Where were you born and raised and, if it was someplace else, when and why did you come to Loudoun?
I was born in Los Angeles, CA (my mother was born in Mexico but my father in Los Angeles, making me a second and third generation Latina). We lived in Southern California until I was 8 years old but then moved to Las Vegas, NV. I spent 20 years in Las Vegas before moving to Northern Virginia in 2009. After exploring all that Northern Virginia has to offer, Loudoun County is where we wanted to call home. It was the perfect place to raise a family!
When did you launch your first business and how did you get into your current line of work?
As far back as I can remember, I had a camera in my hand or in my purse. I took photos of everyone! Back then, I would take rolls and rolls of film to get developed and couldn’t wait to get the printed photos back to look at what I captured. Over the years I would speak about my passion for photography with others who were photographers and that’s where I learned I could take this passion from a hobby to a business. In 2013, I was pregnant with my daughter and three of my coworkers were also pregnant. It’s then that I decided to take my hobby further and started with newborn and maternity photography. I bought my first camera, a Canon Rebel, and learned everything about using the camera and photographing people. I now focus on branding photography. I help businesses and entrepreneurs tell their story so that they can make connections with their audience.
Have you had any special mentors or inspirations that influenced your career?
There were so many friends who were fellow photographers and each shared bits and pieces of photography with me. I soaked up all the knowledge and also dove into teaching myself everything there was to learn. I quickly learned that when your surround yourself with others who share the same passion as you, you create a community of support, education and encouragement. There are too many to name but I think they know who they are!
What is the best part of your job and why?
People. The people I meet and capture is what keeps me going. I get to dream, create, laugh and celebrate with my clients. My goal in a photo session or project is to leave an impact with my clients, no matter how small it may be.
What is it like owning/running a business in Loudoun?
It’s been wonderful! I love being in an area where there are other entrepreneurs who have been welcoming and encouraging. I’m proud to call this area home for both my business and family.
What does Hispanic Heritage Month mean to you?
This month is an opportunity to SHARE. I am proud of being Latina and sharing what that means to others is important to me! This month is a way to keep my heritage alive, keeps traditions going, keeps stories told and spreads the beauty that diversity brings to our world.
What are some of your favorite things to do when you are not working?
Spending time with my family at home with our 6 chickens, two goats, and two dogs! You can also find me spending girl time with friends, running (you may find me on a trail or in a race around here in Loudoun County) and traveling.
Check out Darlene’s Photography website here.