Business Owners Report: Crystaline Randazzo Photography

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Your name: Crystaline Randazzo

How many years have you been living life in the Foreign Service?

5 years

Where have you been posted?

Port au Prince, Haiti; Lusaka, Zambia; Washington, DC; and Kigali, Rwanda.

Briefly describe your career path:

I began my career as a commercial photographer running large-scale photo shoots for the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey circus. After marrying a diplomat, we set off for a world of adventure, spending most of the last decade in Haiti, Zambia, and Rwanda.

In 2010, I lived through the earthquake in Port au Prince, Haiti and it forever changed the way I looked at photography, development, and aid work in the developing world. I began working with nonprofits and international organizations to share their stories through photography and multimedia narratives. My work frequently focuses on women’s empowerment, agriculture, and education. I firmly believe that each of these portfolios showcase human resiliency and exemplify how change is possible in the world.

I’ve had the opportunity to document agricultural projects in post-earthquake Haiti, women’s cooperatives in post-civil war Uganda, and adoptions in Congo. I’m familiar with working in challenging international environments and creating photography for international organizations seeking vibrant material for their web promotions, annual reports, and fundraising efforts. I strive to create a variety of images during each shoot and narratives about how large projects affect individual lives. I believe that personal stories are the most effective way to demonstrate the impact of large-scale projects.

What is the name of your business?

Crystaline Randazzo Photography

Briefly describe your business:

Africa is a photographer’s paradise. As a professional photographer with more than a dozen years of experience working in documentary, nonprofit, commercial, and portrait photography, I have found endless sources of inspiration traveling the continent. In Rwanda, my home for the last year, I’ve worked with young women empowering their peers, businesses building sustainable agriculture practices, and international organizations working with Rwandans to speed economic development.

Why did you start this business?

I am passionate about telling stories about development and change in the world.

When did you start this business?

1 March 2010

What makes you stand out from your competitors? What makes your business unique?

I live in the communities in which I work. This allows me to better connect with my subjects. I believe deeply in understanding cultural nuances, learning local languages, and getting to know my community. This dedication to cultural understanding leads to better storytelling.

My approach to telling individual stories puts my subjects at ease. My goal is vibrant, honest, and emotional photography that resonates with any audience.

How does your business fit into the Foreign Service lifestyle?

It’s not without its challenges. At every new post, it takes 4-6 months to establish my business and just when I get comfortable and have steady clients, we are off to a new post. However, having the flexibility to bring my skills with me on the road and broaden my portfolio along the way is amazing!

What has been your biggest challenge with your business so far?

Building up a client base.

What has been your biggest accomplishment so far?

Moving from working for small nonprofits to large nonprofits. This has allowed me to create a base of clients that are all over the world.

What resources have been particularly helpful to you when you were starting your business?

My greatest resource is other spouses who have gone through the work permit process. Besides that I’ve been greatly influenced by the following books:

  • Purple Cow- Seth Godin
  • The Fire Starter Sessions by Danielle Laporte
  • The E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Business Don’t Work and What to Do About It by Michael E Gerber
  • The New Rules of Marketing & PR by David Meerman Scoot
  • The $100 Dollar Start Up by Chris Guillebeau
  • The 4 Hour Workweek by Timothy Ferris
  • The Art of Nonconformity by Chris Guillebeau
  • The Happiness of Pursuit by Chris Guillebeau
  • Jab, Jab, Jab Right Hook by Gary Vatnerchuk
  • The Law of Divine Compensation by Marianne Williamson
  • Linchpin: Are You Indispensable by Seth Godin

Amazing online resources:

Which resources do you use to maintain your business?

Squarespace for my website and quickbooks for accounting.

Any advice for any EFMs thinking about starting their own business?

Think inside the box. It’s easy to try to be creative with all matter of ideas. But instead you should think about your current skills and how they apply to your situation. I started out by asking, “How can I make my business work in Rwanda or Haiti?” Now I am asking, “How can I make my business work anywhere.” It’s important to think about what you can do now and how your business can continue in your next post.

Where can we find you on LinkedIn?

Right here!

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