Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in photography but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Rielynn Lunde, Founder of Eye of Rie Photography & Tintype, located in Gardnerville, NV, USA.

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

I am a photographer that specializes in 1800’s tintypes.  I work in the process of creating lasting tintypes and ambrotypes that will last for hundreds of years!  The art of tintypes dates back to the mid-early 1800’s and is a form of photography that is very tactile.  My chemical recipes are the same as what they used back in history, and I create a unique, one-of-a-kind heirloom photo that will last forever.  I am the only one offering this in my area, and so far, people are absolutely amazed at the process, and it is truly magical!

Tell us about yourself

I’ve dabbled in photography since college and also love Western art.  I love to shoot anything to do with the wild West!  I have always loved photography and am self-taught, but I have only been offering tintypes to the public for about two years.  I was totally enthralled with the process when I saw a National Geographic artist working with tintypes, and there was something so mysterious and fascinating that I knew I had to try it!  I signed up for a day class years ago and was completely hooked!

I first started doing tintypes in a friend’s laundry room, graduated to my garage, and then realized that I needed to actually find a local space to work out of.  I love the fact that I am doing something that is not only preserving history by keeping this art form alive, but I’m able to educate people about this unique form of art and take them back to the 1800’s.  It is cool to say that I’m the only one in my area doing it, and that makes it fun!  This method of photography keeps me on my toes because it is very involved, so the challenge is alluring to me, along with how special each and every tintype plate is.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

I feel a huge accomplishment to not only get a grasp on tintypes (because it is an extremely challenging process) but to step out and actually offer it to our community and surrounding area.  I feel pride knowing that I am preserving history and preserving the experience of a tangible experience vs. just another digital picture session.

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

The hardest thing is wearing all of the hats.  I am a solo business owner, so I am in charge of the website, maintenance, marketing, and business details, along with scheduling sessions, making sure my chemistry is properly maintained, and giving my customer an outstanding experience from beginning to end.  Often, I would just like to create art, but there is so much that goes into being a thriving artistry business.

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

  1. I feel like running a business takes patience and an overall work-horse mindset.  You must be willing to make sacrifices to pour in time, read books, get good advice, seek wisdom, and be brave to take calculated risks.
  2. Having a mindset to serve people before the money is critical.  In other words, people matter more than money at the end of the day.  I believe God will bless what you dedicate to him.
  3. Read books, join groups, ask questions, and always be a student yourself!

Where can people find you and your business?

Instagram(Digital artistry):
Instagram(Dog portraiture):

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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