He was first exposed to photography when he was 16 by an aunt who had a darkroom in her basement and was a serious hobbyist. Despite his love for photography, Cincotta admits that he originally shied away from it because he was afraid he couldn't make a living as an artist. It wasn't until after attending business school and working in corporate America for a number of years that he decided to pursue photography as a career.
"I realized my love and passion for photography was something I needed to pursue," Cincotta says simply.
Cincotta and his wife, Taylor, opened Salvatore Cincotta Photography four years ago, specializing in wedding and senior photography in the Chicago, St. Louis and New York areas. "We just love the energy and excitement of working with our couples," explains Cincotta, talking about his wedding focus. "It's an exciting time in their lives, and we feel so fortunate to be part of it! It's a big responsibility, and we love it."
Of course, Cincotta loves photographing seniors just as much, and he works with about 120 a year. "It's pretty much their 'coming out party,' and our job is to showcase their transition into young adulthood," he adds.
Like many photographers, Cincotta's biggest challenge is to stay ahead of those who think they are professional photographers, those who have saturated the market. How does his studio work to overcome this challenge? Superior products and services that help them stand out.
"A simple example of this is our ability to turn wedding images around in two weeks," says Cincotta. "There is a huge difference between handing over a DVD of images and showing the client their images fully edited with a slew of high-quality product options. It's the difference between being viewed as 'just' a photographer or as an artist."
Since opening their business, the Cincottas have seen growth every year. In fact, they recently opened up a second studio, Studio C, which focuses on baby and children's photography. Cincotta says that being able to open up this second brand (behind Salvatore Cincotta Photography) is one of his biggest accomplishments. "Studio C is targeting a whole new demographic," he says. "It's an exciting time for us, and we are pumped about the possibilities this new brand offers our studio and our clients."
All of this happened in a relatively short period of time, and Cincotta believes that membership in PPA has helped his business achieve success so quickly. For example, he recalls a conversation he had with an attorney through PPA when he was first starting his business: "It was a very simplistic set of questions, but I had no idea who to ask or how it could affect my business. However, not getting the right answers could have really impacted the overall direction of our business, not to mention the potential legal issues that could have arisen if handled incorrectly."
That one conversation helped Cincotta greatly, and he urges other photographers not to overlook such benefits that are available to them.
"PPA offers a great framework of services that can help your business get up and running quickly," he explains. "Little things like contracts, release forms and some of the group benefits are all valuable resources. Don't underestimate their value! They more than offset the cost of membership. It's a no-brainer."
ALL IMAGES Â© SALVATORE CINCOTTA