Interview with Pennie Collinson
Coeur d’ Alene Photography LLC

AC: Tell us about your business.
PC: After spending many years at Sears portrait studio in CDA and Spokane Valley, I decided to start my own photography business. My dad is a photographer in California, and at 6 years old I started using a camera. The employment at Sears and my own photography business overlapped for a few years until I was able to get out on my own. I started my business in 2003.
AC: Who is your target customer?
PC: Pretty much everybodya when you’re trained in photography – like Sears, you’re trained to photograph anyone. I have shot everything from weddings to the 2012 US Olympic trials for women’s boxing at Quest Casino! I also do free photography for many non-profit organizations such as The Children’s Village and Citizens of Idaho Against Domestic Animal Abuse.
AC: What has been the greatest impact of covid-19 on your business?
PC: A lot! When covid happened a church reached out to me and formed a group to go out and do Porch photography for free. That was fun! A lot of events I normally shoot were canceled and I lost thousands of dollars from that.
AC: What are one or two actions you have taken to make a difference?
PC: I used Wedding Wire, and a lot of people are doing outside weddings, so I have been able to help some of those people do wedding photos. Also, with family photos, we are distanced so I’m able to give people that memory that they needed. For business headshots, I‘m able to do those outside against a whitewashed wall.

 AC: What is one mistake you have made along the way that other people can learn from?
PC: Watch your words! A lot of people will take words and comments and make them into something they weren’t meant to be. You have to be careful about what you say. It can be difficult but keep things business-related. Keep your friends close and talk to them, but with business connections, keep things professional. You have to separate business from personal. Another mistake I’ve seen is not having all the paperwork, preparations, and insurance in place before you start taking in clients.

AC: What is inspiring to you today?
PC: Breathing! Waking up every day knowing I’m still alive! My family, pets, and friends are important to me! I like to make people happy while helping them.

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Pennie Collinson