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Meet Ty Acierto of Prudence Photography in West Chicago

Today we’d like to introduce you to Ty Acierto.

Ty, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
I was assigned by my manager to cater a party for an event. I have been waiting tables for about six years at that time. There, I saw a photographer who was covering the event. He was a friendly young man who snapped photos with passion. He approached me and asked for a bottled water. I then proceeded to casually ask if he likes Photography, he says “I don’t, I love it! You like what you’re doing too right?” I uttered a fake “Yes” with a grin on my face that wouldn’t pass a high school class acting. I never really had the nerve to use my photography skills as a career, after all I graduated with a degree in Film and Video at Columbia College of Chicago- And what the heck was I doing with my degree? There I was tossing salad and serving food when I could be doing what I should be doing. I’m not ashamed to have wait tables, it paid for my school. It’s just that I felt so comfortable doing it that I neglect to even consider the possibility of utilizing the degree I endeavored to finish. And so, I caught the young photographer again on the way out the door. There was a certain calm in him, peaceful yet in control, confident but not in a cocky way. He shook my hand and handed me a business card. During our brief chat, I found out he was a fellow Columbia Alumni, graduated on the same year I did. It was a wake-up call. I saved up enough money to purchase my first professional camera and I advertised my services online. It was tough, no one would hire me. I had no solid portfolio. I took gigs for free and slowly I built my portfolio from there. The first “paid” photography gig I took was a family event. A birthday party. The mother of the celebrant conducted an interview for Photographers. As it turned out, she was looking for a family photographer on a regular basis. I was hired to shoot her event and that’s the start of it. Word of mouth from her relatives, friends and acquaintances paved way for more customers. Corporate events followed and then weddings and then more weddings. I quit the restaurant business within just one year of purchasing my professional camera and gears. I still shoot for the first Client who hired me to this day. I never charged her more than I did eight years ago. It is also worth noting that I am a Film Director and while it does take a big chunk of my time in a year to shoot feature films, Photography still comes on top as my main boat to sail into financial freedom. It helped me achieve that certain feeling of calmness, peaceful demeanor and confidence, not just showing up for work, cashing in the paycheck and waiting for that well deserve day-off. It’s the kind of feeling you get when you know you finally found the right path of your career and you appreciate every moment of it.

Has it been a smooth road?
It’s not a smooth road at all times, just like with other start-up business, there were some hurdles of course. For example, how do you compete with others who already have a foothold in the business? Those who are willing to charge 50% less that I would charge? The ones who have the manpower and resources to reach out broadly to consumers? These are just some of the general challenges along the way. To solve it, I had to find what I’m comfortable giving away with. It’s not necessarily offering less than what my competitors offer. I find that consumers are more quality-oriented people. In photography, they look for certain aesthetics, style and flexibility. Those are some important factors I excel in. I also have more flexibility meeting my clients in-person. Bigger Photography studios don’t have that much time to spare but I do. I like to meet my clients for a coffee and get to know them. I find that strategy to be quite effective in showing my sincerity to capture their big day. You just can’t express that honesty as effectively in phone conversations.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
We are licensed and insured photography service located in the heart of Chicago, Illinois. We only reserve limited number of events and projects per month to maintain our quality of works. We operate on principle that quality photography service should come first before profit. Unlike most photography business, we give our clients the full rights to their photographs, period. We make sure that we conform to our clients’ theme and style of photography and not force our style that may not rightfully represent them or the people that they’re with.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Chicago is home to many talented and creative photographers. This is certainly a great city to start with this kind of passion and turn that passion into a career. I couldn’t think of any other place to suggest as a great city to improve their photography skills than my hometown Chicago! We have changing seasons and that means changing landscapes, colors and themes. We have the best Skyline for either day or night photography as well.

Pricing:

  • Wedding Photography starts at $1,395
  • Corporate Events $185/hr
  • Portraits $185-220

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Ty Acierto of Prudence Photography
Bindu Kodwaney

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