Growing up, I have had the privilege to have been friends with some very creative and talented people. I mean someone I used to share the stage with performed at the Tony’s last night and was nominated for Best Actor! I have a handful of friends who have gone on to become DJs, actors, writers, filmmakers, artists, and dancers. As a creative person myself, I have always felt a kinship with these friends as we were all on the same page, trying to make the impossible possible and just do the things we love. I find it that whenever any of us have a bit of success, I always reach out to them or vice versa and it has been so wonderful to have that support system through the years. My very talented and beautiful friend Quianna is one of them.
I will first give you an introduction to Quianna as someone who has known her for over half her life. She is simply a light. She’s authentic, funny, positive, and just a sweetheart. She has this wonderful, infectious laugh, is so encouraging and beautiful on the in and outside. She has been a gem of a friend and just an amazing person to be around.
I remember Quianna getting into photography around the same time I was in Los Angeles auditioning. She took some new headshots for me that could be used for her portfolio. It was a fun day as two childhood friends tried to help each other out by trying to give each other an opportunity that would mutually help them reach their dreams.
Fast forward years later, I am not quite the actress and singer I dreamed up (give me time people!) but I am still writing which is another creative aspiration (you never regret trying) of mine and Quianna is a talented wedding photographer, just killin’ it with her own business! Again, we find ourselves a bit more successful but still looking for great opportunities so we decided to combine forces yet again, this time on a bigger scale, and collaborate!
Quianna and I did a photoshoot in my neighborhood and she gave me the opportunity to have some great photo content for my blog which as we know, goes along way. (You may notice some newer, fancy shots on my “About” page, sidebar, and Instagram account- lots more to come too!) I usually have my patient and wonderful family and close friends snap my pics according to my direction but it was nice to have a lil professional in there dictating my poses so I could just move and have fun!
Quianna’s true element is capturing weddings these days. That is what she loves and she is phenomenal at it. You have to check out her website for her work here. Her images are stunning and it has been so much fun watching her grow into her craft. She has such a zest and passion for what she does and it really feels like a blessing to watch. I love following her career and had so much fun catching up and shooting with her!
So without futher adieu… please allow me to introduce you to my dear friend Quianna…..
Name: Quianna Marie Sanchez
School: Leland High/ San Jose State University (BA: Arts and Humanities with Studio Practice Photography)
Hometown: New Almaden, CA (San Jose)
Tell me a bit about yourself…
What first got you interested in photography?
To be honest my interest in photography started at a very young age, but I fell in love with photography in high school. Growing up in a wealthy area I didn’t have the money to keep up with expensive birthday gifts like my friends. Each year on our birthdays our friends would bring a huge bouquet of balloons, plaster pictures and posters down the halls, even bake a sheet cake of confetti cake to share! In addition to all of this, lavish gifts like Tiffany’s bracelets, Abercrombe and Fitch clothing, gift cards, you name it were gifted! I just couldn’t keep up. So throughout the year I would take pictures! Fun rallies, football games, dances and events… I would shoot it all! Then when it was a friend’s birthday I would print a picture for about $0.10, buy a frame from the dollar store and gift a cute target bag and tissue paper all for under $8.00! The looks on my friend’s faces were priceless and quickly I knew I was on to something… Capturing memories was what truly made me happy and to think these pictures meant more than the expensive gifts made it even more meaningful.
What do you love to shoot the most?
I love to shoot love. This may encompass so many things, but truly love is my favorite! Weddings are my specialty and I enjoy capturing love stories the most.
What are you most inspired by?
Country music. This may sound silly, but country music reminds me of my childhood and makes me feel warm and fuzzy. The lyrics share many of my same values of hard work, love and confidence. It just brings a smile to my face and I often edit while watching the CMT Country Countdown!
What has been your favorite shoot to date?
