The Mint Sweater Girl Interview Series is a series where we interview Mint Sweater Girls in our community to showcase their empowering stories and influence to inspire other women by giving them a peek into the everyday lives of a Mint Sweater Girl.
Today, our series continues with our dear friend and mentor, Bethanne of Bethanne Arthur Photography.
Bethanne is a fine art wedding photographer in Virginia. She is a wife, a mom to her daughter, Aislynn, and her son, Noah, an educator, and a friend.
But to us, she is a cherished mentor and inspiration.
We had the honor of being able to work with Bethanne and during our time together we were able to see firsthand just how truly kind-hearted she is. In our industry, as business owners, it can be easy to be afraid to share what you’ve learned about being a business owner, BUT with a new movement, people have been trying hard to eliminate that competition (“scarcity”) mindset and start building a community amongst businesses owners. Bethanne was one of the few people along our journey that encompasses the selfless act of putting aside your fear of competition and sharing your knowledge in hopes others succeed in chasing their dreams too. Through this movement, Bethanne has been inspiring women to be brave and giving in this community every day through her work of not only being a wedding photographer but, also, as an empowering business mentor.
Her story, which you’ll read below as she shares a peek into her world, is moving and inspiring in the way it has shaped her into the woman she is today.
Bethanne is truly a leader in her industry. She shares her knowledge openly with others, encouraging and empowering them to succeed in their own career paths. Her selfless heart continues to build community and connection where there could be resentment and competition. We truly admire the woman Bethanne is and the impact she has been able to create through her photography and today we wanted to share our interview with her to give you a peek inside who Bethanne Arthur really is.
What does a day in the life of Bethanne Arthur look like?
A day in the life of BA (that’s what I would call myself LOL) looks pretty simple, I’d say. I wake up, immediately run for the coffee maker, pour a cup of joe and think about what I need to get done that day. During the summer, my mornings are a little slower because I don’t have to get my little one to school. During the day, I sit down and answer emails, start checking off to-do’s and taking care of tasks; I might have a session or a wedding or need to prepare a blog post. Mostly, my day involves keeping my business and my home running smoothly. I’m a mom and a wife, so I don’t pack up and jetset around the world on a regular basis, but I do like to fit in travel and fun days with friends when I can. Also…coffee. Lots of coffee.
What is one thing you do every day that makes you happy?
Drink coffee? Is that an acceptable answer? 🙂 I’d say love on my kids! Every single day, I hug them and tell them I love them; they make me the happiest, and I am so grateful to have my family. I’d be lost without them, that’s for sure.
What is one thing you do that can turn any bad day around for you?
I’m a huge fan of self-care….like the bubble bath, face mask, scented candle, glass of white wine, soft music kind of self-care. Whenever I have a bad day, I usually vent to my husband because he’s so grounded and really helps me to see the other side of things. Then….I do what I can to relax. I either have to shut off my computer or my phone and just disconnect for a while, or I need to get out and do something fun like meet up with a friend for tacos, watch a movie, maybe do a little shopping….I just try to get out of my head and focus on recharging. I think it’s really important to care for yourself….because how can you care for others if you’re totally depleted and not coming from a place of rest?
What do you believe your purpose in life is?
Simply put…to help people. Ever since I was little, I knew that when I grew up, I wanted to positively impact peoples’ lives…in some way. I didn’t know exactly how I would go about accomplishing that, but I knew it was what I was meant to do.
How did you know that photography was the career you wanted to spend the rest of your life doing? Walk us through the exact moment you knew.
Admittedly, I never picked up a camera or pursued photography thinking it was going to be something I did for forever, and I still think that way. When I started really getting into photography, I was in school pursuing a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. I actually am still incredibly passionate about Psychology and counseling and plan to pursue the path that I started on years ago before I became a business owner. I have truly loved getting to be a part of couples’ lives and capture their memories of one of the most important days of their lives, but going back to my life’s purpose, I know I am meant to help people in some way, so I will never give that up. Being a photographer has been such a blessing in my life because of the amazing people I have gotten to meet, whether they are or were clients of mine, they were other photographers or people in the industry, or I simply met them because of photography…some of my very best friends are people I have met BECAUSE I picked up a camera and pursued an interest that has turned into a passion. I love capturing people and their precious moments. I don’t know exactly where I will be in the next three to five to 10 years…do we ever really know what the future will hold? I may or may not be photographing professionally several years from now.
What was one of the most difficult times you went through on your path to chasing your dreams and how did you get through it?
As the years have progressed, I have found that I get more anxious and stressed in the days leading up to a wedding or photoshoot. I think that I’ve put far more pressure on myself as my business has grown and my skills have improved. One of the biggest things I struggle with now is just feeling like I don’t want to let my clients down. I want to give them an incredible experience, as well as capture beautiful images for them! I think there is a lot of pressure on photographers, and creatives in the wedding industry in general, to be so much more than photographers or whatever their profession is. They also have to be educators, mentors, podcasters, YouTubers, social media experts, blogging experts, website makers, accountants, motivational speakers, etc.
