Interview with Elisabetta of Lilly Red

August 14, 2020

Kortni- She has the best energy! If you are every having a bad day just watch her stories!

Jamie- Tell everyone how you got started in your business and where you are focusing on now/

Lilly- Lets talk business in Italy – which is going to be amazing! I am so excited for Italy and Evolve! I’m excited for the opportunity or everyone to learn and grow. There is nothing better than talking business over a pasta dish or gelato. 

I’m Lilly and I started my business in 2013 in Italy. I didn’t know what I wanted to become, just that I wanted to be a photographer.About which kind of photography I didn’t know. I was an assistant in commercial photography company and it was a good place to learn English. Everything was good for me to learn. And then I moved out of the country. I was inspired by culture and people around, I went outside my comfort zone of Lake Como. It was fantastic.  When a friend asked since I was a photographer why I don’t come photograph his wedding in Italy?! I said I wasn’t a wedding photographer but he said no, you can and do it. I went to photograph the wedding with no experience! And I came back and decided I wanted to be a wedding photographer and my husband said, “Let’s do it!” and gave me great support. I wasn’t as strong then and was very insecure and he said, “If you want to be a wedding photographer no one is going to stop you except you.”I did my first wedding back in 2013 and in 2014 was back in Lake Como.

And this year I figured out what I didn’t want to be. And that was working with one photographer that wanted me to work in his style, but it wasn’t mine. He wanted to force me to be the person I wasn’t. 

A tip: Go and work with a photographer that you feel like you feel you connect with, not just any type.  And then I moved to San Francisco and become second photographer here in 2015 and realized when you work with people that allow you to be who you want to be, that is a completely different story. I was assisting here to understand how weddings work here because inItaly they are more traditional. I start to be with my portfolio here with weddings from Craigslist because I didn’t know how to find weddings. And now you think, “What!? Craigslist?” but those first two wedding were not bad actually! They were full of flowers and beautiful, and they didn’t even pay me but did pay for the flowers. I was like, “Okay.” But those few weddings gave me the opportunity to put photos on my website in San Francisco. I started 2016with 30 weddings and I was so excited, and in the end I wasn’t happy. I was finally making some money which was good but I wasn’t happy with the kind of wedding I was attracting. So I thought There was something wrong with me or I wanted something else for me. So I took that year to build the portfolio of the weddings I did want to attract. I did shooting, styled shooting in Italy and inMexico (which completely changed the type of client I wanted with a boutique hotel and fashion) and realized that is what I want! That is what I am dreaming for my 2018! And that year was the wedding explosion! We traveled from April until December from Mexico, Morocco, Dubai, Italy! I photographed a wedding inMexico and Justin Timberlake was there who was one of the groomsmen. And was telling him how to pose. Don’t lose any opportunity because amazing stuff will come your way. I hit the goal I wanted. I realized with all the travel is that putting in hard work and not giving up really brings you where you want. We realize we can do anything without crying over ourselves. But I do still cry sometimes like all of us. I did the hard part, the painful part is almost done(because I thought it was easy), now I want to share with everyone that they can do it! If I did it than anyone can do it, with my broken English andItalian accent. Everyone has a different story. I was comparing myself with successful photographers so I had to tell myself I couldn’t do that. But I want see myself right there. Work hard and never give up.

J – Your work has transformed so much in the 2 years since we have started talking. Your images are so beautiful, high fashion, and editorial and you are totally attracting your dream clients. 

E- I love fashion and feel sorry for my husband! 

J- What would you tell people when they are first starting out, your best tip and how to get going?

E-I feel like there is something that nobody is talking about for starting your business. First thing, you have to believe in yourself and it’s easy to give up on stuff. You have to be strong and believe in yourself. You’re not born with it. Hard moments will come and you know if you believe in yourself you can do it. And if you still can’t believe, surround yourself with people that will support you. I remember my friend saying, “If you give up you don’t even give yourself the chance to succeed!” Even just one person who believe in you. Like you Jamie and Kortni have done, you’ve created a group that supports each other and doesn’t allow for competition. And don’t compare yourself. The comparison game can really bring you down. Everyone has a different way they started. It’s easy to do, when you go down this road turnoff your phone, go outside, cook, bake, for me it’s baking, it’s a fantastic way to get rid of the comparison game. Last one I want to say is don’t be afraid to fail. Where I am from in Italy, my dad said if you fail then it’s not for you and do something else. When I came to the US, Thank you America, if you fail you learn from the mistake and try again! Thank you America for that! 

J – I am so excited for us to sit down in Italy with theEuro Tour attendees and talk business!

E-It’s going to be so much of fun. I feel like when you’ve visited another country you feel so much stronger! So tell yourself wow and clap for yourself and go! Take our hands (Elisabetta, Jamie and Kortni) and let’s go to Italy together! 

J- And we try to make it easy for everyone that their transportation is taken care of, Lilly’s there helping us to know the culture and where to eat, and in the middle of all of that there is the amazing education and ridiculously styled shoots and the mood boards are live today!And Lilly will be leading a shoot and model in a shoot!

Last question, how do you market yourself for destinations? Any tips?

E-Content. Create Content. If you want to be a destination photographer tell your audience that you are willing to travel. And people will see from your content what they will get from you. Create content. Content, content, content. 

K-That is why we created the European Tour for the people that want to be a world traveling photographer and have these shoots set up for them. They just have to come and shoot and then they have that for their portfolio. 

E- Do you know how hard it is to organize a shoot in another country?! It’s so easy to show up and have it already set up. It’s perfect for the photographers that are coming to the Evolve Workshops Euro Tour and build their portfolio and content.

J – We actually brought on Rachel Allen Events who does destination weddings and she is doing all the styling flying couture gowns and renting the Italian cars and it’s going to be amazing! What she is creating is amazing!

E – She creates great content, she is an amazing wedding planner, all the attendees have to focus on is the couple and getting all the amazing detail. I feel like today so much attention is giving to the wedding dress and so it’s important to know how to photograph the wedding dress. The best thing about this job is that it’s never the same thing.

For more about Lilly and her awesome photography visit her website here: https://www.lillyred.it/about/