One of my all time favorite weddings was a destination wedding in Cabo! This was one of the first weddings when I thought, “I made it! This is THE LIFE!” A sweet couple and dear friends of ours booked me well over a year in advance to make sure I was available and I remember vividly thinking this was the life I wanted. A life full of travels and fun memories. Plus Thomas, my boyfriend was able to join as well! He has always supported me, but I think this experience was an eye opener to the opportunities photography can bring to our future!
N/A – I seriously can’t think of a shoot that I was laughing out loud about! That’s a tough one!!
I have many, but one of my all time favorites was a fundraiser shoot that we put on to help raise money for my little cousin Liam! At the wee age of one our little warrior was diagnosed with Leukemia. When we got the devastating news our family felt helpless as there really wasn’t anything that we could do. We couldn’t even cook for him because of his special diet! So… I planned a day at the park to offer donation only photo sessions and together we raised over $2,000 for his medical bills!!! That was one for the books! Today Liam is strong, healthy and giving his Mama a run for the money in his terrible two’s, CANCER FREE!
Love for Liam
Believe it or not the most recent shoot was really stressful! The night before the shoot I had no models and was scrambling to find bodies willing to help! We almost had to reschedule! That was not option as the next available date would be three weeks later and our florist was already booked and working her magic! Luckily, two dear friends were available and everything came together seamlessly! Would you believe that I found this bridal gown at The Goodwill for $39.00 the morning of the shoot?! Yes, I even stopped by Forever21 to pick up a couple extra white summer dresses in case it didn’t fit the model! Phew! Once it started coming together my nerves settled and we nailed it! When there is a will there is a way! #makeithappen
What have you learned the most since starting your own business?
I have learned that dreams really do come true. However, I am running a business behind the computer and on my phone way more than I am holding my camera! Paper work, social media, contracts, insurance, stuff like that keeps me busy and is not as glamorous as you may think!
What advice would you give to aspiring photographers?
Keep shooting! Also, get out there. Say hello, open the doors for someone, be friendly and pay it forward. There is so much competition in our industry, but if you stay kind and stay true to you, you will demolish the competition because no one else can be you! Also, keep in mind that if you would do this job for free it may be a job for you with a prosperous career. However, if you are in this for the money… run and find something else! Heart takes you farther than anything.
What goals have you set for yourself in your career?
I have one goal for next year… to book a wedding in Italy! I also have goals of getting published to wedding blogs and magazines, sharing my work around the world!
Where do you hope to be in 5 years?
In five years I hope to have my very own wedding venue up and running! I just need dirt, an address, water and electricity to get a venue started! Eventually adding a glass roof top to host events rain or shine and to have several barns filled with vintage goodies and furniture! (Insert Joanna Gaines style, here!) I love entertaining and would truly enjoy hosting retreats, weddings and events in a safe place, with a view and the ability to play loud music until the sun rises!
Get to know Quianna:
•Coffee or tea? Iced Coffee with cream and sugar and carmel!
•Favorite Movie? A League of Their Own
•Favorite Book? One for the Money Series by Janet Evanovich (This series keeps my laughing out loud!)
•Favorite Famous Picture? Eisenstaedt’s image from Times Square. Everything about this photo captures love and America!
•Favorite Food? Bacon, fried eggs, and potatoes! Breakfast anytime of the day!
•If you could have lunch with one woman who would it be and what would you order? Jasmine Star with an order of wine.
•Favorite sports team? San Francisco 49’ers… but honestly I just watch them for the commercials and an excuse to make snacks!
•Best advice you have ever received?
I have a couple…
Salt your pasta water to taste like the sea. – Nani
Never stop working for what you prayed for. (Unknown)
Learn more about Quianna on her website. Check out her Instagram and feel free to reach out with questions! I know she’s love to hear from you with her photography needs and I would love to see the results as I love nothing more than looking at pictures of beautiful events! :o) Also, keep a look out for some cute looks coming at ya soon taken by none other than this talented lady!