The Source Q&A: Allison Muirhead
Allison Muirhead is a well-known name around the Metro Jackson Area and beyond. She’s been there for many of our families to capture life-changing moments through her business, Allison Muirhead Photography. She spearheaded one of the largest philanthropic events in Mississippi through her work with the Junior League of Jackson. She does all of this while juggling her own business and family.
We wanted to know where Allison gets her inspiration and motivation, what challenges her, and what advice she can give to professional women.
Tell us a little bit about your background, what you do, and how you got there.
AM: I am originally from Alabama (Dothan to be exact), but I have lived in Mississippi since attending Ole Miss in the early 90’s. I graduated with a degree in elementary education, although all my electives were art-based. I taught school for seven years until I started Allison Muirhead Photography in 2001. I self-taught back when cameras were film and internet learning was virtually non-existent. Trial and error paved my way.
How do you merge using your creativity with running your own business?
AM: My business is based on creativity. I read all the time. I peruse art shops, museums and galleries. I study paintings and how light effects everything. I am always trying new lighting techniques and locations. The hard part of business for me isn’t the creativity; it’s the day-to-day day running of a business such as invoicing, billing, taxes, etc.
Tell us about some females who inspire you.
AM: I am inspired by so many strong females. Daily I am amazed by what my friends accomplish! They inspire me to better myself. Photography-wise, I follow Sue Bryce, Spanki Mills, and Lora Jade--just to name a few. For marketing and branding, I like Heidi Hapanowicz, Sarah Petty, and local Leigh Reeves. Lastly the Junior League of Jackson. After serving as Mistletoe Chair last year, my eyes were opened to the hundreds of amazing women in our community.
What obstacles or challenges do you face being a female small business owner?
AM: In today’s world there is still a stigma around women in business. I often have people ask me what my “real” job is, or who I work for. I have found as I have established my business and proven myself year after year, more opportunities have “presented” themselves. The best way to rid ourselves of the stigma is to present consistent work, a consistent brand, and a consistent confidence in ourselves.
In the age of social media, our profile pictures or headshots give our very first impressions. How important is that?
First impressions are so very important, especially in today’s “image first” world. It has been proven people stop scrolling if the photo peaks their interest. I feel that real people buy from real people, and the more they feel a connection with you, the more likely they are to be your customer. But this can be a double-edged sword. If you have a headshot taken with an iPhone or one you have “cropped” out your head from a group shot, that is noticed also. You are your brand, like it or not; what you wear, what you post, and your actions become what you are known for.
What inspired you to get involved with The Source? What keeps you involved?
I first came across “The Source” a few years ago. I loved the concept of networking and learning with like-minded women. The women I have met at lunches and after-hours events have been great contacts. I have gotten to know The Source staff, and they are INCREDIBLE! I continue to stay involved because I believe we should NEVER stop learning and networking
Allison’s knowledge and motivation is impossible to sum up in one blog post. That’s why she’ll be presenting at our next Lunch with The Source! As professional women, we know how important a first impression is. We also know Allison is an expert on this topic, and we can’t wait to hear what she has to say. For more information or to sign up, click here.