Meet Amanda Berce, a Larchmont-based photographer whose portfolio of work captures a joy reminiscent of her own smiley, Texan presence.
Berce’s journey toward photography has been less linear than most — After her time at TCU studying Advertising and Public Relations, Amanda left Fort Worth to study Art Direction in Chicago and began to build her advertising portfolio. It was here that she got her first camera and began shooting for school projects and some “artsy-fartsy street photography,” she laughs. “It was my first time living away from home and I felt the need to capture everything I saw — I’m a sentimentalist and love documenting.”
Her time in Chicago led her to Denver, where she worked as an Art Director for household name brands, shooting photography to help with pitches and projects. This allowed her to meet and learn from professional photographers. “I learned a lot from them,” Amanda beams. “My coworkers eventually started to hire me on the side to shoot their family photography and that’s where I got started.”
Nothing is ever that simple, though. Amanda later found herself moving to Charlotte, North Carolina for her husband’s job, a transition she faced with optimism and fluidity. “It’s a fantastic city but not one that’s really known for their creative advertising,” she explains, “so I decided to switch it up! I got my real estate license, worked creative freelance, and shot photography. I needed the freedom because I was also a new mom.”
Fast forward a few years, filled with a mixture of blessings and curveballs alike, Amanda found herself working as a freelance designer, while also working for an architect and design firm, shooting on the side, and having a second baby girl. “I was all over the map,” Amanda laughs, “but photography was the one constant through it all! Once Covid hit, it was a no-brainer to move to photography full-time. I took the time during the lockdown to hone my business practices and skills. I took classes, met with mentors — did all the things. In one year I went from 72 sessions to over 223 sessions. It was amazing growth and I was so happy and thankful!”
PlanHero® has helped me in so many ways … I don’t have to worry about double booking, writing the same emails with the same information over and over again. It’s really allowed me to take my time back.
Nurturing a newborn and a new business in the height of Covid, though, was far from a breeze. “I used to schedule my sessions through email, but I felt like I was spending more time scheduling and going back and forth with clients than actually editing and shooting!”, Amanda recounts.
And it is in this spirit that PlanHero® itself was created: “PlanHero® has helped me in so many ways. It’s not my first time using a scheduling service — I’d used competitors before but their UX was unnecessarily complicated, filled with ads, and ugly. With PlanHero® I don’t have to worry about double booking, writing the same emails with the same information over and over again. It’s really allowed me to take my time back.”
But it isn’t all business. In fact, what makes her business so authentic is her sincere passion, which is evident from the get-go. Amanda likes to say that her photography captures the unscripted, authentic moments in life. “Having a skill like photography feels like you have something to give when you don’t necessarily have money or time,” she explains. “I was able to shoot my good friend’s newborn photos after a very difficult year. She struggled with infertility issues and lost a parent to Covid. Seeing her with her new baby and being able to capture that happiness after a dark year was something I’ll never forget.”
While she does branding photography, typically for women-owned local businesses, a quick browse of her portfolio is all that is needed to see Amanda’s soft spot for family photography. It’s the easy-going, go-with-the-flow, “carefree, scraped-knee” subjects that inspire her the most — when clients let things unfold naturally the photos are authentic and beautiful. “I love when kids can jump in puddles during a session, get a little muddy, mess up their bows, and make funny faces. We put so much pressure on ourselves to be perfect and look a certain way [but] that’s not real life!”
And Amanda hits the nail on the head — things are rarely ever perfect, and waiting for perfection will have you waiting forever. When asked what advice she’d give to other aspiring photographers and business owners, “Don’t wait,” Amanda says. “If you wait until your skills are “perfect” your website is “perfect” your contracts are “perfect” you’ll never do it. You are always evolving and changing! I didn’t get a lot of things right when I first started but you learn and you move on. Just go for it”