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Inspire Me Friday Interview #16} Marsha Mifsud AKA The Savvy Photographer

Marsha Mifsud, the photographer behind Sweet Bliss Studios may need an introduction but it’s only because you haven’t realized that ‘The Savvy Photographer’ isn’t her real name! Marsha is a gal who had a big idea! She took that idea and created the super fabulous, ultra inspiring, ever chic blog – The Savvy Photographer. Interviewing Marsha was a lot of fun, after all Savvy is one of my own favorite blogs to stalk… Reading her answers was even better as I related and laughed at the whims that have taken over our lives! It’s such a pleasure to interview Marsha, the original Savvy Sister and give my readers an opportunity to learn more about the gal behind one of the best photography blogs on the web!

1. Tell us a little about yourself (married, kids, location)
I am the mom to three wonderful kids…two boys and a little girl. We feel so blessed.  My husband and I just celebrated our 20 year wedding anniversary on June 1st. That seems crazy to me~ I am too young to be married that long!  I was 19 when I married him after knowing him for four months…twenty years later and he still makes me laugh everyday. We currently live in the DC area but will be moving to Japan next month…gotta love the Navy.
2. How long have you been a professional photographer?
Almost 13 years. I started photography the year before I had my first child. I was an exclusive black and white film photographer. I loved film and swore I would never go digital. Four years ago I gave it a try and haven’t bought a roll of film since.
3. Tell us about how the idea for Savvy came about!
On a whim~ seriously it was such a spur of the moment thing! I had just moved to DC a year ago from living in San Diego for 7 years. I hated to leave the sweet small town of Coronado and leaving behind such great clients that had also become  great friends was such a hard thing to do. Starting completely over in a new town is really difficult, especially in a new large city. I was also overwhelmed with the traffic and knew I had no desire to travel for clients {I got lost just going to buy groceries}. I decided I wanted to do something that kept me connected with photography while I took time off from running a photography business. So I thought,  maybe I should start a blog about my two favorite things~ photography and decorating. I then decided how much fun it would be to interview different photographers and see their studios. I love looking at how others decorate and organize their workspace.
I had the idea and within a week I had the blog started. We launched on August first, 2009 and I remember that day so well. The entire day my family and I checked the stats for the site to see how many visitors came to the site. We had dinner plans with some friends to celebrate the launch and right before we left for dinner the stats said we had 100 visitors that day…the kids cheered and I was thrilled! I built it and they came…
I laugh now at how excited we were for those first 100 visitors. Since our launch, we have had almost 400,000 visitors and we now average about 60,000 visitors a month. It has been an amazing journey and I still have to pinch myself sometimes.
5. When you started Savvy, what were your expectations?
To inspire people…to encourage photographers to share their wisdom and show us what inspires them!
6. What activity always makes you lose track of time?
Looking at blogs! I can waste so much time just looking…I unfortunately don’t have any spare time these days to look at many and I do miss it.
7. Will you tell us a little about planning for the Workshop on the Waterfront?
Wow…that could take a while. I would have never dreamed a year ago I would have ever hosted a workshop…never. But the once the blog started, I received so many emails from so many photographers wanting to learn and grow their businesses. I also met so many wonderful photographers whom I interviewed or met through the blog and I knew they had so much to share. I thought how great it would be to bring together those wanting to teach with the those wanting to learn…and then hold it in the most wonderful waterside Inn. I knew the minute I drove down the tree lined driveway at the Inn that it would be the ideal place for my vision. The entire workshop was very emotional for me {you can ask anyone there}…this vision had become reality and I was in awe. I handpicked the 8 speakers whom I knew everyone else would learn the most from and also feel the connection with…we all became “Savvy Sisters” and I am thrilled and honored to be a part of that.

8. Can we expect another Savvy Retreat?
Yes…we have not released the dates yet until now~ March 20-23, 2011.

9. Where might we find you when you’re not working/blogging?
Heading out to dinner with the family with a stop at Starbucks afterwards. We do most things as a family. My husband is also gone so much of the time {hence the Navy} so I try to take the kids on little trips for the weekend whenever possible.
10. Tell us about a typical day for you?
I’m not one to stick to a strict schedule. I am usually up late working so I don’t wake up early. I’m up at 7am to get the boys to the bus, then it’s time for me and my daughter to eat and I’m usually checking emails while eating {not good}. Then she hangs out with me while I start my day on the blog. I try to get the post up by 9am. I try to prepare the post the night before but that doesn’t always happen.  Three days a week she goes to preschool and we leave the house at 9:15am. Then I am back home by 10am and start to tackle my inbox. This takes up most of my day. I answer emails {I try to answer them all but it isn’t always possible}, send invoices for ads, schedule the giveaways, send interviews. Before I know it, the day is over and it’s time to pick up my daughter.  I still work the days she doesn’t go to school~ she is great at entertaining herself,  thank goodness!
She has a desk next to mine and she draws or “works” on her little laptop…and she takes lots of calls on her “cell phone”…usually from different princesses. The conversations that go on keep me entertained!
I do think my kids are starting to resent the blog, which makes me sad. I need to balance my work and family life…it’s just so hard when you are a mom and work at home…I’m sure everyone reading this is shaking their head in agreement. Today my daughter came up and hugged my leg while I was working…then she looked up at me and said “are you hugging back?”…that is when my heart breaks and I realize I need to give her one on one time.
14. What’s one topic that you absolutely love to talk about?
15. What is your ‘Savvy Indulgence’?
Coffee…not so savvy but it’s my thing!
My other indulgence is decorating magazines…love them! There is nothing better than sitting down with great cup of coffee and a new magazine to enjoy. Then the kids join me, spill the coffee and my break is over.

16. What has been the highlight of your career?
The highlight of my photography career was getting the chance to help a dear friends daughter accomplish her dream before she passed away at age 14. She battled cancer for 7 years. She shared with me one day that when she “grew up”, she wanted to photograph children with cancer and make a calendar. Wow…I knew I had to help her considering growing up wasn’t something she would get to do. Within a month, I had taken pictures of 14 children fighting cancer that were her friends from the hospital. She arranged every shoot and was the photo stylist {she had a vision of how each child would be photographed}.  The calendar raised over $20,000 for her Relay for Life team and she died one month later.

17. What has been the biggest blessing for you as result of  The Savvy Photographer?

Meeting so many amazing, wonderful people! I get emails from the sweetest readers and that makes my day! I feel blessed to have great people follow the blog and always have something nice to say. I also think I am so lucky to have found something that will travel well…the move to Japan won’t affect the blog…it will be business as usual.
18. Can you tell us something that few know about you?
I think most people would be shocked to know that the Savvy Photographer is just me…recently I have been thrilled to have my sister join me {who is also a photographer in Houston}…but it started with just me. I have a hard time saying “I” when talking on the blog so I say “we”… so many think that “we” means lots of fun people sitting around a fun Savvy office throwing out ideas for a blog post…I hate to disappoint but it’s me…and my adorable four year old sidekick who likes to talk on the phone. She does consider herself a Savvy Sister!
Thank you so much Marsha for letting us get to know the original Savvy Sister a little bit better! If this is your first introduction to The Savvy Photographer, be prepared for a long weekend because your eyes are in for a visual treat!



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