“There’s a lot of people doing a lot of things, and sometimes, it can be hard to sit back and not think…..”What else should I be doing? Am I doing enough? Am I going to fail if I don’t X, Y, and Z?” Really….the pressure can get a little overwhelming. What I have tried to do to work through or combat it is turn off the noise….remember why I started my business and what makes my clients happy. I remind myself that I don’t have to wear all of these hats because they simply aren’t the best fit for me.”
I serve my clients in a particular way, and I focus on that. That comparison monster tries to come out every so often, but I have to fight it. There are lots of difficult times that come up in entrepreneurship….and honestly, I have to take it a step at a time. Taking care of myself, turning off my phone and social media, and spending time with the people that matter really do help a lot. I can come back and sit down and work through a problem with a much clearer head when I’ve stepped away and taken the time to recharge.
What would you say to the girl who is standing at the beginning of her Photography journey wishing she was where you are today?
I would tell her to not give up. There are going to be times where you’ll want to give up. That is unavoidable. But, if it’s your dream and something you’re passionate about….do not give up. There are so many success stories of incredible entrepreneurs that rejected….they failed…they were told to stop what they were doing. But, they did NOT give up. They kept pushing through and giving it their all. I would tell her to practice on everyone who would let her to improve her skills. Invest in quality education and mentorship. People have walked through the exact journey you’re beginning on; they have made so many mistakes that you’re about to make, but having someone help you along the way will make it so much easier. Work hard, ask for help, and never give up. That’s the best advice I can give!
You balance your career, being a wife, a mom, and a friend with such grace. Since The Mint Sweater is big on friendships, how do you find time for your friends? And why do you make the choice to create time for your friends when most people leave friendships on the back burner?
Ah, well that’s sweet of you to say, so thank you! I love this question. I think it’s really important to not forget about the people in your lives that aren’t paying you money or receiving a service from you. Friendship is super important and special to me; I honestly don’t know where I would be as a person without my best friends, so I make them as much a priority as I do my family, myself and my business.
“When I am 80 years old and my business is closed and social media is no longer around, I want to still be surrounded by people who love and care about me and whom I love and care about. Relationships are ultimately the greatest thing in life, so it’s important to work at them and nurture them.”
My friends are also my biggest cheerleaders, both in business and in life. There’s tons of stuff I probably would have never done if they hadn’t been by my side, supporting me and telling me to go after what I wanted.
You are also a business mentor on the side of your photography business, what would you say to the girl who wants to start her own business, but doesn’t know what she wants to do yet or where to start?
Ask yourself this: What do I want to offer? Who do I want to offer it to? Why do I want to offer this? How am I going to do it? And when am I going to do it? Taking a few minutes to answer those crucial questions and get your ideas organized and put on paper or said out loud will help offer clarity in times of overwhelm. Starting a business is hard! There are several steps like getting an EIN, registering your business, getting a license, insuring your business and gear, creating a website, advertising, booking clients, receiving an income and tracking expenses. All of those things can be EASIER though if you’ve built a solid foundation and know exactly WHY you’re doing it all in the first place. Start with your why.
Looking back at the beginning of your career path to becoming a photographer, what was one of the fears you never thought you’d overcome and how did you get through it?
When I started my business in early 2013, I think the biggest thing I was scared of was that I would never get any better or no one would ever want to hire me. I was worried that I would never set myself apart and that no one would ever notice me or my work or what I did. The way I was able to overcome it was simply by sharing my photos, my thoughts, words of encouragement, my excitement….I wanted to share everything I was doing and experiencing. It really helped bring me out of the nervous fear that I would never succeed in any way. If anyone else has these thoughts….like they don’t think they can do whatever it is they want to do….just DO IT. Share what you’re doing. Keep doing what you love, and you’re going to be just fine. People will take notice!
*BONUS QUESTION*: What is one moment in your photography career, so far, that has made your entire journey completely worth it. That day or moment that as long as that existed you were able to carry on through the good and bad.
Looking back, the best moments that I have collected throughout the years of running this business all have to do with the authentic, raw, and real emotions from my couples. When I get to experience how happy a bride is, surrounded by her family and close friends, as she prepares to marry the love of her life….or when I get to capture a father seeing his little girl all grown up, in her wedding dress, ready to walk down the aisle on his arm….when I get to witness two become one and promise each other forever….those moments are what I live for. Those are the moments I am most excited for when the big day comes, and they are the moments I pay the most attention to because they are so precious and worth documenting.
We would like to take a moment to thank Bethanne for taking the time to share her thoughts, life, and inspiration. Bethanne continues to be an inspiring woman and we are so grateful for her and she continues to empower so many women in her industry and this community.
To learn more about Bethanne and to receive daily inspiration from her you can find her via the links below:
Bethanne Arthur: http://bethannearthur.com/
Bethanne’s Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/bethannearthur/
*ALL PHOTOS IN POST are taken by the incredible Bethanne herself.
To read our previous interviews with Laura Quintero, Allison Ewing, and Hannah Ashton or view our complete list of Mint Sweater Girl interviews from the Mint Sweater Girl Interview Series head on over to our blog via the links.