The Face of Design Aglow: An interview with April Zelenka

It's been a whole year since we found the new face of Design Aglow, April Zelenka, and gave her an Ultimate Studio Makeover worth over $3000. We decided to check in and see how she's doing~

How does it feel to be the face of Design Aglow?

Being the Face of Design Aglow feels kind of surreal and I can’t believe how fast this past year has gone. It’s been a pretty big year. Not because I’m booking more weddings than I have time for, but because I’ve learned so much about myself, my business, and my goals for the future.

Having this opportunity to share my struggles and successes with the followers of Design Aglow is such a blessing and it’s taught me that it’s okay to start from the bottom and it’s okay to seek help from others. Winning $3000 dollars worth of your products was amazing and I’ve used so many of those as resources to develop my business these past twelve months.

What was the absolute top resource/prize that you received from winning the contest?

I have two favorites. One is the Pricing Guide. I’ll start by saying I’ve never been good with math so setting my prices was such a difficult task for me over the past couples years. I was never sure if I was charging enough or if I was charging too little. No matter what I tried I never felt quite comfortable with my pricing structure until I went through the Pricing Guide. I was able to justify my pricing, speak to why I was charging what I was charging, and it helped me setup my finances for tax season.

photography pricing guide

Second is the Moneymaker Camera Strap by Holdfast. I usually shoot weddings solo so being able to switch from camera to camera in a second is a must. I LOVE shooting with that thing! Every wedding photographer needs one!

How has winning the contest changed your business and success over the past year?

Being "The Face" pushed me to continue my business. Last summer was a busy one and I felt super burnt out between shooting weddings and my full-time graphic design job. I often thought about give one of them up, but it turns out I just couldn't. At least not yet. Instead of throwing in the towel I used the tools that were gifted to me to make better use of my time.

With tools like email templates and workflow guides, my business is now organized and I’ve been able to work smarter, not harder.

This summer I commissioned fewer weddings so I could manage my time even better. I'm still busy, but I have more time for my clients and more time for my family.

What top tips do you have for new photographers starting their business?

Invest in business education. You may have a passion for photography, but that doesn't make you a genius business person. I'll be the first to admit I had no idea how to run a successful business and I am still finding my way, but knowing how to run your business is just as important as knowing how to take a gorgeous photo. I'm not the greatest with numbers so I've taken a few classes to go over Quickbooks and basic accounting. There are so many free resources out there, you just have to look.

Don't play the comparison game. Okay, so this one is hard. It's always been difficult for me because I do like to browse Pinterest and Facebook for beautiful photo inspiration. Not to mention I participate in too many photography groups so I'm constantly inundated with amazing work. My style has evolved so much over the past couple years and even more so over the last year. It's pretty amazing to see where I started and where my work is now. It's not quite where I want it to be, but that's the fun part.

I love developing my craft and pushing myself to do better. If you felt like your work was the best of the best would you push yourself as hard? Probably not. So instead of feeling defeated from those beautiful images, feel inspired and motivated to do better.

And finally. Set aside time for yourself. Creatives work too hard and are always craving more. It’s so important to set aside time for yourself.




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