to find what works for you and repeat. No matter what it is, if it works do it again and again until it doesn’t.

Cyndi Araujo hails from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She attended school at Slippery Rock University majoring in Business. While at Slippery Rock, Cyndi refined her interests in Dance and The Arts, primarily photography.

After graduating she started a career in travel with USAirways (now American Airlines) as a flight attendant. It was here that she met her future husband Tony Araujo. Her interest in photography continued to grow as she enjoyed capturing images from around the world.

Together with her husband Tony, she eventually started their Pittsburgh Wedding Photography business, Araujo Photography. For over 15 years she has happily captured wedding memories for couples in love in Pittsburgh, as well as New York, The Bahamas and Italy.

Where did the idea for Araujo Photography come from?

After college I was extremely lucky to land one of the most fun jobs ever as an international flight attendant. But after many years, even travels to exciting places can get a bit old. I started to think about a career in photography as a way to do something I really enjoyed while being able to stay home at the same time.

I started slowly by photographing my friends weddings in black in white film. After a few of those, I started working as a second shooter for one of the popular wedding photographers in Pittsburgh. There was a bit of a challenge at first as I had to transition to the new world of digital photography, but it was an extremely gratifying time and I learned a lot.

My husband Tony had a strong background in computers and information systems. So when digital cameras got to the point of having viable commercial usage, he started to help more and more.

My husband Tony had a strong background in computers and information systems. So when digital cameras got to the point of having viable commercial usage, he started to help more and more.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

There really is no typical day. It’s always different but that’s a good thing. Here are things I’m usually occupied with on any given day, but in no specific order:
• Answering emails, meetings and following ups with potential clients.
• Helping a client plan her wedding day as it pertains to their photography timeline. We are lucky in that our clients typically put a huge priority on their pictures.
• Scouting new photo locations.
• Editing new wedding pictures.
• Creating blog posts of recent weddings.
• Creating proof books, online galleries, hand-crafted wedding albums.
And I handle all of the not-so-fun stuff such as bookkeeping and bill paying. It’s amazing how so little time is spent actually making pictures!

How do you bring ideas to life?

Way before I pick up my camera, I have talked extensively with my client about her wedding day. What colors will she use? Theme? What does her dress look like? How is she going to wear her hair? All along the way, I’m creating a picture in my head. It’s not a conscious thing, it just happens…a picture just takes shape.

What’s one trend that really excites you?

Film photography is making a bit of a comeback. It’s a bit of a niche thing but I’m thinking about going back to it. Not completely, though. It’s a digital world.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

I’m always working. And I mean ALWAYS. Always thinking, always planning. I start my day on my smart phone before I even get out of bed! And I end the day the same way.

What was the worst job you ever had and what did you learn from it?

I loved being a flight attendant and that was my favorite job. But it’s funny, after many years I started to dread that very same job. I got to the point where I felt like I’d seen and done most everything I could ever dream of and after a point I wanted nothing more than to stay home!

If you were to start again, what would you do differently?

Move to Italy!

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Well the answer is sort of contained within the question. Over and Over…I think you have to find what works for you and repeat. No matter what it is, if it works do it again and again until it doesn’t.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business? Please explain how.

We like to maintain relationships. Relationships with clients. We often shoot a clients wedding, then a pregnancy shoot, then new born session, then annual sessions…all for the same client. We kind of grow up with their family.
Also relationships with other wedding pros. You’ve got to network and stay connected.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I’m sorry, what is this thing you call “failure”?!

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

Well, Tony had an idea for an invention many years ago. We both love our sleep. We are not morning people. We might work seven days a week until 8 or 9 at night, but please don’t make me set my alarm clock!

Anyway, Tony thought that waking up early might be easier if alarm clocks weren’t so darn hateful. I mean you go from your deepest, most peaceful state straight to wide awake in the space of 5 seconds! That’s just plain wrong!
So he thought that if an alarm clock could start making a pretty sound really, really softly. Like so softly that you really couldn’t even hear it at first. But then got gradually louder over time…maybe it would pull you out of your sleep in a less jarring fashion. Genius, right?

One day, years later, we were looking through a Sharper Image catalog and guess what we saw advertised? I swear we thought of it first!!

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

Easy. Last night at La Tavola with Tony and my mom and dad.

What software and web services do you use? What do you love about them?

Obviously Photoshop. Also Can’t say I love them, though…they are tools. No wait, I do love Photoshop…it’s like magic.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

When I retire I will give you book recommendations.

What people have influenced your thinking and might be of interest to others?

Albert Einstein, Thomas Edison, Carl Lewis, Bill Clinton, Mister Rogers, Ozzy Osbourne, Ghandi, Morrissey, Ingrid Newkirk, Mike Tyson, Rosa Parks, Leo Tolstoy and Leonardo da Vinci….all vegetarians.


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