Lucie Pouilly has always loved photography. But after completing her education she felt like it was more important to get a ‘real’ job rather than following an artistic passion. After years working her day job and ‘dreaming on the side’ she decided to finally take the plunge and start her own photography business Lucie Al Portraits & Creative. Today the Cork, Ireland-based entrepreneur runs a thriving studio where she works to catch the essence of a woman through a luxurious portrait experience. She also uses her photography skills to help businesses create their own branding and visual imagery that truly represents who they are.
Pouilly’s story, as told to The Story Exchange 1,000+ Stories Project:
I started working in photography and branding long before I even considered it as a business idea. Maybe I was too familiar with that old (and incorrect) adage, “Being an artist means being a starving artist.” I had loved photography since I was little, it’s probably in my blood. My great grandpa was a photographer during World War II, and my mother had her own little home photography studio to photograph when she was young.
Life led me to a solid job and education, believing I would be safe financially and free to dream on the side for ‘fun.’ But I wasn’t happy. I felt this calling to go back to my real love of creating, caring and empowering people. I wanted to create something I could call mine and be proud of to have done myself! This is why I started Lucie Al Portraits.
For many success is defined by monetary value, and to some degree I agree with this as money keeps your business growing and thriving. But success, to me, is also to be proud of where you have arrived and to reflect on your past and be grateful for all the bumps along the road that made you who you are today.
I have been tested more than I ever thought I could have been in the last six years. I have been shaken personally to my core, revealing part of my past that wasn’t healed and was hurting me and my business. I think if you want to start a business, start with therapy first and keep going from time to time. This is the most valuable investment you can make in your business (and yourself). Success to me is also letting my intuition talk and going with the flow when I create for my clients. It is so heart warming to build a brand with a client, or to photograph them for their own empowerment. Being a little part of their journey that will keep on going for years to come makes me very grateful for my job.
As a mom, my biggest success is my children – as cheesy as that sounds. My biggest success personally is the personal growth I have seen and experienced since the birth of my first child. It has shaped me for the better. Finding my spirituality and learning to tune into my intuition has made me a better person and a better business owner, as it has shaped my personal brand beyond what I could ever have imagined. I have always been an empath and had a good sense of intuition growing up, but I forced myself to move into the more masculine energy of ‘doing’ and ‘achieving’ which muted my intuition to an inaudible internal voice I’m grateful to have found my inner voice again. And to be able to celebrate all the little milestones each and everyday – in my personal life and in my business.
I get inspired by the community of women I am surrounded by, as they are pushing their limiting beliefs to grow and share their voices – it is truly beautiful to see. Reflecting now on the passing of my Mamie Alice in 2020, I can say she has been part of my inspiration. She left behind the Portuguese dictatorship in the early 1970s to give her children a better life, which meant leaving her daughter behind with her parents for a year. She struggled a lot, and it wasn’t easy. She had such a warm heart and every time my brother and I saw her she had freshly made crepes just for us. I am very proud to have been able to call her my grandma and so grateful to have beautiful portraits of her where she looks so fierce!