Chizelle Interviews Caitlin McColl
I was recently interview by the sweet Chizelle from chizelle.com, a blog full of daily inspiration for modern, Aussie women. Chizelle has interviewed so many wonderful women, so I am honoured to be in the bunch. Head over to the site to see more interviews, or read my interview here:
Chizelle: What made you decide that you needed to live your life your way?
Caitlin: When I was a little girl, I always dreamed about working with animals. I was vegetarian by the time I turned 9 and I was always a vocal animal rights advocate. But then I discovered the thrill of photography and the giddy, exciting world of fashion left my childhood aspirations of working with animals a distant memory. I enjoyed photographing perfect, beautiful people (of course – who wouldn’t?!) but deep down I was aching for something more. More meaningful, more passionate – more soul!
It was Lyra who inspired me – the ultimate ragamuffin, a cheeky, shaggy mutt who won her way into my heart with plenty of cuddles and a fair few chewed up socks. Before she was even a year old, I knew that I needed to become a pet photographer. I launched Ragamuffin Pet Photography and haven’t looked back since!
Chizelle: What has been your biggest obstacle/challenge so far and how did you overcome it?
Caitlin: My biggest challenge has been my total lack of business knowledge! I started my own small business whilst in my final year studying my Bachelor of Arts in Photography, so to say I lacked experience would be quite an understatement! But there was no way I was going to let that get in my way, so I entered the university-wide Business Plan Competition. I was initially just hoping to pick up on some free business advice, but Ragamuffin actually ended up going right through to the finals and winning Third Place. It was a huge and very helpful learning experience for me.
Chizelle: What motivates you?
Caitlin: I am motivated by my total passion for what I do. Some days it is easy to become dejected – business might be slow, clients can be difficult – but I just have to remember that photographing animals is what makes me happy. I get to celebrate the unconditional, unwavering love that they give us. I am capturing memories and moments and I am motivated by the fact that this is how I get to thank all pets for their love and joy.
Chizelle: What would you like to tell your 13 year old self?
Caitlin: Not to worry so much! I’ve always been a perfectionist, but it’d be nice to go back in time and tell her that there would be plenty of time in the future for working hard! And also, don’t dye your hair bright red in a year. It will NOT look good :)
Chizelle: What legacy do you want to leave?
Caitlin: Wow – that’s a big question! I guess if I could leave a legacy I would like my work with shelter animals to have helped make an impact.
I spend a lot of my time photographing rescued cats and dogs, since many of them now find their “forever home” via online profiles. A poorly photographed animal often doesn’t even get the chance to meet potential families. Compelling portraits that capture a little of their soul and beauty can be just the thing to spark a potential adopters interest. We only need to increase shelter adoptions by 3% to stop the unnecessary killing of adoptable animals, so if my work can contribute even a little to making this a reality, I will be a very happy lady!
Chizelle: What would you say your distinctive qualities are?
Caitlin: Well I’m not sure if it’s a good thing, but my friends always joke about me being 22-going-on-80. I’m an old soul – I like knitting, reading, baking and I spend my Saturday nights snuggled up with my partner and our three scruffy furbabies. I’m introverted but very silly and I live and breath photography.
Chizelle: What 5 things could you not live without?
My family (consisting of Johnny, my highschool sweetheart and our three furry girls: Lyra, Pan and Ava)
Chizelle: What is your favourite quote and why?
Caitlin: “Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” ~ George Bernard Shaw.
That’s my favourite quote this month. I put a blackboard onto the back on my kitchen island so I can update my latest inspirational quote. I like that one because it’s true – that you can’t just sit back and hope everything fits into place. You can’t just cross your fingers and hope life will figure itself out for you – you have to create the life that you want.
Chizelle: What advice would you give to other women struggling to live the life of their dreams?
Caitlin: I’d ask them to find someone who has it figured out and then let me know! To be honest, I’m still so young and new to all of this I couldn’t give anyone advice. I’m just lucky that I’ve found something that makes me happy, so any struggles are totally worth it. At the end of the day, you just need to work out what makes you happy, then with [a lot] of hard work and determination you can turn that happiness into success.
Caitlin runs Ragamuffin Pet Photography, a boutique business specialising in earthy, artistic animal portraiture