PURE BOSS LADY :: TESS O'REILLY

The #purebosslady series is all about inspiring and helping women improve their businesses and giving them the courage to take the plunge into life as a mum-entrepreneur. Today’s Pure Boss Lady is Tess O'Reilly of Earth and Water Photography..

Tell us about yourself and your business…

Hi, my name is Tess O’Reilly and I am the owner/operator of Earth and Water Photography. I am a new mother, of a beautiful, spirited and energetic 10 month old and the wife of an extremely supportive husband. I am also a Primary School Teacher by trade.

Until we moved to the Pilbara, five years ago, I was a city girl. I loved my heals, dresses, cocktails and coffee dates. However, I have always had a strong connection with the land and water. I always felt at peace down at the beach or out in the middle of nowhere. My husband, John, grew up in country WA (Carnavan, Shark Bay, Karratha and Dampier just to name a few) and he always wanted to return ‘home’. So in 2010 we took the plunge and moved to Dampier. I fell in love with this place instantly; the open spaces, the dramatic skies and the rich colours. We were out exploring every chance we got. I fell in love with camping, fishing, boating, diving and four wheel driving; I finally felt at ‘home’.

My career aspirations are simple, to do what I love as long as it fits in nicely with my family.


How did Earth and Water Photography come to exist?

It was in 2011 that I picked up my first digital SLR camera to capture this amazing, diverse landscape. Along with a good friend, Emma, we started ET Photography – Pilbara Style to showcase our landscape photography. We sold our work at the local markets and were blown away by the reception we received. I began to explore the world of portraiture photography, and found I really enjoyed it. I am a people person, and whilst I enjoyed capturing landscapes, portraiture is where my heart lies. I decided to follow my heart and pursue portrait photography. It was rather daunting and there are already so many amazing portrait photographers based here in Karratha. I spent some time developing my style. I feel being a school teacher really helps during photo shoots (expect for the fact I am terrible when it comes to my lefts and rights). I have a good understanding of children, so when working with families or children I am able to connect with them. I aim to make every photographic experience a relaxed and enjoying experience. I feel that there is no point just capturing a ‘pretty picture’, it needs to tell a story, show emotion and portray a person’s personality.

I formed Earth and Water Photography in 2014. I threw around a few different name ideas and kept coming back to the elements, I felt connected to them. Earth is solid and firm whilst water is free and moving; they work together and are fundamental to life. My husband is a Capricorn (Earth sign) and I am a Pisces (Water sign), we are complete opposites yet we compliment and complete each other (corny I know!).

Give us a glimpse into a ‘day in the life’ of Tess O’Reilly.

My days have no routine. I basically work around my daughter’s needs. I fit my shoots in when my husband is on days off and I edit photos, reply to e-mails and other business work when my daughter is sleeping (which never seems to be long enough). At times it can be quite hectic, but I wouldn’t change it for anything. Sometimes the housework gets left and the washing piles up, but eventually it all gets done.

Owning and managing a small business is hard work and takes up a lot of time.


How do you stay encouraged to keep going in your business?

Owning and managing a small business really is hard work. It is a lot more work than I originally thought and sometimes I feel that it is all encompassing. However, I am still in the early stages of setting everything up and I know once I have it running smoothly I will be spending less time on the organization of it all. Photography gives me an outlet, I am able to express myself, keep my brain ticking over through research and study and it also allows me to get out and meet new people. But when all is said and done, it is coffee that helps get me thought it all. Thankfully my husband understands and bought me a good coffee machine – I don’t think I would get half the things done that I do if it wasn’t for that little machine.


What is your sanity saver for running a business and family? How do you balance the craziness of family, business and relaxation?

I am trying to manage my time more efficiently. I try to reply to e-mail when my daughter sleeps during the day (which is starting to get more regular) and then I do most of my editing on the couple of nights my husband is at night shift and my daughter is in bed. I do my best not to do anything when John is home after work - that is our family time.

I also joined two Mother’s Groups, which get me out of the house a few times a week. I have met so many wonderful mothers through these groups and I look forward to catching up with them each week when I can. I am very aware that I could spend every second developing and working on this business and it is so important to not let it take over my whole life.


What advice do you have for other women who are looking to go from employee to entrepreneur?

I think the most important bit of advice, is to take your time. Starting a small business takes and lot of time and energy. I feel that I tried to do much too quickly, but I am a rather impatient type of person and I can’t do things my halves. However, if I were to start over again, I would take my time in developing it all. I would write out a list of things that need to be done and those that aren’t as important and slowly tick them off. At the end of the day, if you love and enjoy what you do, it won’t feel like work.


3 products you are absolutely loving at the moment?

1.   Esty :: Oh my gosh, where would I be without Esty?? Maybe I’d be a little wealthier hahaha. Esty and Pinterest are two apps that are always in use.

2.   Amjenn Designs :: My two biggest splurges recently have been my website.

3.   Pure Design Co :: And my branding (by the talented Pure Designs Co.). I am loving the combination of these two things, and feel my business is starting to come together. I am feeling really good about where I am at the moment, both personally and professionally.