Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in photography but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Shaun Cunningham, Founder of CreateShaun, located in Boston, MA, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

My business is visual communication production and strategy, and my primary medium is photography. My customers are:

  1. Models looking to build their portfolios via comp cards, digitals, and fashion photo shoots.
  2. Brands looking to advertise via editorial, lifestyle, and product photography.
  3. Organizations looking to showcase the culture and promote their events via event photography.
  4. Families and individuals looking to freeze memories like maternity photoshoots, baby showers, family portraits, graduations, etc.

Tell us about yourself

I'm a queer, black Taurus from Boston, MA. Since childhood, I have had a knack for art, music, and cameras. I've always been a deep, abstract thinker that needed to externalize my ideas. I love to channel themes of nature, dreams, beauty, shameless vanity, and societal commentary. My creative career was conceived out of chance. Working closely with my cousin who needed visuals for her brand, I seized the opportunity and filled in the gaps by spending 1000s of hours on YouTube, Google, Skillshare, Reddit, etc., teaching the fundamentals of creative direction, photography, lighting, composition, retouching, etc.

I'm motivated to continue to do what I do every day to prove to my younger self that I did not have to sell out to be successful. I knew from a young age I had to be my own boss because of my tendency to challenge authority and my need for an agency. I had an inclination that a typical 9-5 would not suit me, and I confirmed the incompatibility once I entered the corporate workforce. The idea of spending my life working in an unfulfilling role for someone else's dream gives me enough fuel to keep going.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment as a business owner was being featured in PhotoVogue. This specific shoot was my first since the pandemic and lockdown. Prior, I had been gaining momentum while improving as a photographer and business owner, then was hit hard once collaboration had to stop. It felt like a sign from the universe that I was moving in the right direction, and my skills were validated.

What's one of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner?

One of the hardest things that comes with being a business owner is juggling the day-to-day minutia of adult life. When you're so caught up on chasing your vision, perfecting your craft, socializing, and grinding, it can be hard to slow down and focus on the not-so-glamourous aspect of life like chores, jury duty, mail, and administration.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Learn how to solicit, receive, and apply constructive feedback.
  2. Outsource to an expert, i.e., hire a lawyer to draft/review contracts.
  3. Create authentic relationships with like-minded people and people successful in your industry.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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