Laeti first got interested in photography at age 11 or 12, when she saw a photo in her 4-H book.
“It showed this guy who was doing basically an illusion of making it look like he was holding another person up in the air. And I just kept staring at that photo going, “I wouldn't know how to do that.”
But Laeti started exploring the world through a camera on a church trip soon after that. Later, in her twenties, Laeti lived with a roommate who took note of her love for photography. Eventually, Laeti ended up at Minneapolis Community and Technical College, where she studied photography. Her career started with part time gigs here and there. She shot weddings, graduations, and more all while working in everything from retail to a corporate job.
Behind the cubicle at that corporate job, Laeti eventually felt like she was ready to move towards photography full time. But like many people, that transition wasn't something that could happen in a single moment. She waffled on her decision–which makes sense with a such a big move.
“I was still doing the photography on the side, but I felt like ‘I don't want to do this anymore.' And it was that fear of making that jump. ‘Okay. I want to do this full-time. Okay. Wait a minute. Wait, I have this secure job. I shouldn't do that. Okay. No, wait, you should do that.'”
Laeti even had a morning where she woke up and was about to tell her boyfriend that she couldn't continue going to work that day. But she stuck it out, and she made a plan with her partner. For those of you who are just considering going full time in your own businesses, that plan-making is a key component to success.
“I was just starting to feel like, ‘okay, I have this talent. I really love doing this. Why am I still here in this cubicle?' And I said, ‘I think at the end of the year, I need to leave.' And so he's like, ‘Okay, so what's the plan.' So we sat down, we talked about it, we made a budget, we did all of those things.”
She ended up leaving her job earlier than expected. All those years after seeing that photo in the 4-H book, Laeti has figured it out. She's a full time professional photographer that helps couples celebrate love.
Because working for yourself is a lot different than working in corporate America, Laeti has some key moves she makes every day. Firstly, she schedules every day the night before. She puts down everything she wants to accomplish, and she even prints out the schedule.
“And that includes having coffee. I mean, that sounds trivial, but it's like, I'm going to have coffee at this time. I'm going to read for an hour. I'm going to study my Italian for 10 minutes. I meditate. I pray, I write in my grateful book. All of these things happen before I even start my day.”
Laeti's morning routine is impressive: she doesn't let the outside world in before she gives herself personal time first. What this means is not looking at a phone, or the TV, or the newspaper right when she gets up. This sets a healthy, consistent pattern that helps her start her day in a better mood.
“When you first wake up in the morning, if the first thing you do is look at your phone, or you read the newspaper or you watch the news, you're basically giving yourself to the outside world first. That's more important than you taking five minutes to just meditate and relax or five minutes to enjoy that cup of coffee.”
Laeti's biggest piece of advice for new photographers is to not give up. Whether it's people in your life who are telling you it's not going to work or it's your own self doubt, Laeti encourages you to push past it and keep trying. Consistently making an effort, every day, is the name of the game.
“Keep going and you'll get there. I promise.”
Laeti's Contact Info:
Website – https://laetiphotography.com/
Instagram – @laeti_1photography
Pinterest – https://www.pinterest.com/laetiphotography/
Link Tree – 5 tips for couples to prepare for a photo shoot –https://linktr.ee/laetiphotography
I'm a lifestyle photographer in Minneapolis with a focus on couples. “I help couples celebrate love”. Being a Photographer and now a Business owner is the best thing that has ever happened to me. I enjoy the freedom of being my own boss while being able to create images for my clients to cherish forever. My goal is to make clients laugh, have fun, and enjoy their experience with me. I want them to feel so comfortable in front of the camera that they forget that I'm there. That way, I get the most natural poses from them.
I left my Full Time 9:00 – 5:00 Job in the fall of 2019 so that I could focus on my business full-time. Prior to that, I was working on my photography business part time. I became interested in photography in High School. ( side note – my first inkling about photography was when I was 11 or 12 when I saw a photo in my 4-H book and I wanted to learn how to do what the photographer did in the photo ).
My Grandfather gave me my very first camera ( a Kodak 110 camera with horrible blue flash ) to take on a trip to Wisc. Dells. From there, I just kind of played with photography over the years. Using several point and shoot film cameras. Reading lots of books on photography and practicing what I learned with my point and shoot camera. One day, my roommate at the time told me that I should just become a Photographer. I thought, ok, I should do that.
So, from then on, I tried to learn as much as I could. I remember going home on a trip to Rockford, IL to visit my Mom and cousins. One of my cousins ( who was a Photographer at the time, he's retired now ) Frank, were talking about photography when the next thing you know, he's giving me my first 35 mm film camera ( it was a Canon, I'm a Nikon girl now ) a book on photography and a tripod. ( He had an extra tripod he wasn't using, he bought the book at a second hand shop and got the camera at a pawn shop. I still have this camera and it still works )
I shot everything I saw ( and I sucked ). Eventually, I went to MCTC ( Minneapolis Community & Technical College ) and got an Associates Degree in Photography & Digital Imaging. From then on, I did small photo sessions here and there ( graduation photos, engagements, families, a handful of weddings, portraits, a little fashion ).
Now, I’ve moved my focus to couples. I love that I can take my time with couples and really bring to life their love story. It’s something I can’t really do in a wedding because weddings are fast paced. Even though I’ve shot a hand full of weddings and I really enjoyed them, I think I finally found what I’m looking for in shooting couples.