Small Business Friday – Deirdre O. Keating Photography

This morning I welcome Deirdre, of Deirdre O. Keating,  based in Moab, Utah! Please take a look at her lovely work below, and leave her some love in the comments! Happy Friday, everyone!

1. Tell us a little bit about yourself!  

I’m Deirdre from Deirdre O. Keating Photography.  The O is for O’Malley. My husband Brian and I have been married for 18 years, and have three boys, ages 10, 7, and 4, plus a Labrador puppy named Duke. I’m originally from Illinois but moved to Arizona for grad school and fell in love with the West.

2. Tell us something most people don’t know about you!  

I’m terrified of clowns. In the last couple years I’ve heard others admit this too, so it’s a relief to know I’m not alone. I also laugh when I’m nervous or scared…which can have the unfortunate effect of encouraging clowns.

3. What are your favorite movies or books? 

I love stories, so I’m a bit obsessed with movies and books. One of my favorite childhood memories is watching “West Side Story” for the first time on a summer night with my mom. “It’s a Wonderful Life” is an all-time favorite, as well as “Groundhog Day” and “Accidental Tourist.”  I just finished State of Wonder  by Ann Patchett, and highly recommend it as a great read. My all-time favorite books are the memoir Out of Africa and the novel Anna Karenina.  (Do I get any points for my self-restraint in writing five sentences and not five pages in answer to that question?)

4. What are your favorite foods or drinks? 

Popcorn with lots of salt is my favorite snack or meal, and a hot cup of tea my favorite drink year round.

5. What does your typical day look like? 

Well, there’s what I plan for it to look like, and what it actually ends up looking like.  Three days a week I get up around 5:40 to meet a friend to workout. The other days I’m up by 6:30 in order to give our dog a good walk before the boys are up. Then it’s the mad rush before school—everyone getting ready, getting breakfast and packing lunches. My youngest is still at home with me except for three mornings a week, so our pace changes as soon the older kids are gone. Most of my shooting takes place while he’s at school or on the weekends, and most evenings, after dinner, is when I edit.  Our sons’ sports schedule dictates a lot of our evenings. I love to end my day with a cup of tea, watching The Daily Show beside my husband. Laughing together is a much better way to close the day than staring into a computer screen, though I have to remind myself of that often.

6. Tell us your business name, and give us all and any link so your website/blog/social media. 

Can I tell you what I wanted to call my business? DOK Photography. Much easier to remember and spell correctly, right? At least my facebook page is DOKPHOTO, but because there were already two DOK Photography business out there (who knew?), mine is Deirdre O. Keating Photography. You can find me at:


7. Give us a brief description of the business, and how long have you been in business. 

I started my business in February 2012. I’ve always been passionate about photography, but digital is what opened the door for me ten years ago.  Once upon a time (for all your too-young-to-know-this readers) there was this thing called film. I love film, but film was expensive. Time in a dark room was expensive. And mistakes were expensive.

I love the instant gratification of digital—no waiting to develop your film to know if you exposed correctly or if you got the shot.  It has completely changed the art form, democratized it, for better and for worse, but I believe mostly for the better.

 In retrospect it feels like I was preparing to start a business for years, based on the things I read, the classes I took, the blogs I follow, but I wasn’t thinking that way. Looking back, if I hadn’t started right when I did, in the small window of calm I had in February, I never would have been able to this year. I was determined though. There were a lot of hurdles but, as Rumi wrote:

“When you do things from your soul, you feel a river moving in you, a joy.”

I felt that river when I got the final signature to sign off on my business application, when the logo came together, when the website went live, and when I made my first sale. In the daily struggle of trying to balance child-care, train a puppy, keep a house that never stays “kept,” and finish work —I feel the river a bit less. I still struggle to find the time for all the work that goes on after a photo session, which is the majority of the work. But I’m learning and I’m getting to witness beautiful scenes of family joy and love. When I capture a bit of that with my camera, I feel that same river of joy.

8. What do you love most about having a small business? 

I love photography much more than I love business. Most of my newborn shoots take place in our local hospital, and capturing those early moments between a mom and her newborn is an honor.

 I love the right to say no that comes with owning your own business. I never would have anticipated that, but it’s a gift and a responsibility I’ve come to appreciate.  When I started, people told me I would have to shoot weddings to succeed, or fill November with mini-sessions. I’m a middle child and a people-pleaser at heart, so I had to get really clear about what I wanted to do, how busy I wanted to be, and about what matters most to me.

9. What is the hardest part about having a small business? 

When I was 21, my worst fear was a 9-5 job where I would be watching the clock and not invested in my work. I’ve honestly never had one of those jobs—I was a high school English teacher for years before I had children and, like being a business owner, teachers are fully invested and never get to punch out—there is always more work you could be doing.

Now, in my 40s, a job that ends at 5 and doesn’t consume me sounds tempting—I’m joking but only slightly. I still have a lot to learn about how to balance life, family and work, how to stop working even when there is always more to be done.

10. What is your biggest inspirations?  

Love and light and shadow. Faces and hands. Family, time, memory and loss. Those are my biggest inspirations and what moves me to capture a shot.

My grandmother, Mary McMahon,  and my mother, Betty O’Malley—and the photographs I wish I had with her— inspire me. My father’s work ethic and the way both my parents, who raised nine children, revered the gift of life inspires me. My husband’s faith in me and my children, with their constantly changing faces and expressions, inspire me.

Professionally, Karen Russell and Tara Whitney motivated me to learn more and still continue to.

11. Where do you see your business in 5 years? 

I’ve worked hard and been incredibly lucky all my life. I never expected a Peace Corps assignment in Siberia to lead to teaching other teachers in Birobidzhan. Or that working with the Oregon Writing Project would lead to building websites. Or that my pursuit of a close-up photo of my newborn’s toes would lead to my shooting that same shot for over 50 newborns this year.

All of which is to say, I have no idea where I’ll be in five years. “Don’t push the river” quotes Karen Maezen Miller in my favorite book to give new mothers, Momma Zen, “let the future come to you.” Because it will, and I know enough to know it won’t look the way I imagine it.


Thank you so much, Deirdre! Please check out her Facebook and Website, and have a fab weekend!

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  • BradDecember 14, 2012 - 9:27 am

    These are beautiful images, Deidre!!! Your logo looks so great, too! Like you, I have love having an investment to my work. I want what I provide to have tremendous value to a family.ReplyCancel

  • AngieJanuary 20, 2013 - 5:32 am

    What an insightful interview! Great photos all– but my favorite is where you captured ” catch light” in the dazzling blue eyes of all three of the brothers. Well done!ReplyCancel