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Community Highlights: Meet Annette Tillery of Martha Smith Tillery Photography

Today we’d like to introduce you to Annette Tillery.

Annette, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
My journey in photography started when I was little. My mom bought me a Kodak Star 110. I used to take pictures of anything around the house. My grandma used to have multiple images of family members and oil paintings hanging on the walls. I looked at the details of each picture every day to memorize the style, contrast, and angle of the photos. When my grandmother passed away, my family noticed that she didn’t take many photos to choose from for her obituary. She didn’t take many pictures over the years, so it was hard to select an image. One day I decided, on Father’s Day 2009, to take my mom to Virginia since she hasn’t been out of North Carolina in almost 40 years. As I was planning the trip, I thought it would be great to document our adventure. So I purchased a Nikon Coolpix p1000 from Best Buy.

I wanted to document that weekend and other trips because I thought of my grandmother, who didn’t have many pictures or go on adventures. I want to make sure we had lasting memories of my mothers. After those trips, I started to document more than just trips and included moments at my church, family, and more. The more I got into photography, the more I learned about it. I followed educators like Sue Bryce, Ernesto Sue, Jerry Ghionis, Tim Bowser, Tomayia Colvin, and Tony Shaw, to name a few. I didn’t just want to pick up a camera and shoot – I wanted to create something that would be unforgettable.

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
No, the road hasn’t been very smooth. However, it wasn’t rough either. There were few bumps on my path into learning to advertise my business. When I started in 2014, I didn’t know where to start until I came across a photographer name Chip Dizard. He was the one who opens my eyes to social media advertising. After following him for a while, I join his Facebook group. There I was introduced to Dr. Tomayia Colvin, the founder of The Photo Cookout. I was sharing ideas, techniques, and stories about where I come from to my most significant influences with the group.

As you know, we’re big fans of Martha Smith Tillery Photography. For our readers who might not be as familiar, what can you tell them about the brand?
We like to incorporate genres of music into our work. It sets the mood of the session. The client feels at ease; when we play their favorite artist. Their focus would be on the lyrics and not the camera. Like in our couple sessions, every moment in their journey starts with a specific song representing their first date, their first kiss, their first dance, and that moment they say “I love you” to each other. We value our clients’ ideas and opinions. We try to incorporate their vision in their photoshoot. We take extra care to ensure their session is comfortable, relaxing, and fun. I specialize in branding, seniors, wedding, and lifestyle photography—my calmness and understanding of my clients. I try to respect them and our process together during our time together. My business has been promoting significantly through past clients displaying their photos online and acknowledging my business.

Their portraits, observed by families and friends, compel them to inquire about who I am and my business. Each couple has a unique love story. They lay their eyes on each other; until the time their love blossoms to making a lifetime of memories together with the simple “I Do. ” Each moment is precious and memorable. At Martha Smith Tillery, we pride ourselves on capturing your love through our photographic lenses. Our team consists of my sister, Letitia, and myself, Annette.

So, before we go, how can our readers or others connect or collaborate with you? How can they support you?
People can always reach me via social media, my website, and/in person. My contact information is on the page. I always love collaborating with different people.

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