Hello, hello! I hope you’re having the most stellar day possible. I’m excited to sprinkle some magic into your day with a Boss Babe Feature. Meet Joy Hmielewski of Joyelan Photography! She’s a destination photographer who recently moved to Tampa Bay from Atlanta. She’s always game for an adventure— especially if it means having the sun on her face and visiting a place she’s never been. Joy is a humanitarian who’s passionate about celebrating special moments & about being completely herself. You should get to know her right now, girl! We had a great time shooting Joy’s video interview at Station House & Vinoy Park. Enjoy her words & stay boss. xx -G
Tell us about yourself and what you do!
I'm a photographer, life long learner, and if I have free time I'm probably outside. I started my business while living in Atlanta and traveling around the world. I've had the opportunity to explore 20 countries and so far my favorites are Guatemala, India, and Thailand. My main photography focus is on weddings and female entrepreneurs, but I have worked with corporate events and non-profits. I enjoy learning about people and capturing their big moments in a way that truly reflects who they are. My style is outgoing, natural and I try to avoid stiff poses. I tend to work with couples who are non-traditional and enjoy an adventure.
How did your business begin?
A lot of long nights, sweat, tears, and crazy experiences. I’ve always loved working with people and learning about what makes them unique. I was in college using photography as a creative outlet when people started to notice my work. I actually quit my teaching program to pursue this business because I knew it may be a rare opportunity. I joined a program for beginner photographers and within a few months I was photographing small weddings. Then it all just happened. I reached out to everyone I knew looking for something fun to photograph. I’ve shot huge 20,000-person corporate events with a team in Vegas, weddings of every ethnicity, portraits, high profile clients, and even had a moment of photojournalism during the Black Lives Matter movement and Presidential Elections. I’ve kind of touched a little of everything through-out the years.
What’s 1 challenge you’ve faced and 1 success you’ve had since you’ve created your business?
A challenge is people pleasing. As a creative person you want to make a product that is ideal for everyone, but some people won't ever be happy. You're not always going to have clients that rave about you all day. The hard part is running into someone that takes their frustrations out on you. You may even get a 3 star review out of it when you tried your best. When I was younger it crushed me if someone questioned my images, but learning to separate myself from my work has been helpful and not trying to fit into the same box as everyone else has set me apart.
A big success for me has been getting photography jobs in other countries. It was this dream of mine that I thought was far-fetched, but still fun to think about. My first out of country job was a wedding in Mexico and it kept going from there. In two weeks, I’m scheduled to go on a cruise with a company to the Grand Cayman.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received and has it come in handy for you?
“You’ll cross that bridge when you get to it.” My dad used to tell me that a lot. It’s a good reminder that even when things seem like they’re slow or you’re not sure how you will handle that big event – you will figure it out when you get there. Don’t forget to enjoy the moment that you’re in.
When are you at your happiest?
When I’m exploring a new beautiful place. I love photography and being a photographer, but I like to refresh my mind. I get inspiration from going somewhere that I don't know much about and learning something new. Going off the grid for a few days and looking at things from a new perspective.
What do you tell yourself when things get difficult?
“Just keep going.” I actually say that out loud to myself once in a while. No matter how difficult something is I try not to be stagnant. I try not to sit in the sorrow too long without moving. You’ll never get anywhere if you don’t have forward momentum. Some days that is really hard to do, but just take a tiny step and do anything to keep going in the right direction.
What are you grateful for?
Every single person who has helped me accomplish my dreams. It’s been a team effort. Most people have no idea that they had any part of this. The people who mentored me, friends who trusted me with their weddings, friends that talked me through tough times, my fiancé who gives me the space to create and awesome motivational speeches. Seriously, I know this would have never been anything other than a day dream without every single person along the way that somehow pushed me a little further. I’m grateful for everything I have accomplished in my business over the past few years.
What’s 1 personal goal and 1 business goal you plan to accomplish this year?
A personal goal is keep learning and keep growing. A business goal is to get established in the Tampa Bay area.
Where can you be found on a Tuesday afternoon?
Probably editing photos, meeting with clients, or hanging out with our dog Millie.
Where can we find you on a Friday evening?
Either with friends at a brewery, prepping for a wedding, or with my fiancé.
Where can you be found on a Sunday morning?
Drinking a coffee and reading a book.
Finish these sentences:
I love: Tacos. :)
I’m always looking for: ways to improve myself.
My inspiration is: found in the most unexpected moments.
I’ll never: regret pursuing my passions in life.