Describe your business
We are a real estate photography company. We offer videography, aerial photography, headshots, portraits, and more— a 3d tour with a special camera that helps clients tour the house virtually.
Where are you originally from?
Both my husband and I are from San Leandro then moved to Mountain House in 2004. Our son was starting kindergarten, and we wanted to be at a place for family. Mountain House was beginning to become a community for families, so we decided to move here.
What made you decide to open this business?
We started in 2018 when my husband got laid off from AT&T. He worked there for 18 years. He wanted to avoid returning to a corporate, but he was interested in photography and wanted to return to it. He wondered what kind of photography he wanted to do, such as for events or just for fun. I was working in real estate for a brokerage, and I asked if he wanted to start doing a real estate photography business.
How did you get started?
We looked at all the open homes and talked to the real estate agents. We tried to get clients by seeing what listings were about to sell and emailed the real estate agents. We also met people through open homes. We started growing clients through referrals, our Google business pages, and those who remembered emails back then.
Why did you choose this profession?
My husband wanted to do something that was his hobby. We did not want to work for others, but we also knew we wanted to avoid competing with the younger generation. I am in the real estate industry and decided that we should do something for people who still need it and not be a seasonal thing. Real estate is an everyday thing. We are not just trying to help sell the home but also to help the real estate agents. Photography is a marketing tool for agents, allowing clients to see why they should be the agent to go to.
What drives you to do what you do? What motivates you?
Our business motivates and drives us because it encourages us to succeed since we are working for ourselves. We are in the customer service industry, so we want to help others grow their businesses. Motivates them and us to move forward.
What has surprised you most when owning a business?
Owning a business is a lot of hard work. It is different from when you work for a company. You’re not just the owner but also the employee. You are everything. Many people want to help see you grow, so it wasn’t as difficult to start when you think of it. There is a significant change from seeing how many clients you had back then to how many clients you have now.
What was it like when you first started?
It was hard when we first started. We were trying to get out there, and there are a lot of photographers, so figuring out how to separate us from others took a lot of work. Once they became our clients, they realized anyone could take pictures, but the difference is that we have that customer service background, and we treat everyone like family. We are always making sure that the service we provide not only sells the house but also sells the real estate agent. We act like it is our house and sell the best value for our clients.
What would your customers say they love most about your business?
Our customers love that we are a family-owned business—a husband and wife team. Our sons are a part of it as well. We are not like a corporation since it is just me, my husband, and our sons when they can help.
What professional photographers have influenced your work, and how do you incorporate their techniques into your photographs?
My husband watches a lot of real estate photographers and gets a lot of tips from them on the best lighting exteriors and the best time of day, depending on where the house is facing. If he takes a picture facing a certain way, will it cause harsh lines or shadows.
What are your goals over the next year?
Our goal is to continue to grow, and we want to grow more locally here in Mountain House. Most clients are from the bay, but it would be nice if we could grow more in our local area.
What are your greatest challenges?
Our greatest challenge is getting out there and trying to separate ourselves from competitors and get it across to potential clients. Even real estate agents can take pictures, but how do we show them why it’s important to get professional photographers? We are trying to distinguish our company and why they should go with us and not use their apps or phones.
How long have you lived in the neighborhood?
We have lived in the neighborhood since 2004.
What were the factors that made you choose this neighborhood?
Growing up in San Leandro wasn’t the same when having kids. It wasn’t as safe as it was. Mountain House was up and coming, showing it was a place for the community and young families to raise children and grow their families.
What do you love most about the neighborhood?
I love that it is quiet and family oriented. Plus, the community always looks out for each other.
What are some of the highest highs you’ve had in life so far?
Some of my highest highs are knowing that my kids are doing well. My oldest graduated college, and my youngest is starting his own business. They are both thriving and motivated to get out there.
What are some of the lowest lows you’ve had in life so far? And what got you through it?
Our lowest lows would be when my husband lost his job. And I recently lost my job after 12 years of working for the company. Losing loved ones is hard as well.
What is your most memorable customer experience?
Memorable experiences are knowing when the customer really appreciates the service that you have provided them.
What else do you do besides work?
Besides work, I like to exercise and hang out with my family and friends.
What is the best way for customers to contact you?
What’s one memory from your childhood that stands out to you?
One memory from my childhood that stands out to me was Christmas when I received my first walkman. I was so excited.
What does the future hold for you?
I don’t know what the future holds for me, but I hope it’s something positive for our business to continue to grow and flourish. As well as for my family to be blessed and have good health.
If a young person asked you for advice on how to live their life, what would you tell them?
Be honest, be humble, and don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Mistakes are only lessons learned. Don’t ever think you have to please anyone. We are always looking out for what people think of us and have to cater to how they will feel and our expectations. Be true to yourself as long as you are not hurting anyone. Find people who love you for who you really are and will always be there for you no matter what and will be there with you for your highs and lows.
When your life is over, how do you want to be remembered?
When my life is over, I want to be remembered for being kind and loving and someone who gave her all in serving others and helping them. And I left a legacy with my children and raised them well. Those are the sons of Danamer. She raised them well.