Taking the Leap: Inspiration to Become Your Own Boss

Taking the Leap: Inspiration to Become Your Own Boss


Posted by Katie Gambone

A Sampling from Danette’s PortfolioInterview with DanetteSave the Date: iPhone Photo Workshop Webinar

headshotOver the past few weeks we’ve featured several friends who really inspire us.  Today I am happy to introduce you to (unless you are lucky enough to already know her) Danette Pascarella. I met Danette through my husband Carlo.  They both attended Millersville University and started their careers as research scientists at Merck Pharmaceuticals (they are both smarty-pants).  A few years ago Danette followed her passion and left her career as a scientist to launch her own photography business.   This kind of leap is not for the faint of heart, but, as Danette so poignantly said to me in our interview “Life is too short to not do something you love.”  Danette’s courage has proven to me that anything is possible.   I hope that her story will inspire you, as it did me, to take your own leap of faith if you are looking to start your own business, whether it be photography or some other specialty.

In today’s post you will learn about Danette, see some of her amazing images, and also hear about her experience starting up her own photography business.  I am also very happy to share with you that Danette has agreed to partner with us here at Button Jar to offer our very first webinar workshop – How to Take Better Pictures with Your IPhone on Thursday, October 20th at 2:00PM.  If you’ve never attended a webinar, it’s a beautiful thing!  All you need is a computer and you can sit and learn in an interactive platform right from the comfort of your home (or coffee shop, or office – wherever you happen to be!) So save the date!  Registration will open later this month.

A Sampling From Danette’s Portfolio

Danette is fantastic for sooooo many reasons.  To name just a few, she is one of the silliest people I know, she is a bocce pro (we played in a bocce league together for several years), she is a fantastic cook and now she is an award winning wedding photographer.   If you are looking for a great photographer I can personally recommend her services.  She shot Carlo and my engagement session as well as our wedding and the pictures are gorgeous, unique and something we will always cherish.  Here is just a small sampling of her amazing images, which I think showcase her uncanny ability to provide unusual perspectives on special moments.  You can view more images from her portfolio at danettepascarella.com. While the majority of her work is weddings, she also photographs children and special family moments.  By the way – the first image is my nephew Colin doing the worm at Carlo and my wedding reception.  It is such a fantastic shot (and he is a fantastic dancer!):

Gambone Reception

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Hunterdon County Wedding Photographer-12

Nassau Inn Wedding Princeton-2

Treno Wedding-35

Farm at Eagles Ridge Wedding_NJ Wedding Photographer_Danette Pascarella Photography-10

Interview with Danette


Danette, thank you for agreeing to join us today. Can you tell our readers the name of your business and what you specialize in?


DanetteSure!  My business is Danette Pascarella Photography, and I am based in Central New Jersey. I specialize in weddings.



How long have you been into photography and what made you decide to finally start your own business?


DanetteI picked up my first digital camera over ten years ago and instantly fell in love with photography. Before this I owned a little point and shoot film camera, but it wasn’t until this tiny piece of digital magic fell into my life did I really appreciate the art of photography. I remember checking out the image on the back of the camera, immediately trying to improve the composition to make something even better.  Needless to say, I carried this camera with me everywhere I went.

After a couple of years, I upgraded to my first DSLR and started to photograph portraits of friends and family.  All of a sudden I was in business getting paid to take photos of children and families! I loved being able to do this and it made me hungry for more.

Fast forward a few more years, I decided to take a leap of faith, quit the 9-5 corporate job I had for over a decade, and pursue photography as my new career. Life is too short to not do something you love, and I was more than willing to take this chance.


I agree.  Life is too short to not do something you love.  I think your love for what you do really comes out in your images.  Do you practice any other artistic media?


DanetteCooking! I’m not sure if I’m an artist in the kitchen, but I do enjoy creating yummy dishes. It’s a very satisfying feeling to make something that people really enjoy, and I’m pretty sure this is another reason why I love photography too!

What is your favorite part of your job?


DanetteAs a wedding photographer, I get a glimpse into the lives of many people week after week. I witness intimate moments of joy, laughter, tears…you name it. Weddings are overflowing with emotion and priceless moments; it is an incredible honor to document this day for my couples.  Not to mention that all their favorite people are in one spot!  I firmly believe that the photos I make are their first official family heirloom, and I really enjoy photographing this day for them.

What is the most challenging part of your job?


DanetteOn a wedding day, you never know what you’re going to get in terms of light, location, and time. Making snap decisions is a big part of the job and some days it is quite challenging. There is never a dull moment!

As a business owner who works from home, finding a proper work/life balance can be a huge challenge, especially during the busy season. There is always something to do, whether it’s editing, answering emails, or keeping up with the business end of things. I almost have to force myself to take a day off!


What have been your biggest lessons learned in launching your own business?
DanetteWhen I first launched my business I did it for the sheer joy of creating photographs for other people to cherish; I felt like I finally had a specific purpose in life. The passion is a good start, but passion alone does not a business make. After all, a photography business is just that – a business.  I learned as I went, and if I had to do it all over again I would have been more organized in the beginning and created a business plan.

It took me awhile to learn that it’s okay to outsource things that can make my life easier! Accounting, taxes, and the bulk of my editing save me tons of time by outsourcing.  The time saved allows me to focus on other things that can help grow my business.

I think of my business as a living and breathing organism that is constantly evolving.  What may have worked last year may not work again in the future, and it’s okay!


Do you have any advice or resources you can recommend for someone who may be interested in pursuing their own photography business?


DanetteI get asked this question occasionally, and one piece of advice I give is to always be organized with the business side of things. Many photographers get started because they love photographing, and that’s great, but taking the photos is only about 10% of the job. Creating a business plan, having clear goals when it comes to marketing, and keeping organized with clients, taxes, accounting, etc. will in the long run help your business thrive.

Practicing your craft, networking with other photographers, and investing in your education are other more fun things to keep your passion alive! And please, charge what you think you are worth!


If someone is interested in setting up a photography shoot with you or if they have questions about how you got started, how can they reach you?


DanetteEasy! They can contact me via the contact form on my website: Danette Pascarella.com. I would be happy to answer any questions!



Thank you Danette!


Save The Date:iPhone Photo Workshop Webinar


Readers, we are so excited to announce that Danette has agreed to partner with us here at Button Jar to host an hour long webinar workshop: How To Take Better Pictures with Your iPhone.  This is something I think we can all learn from!  My iPhone camera is the primary way I take photographs for personal use and for the blog, and it’s a skill I am always interested in improving. The webinar will cost $10 per participant and registration will open later this month.  If you have questions, or want to reserve your seat email us at buttonjar3@gmail.com.

This post was shared on the Merry Monday link party on My Pinventures, on the Over the Moon link party on Marilyn’s Treats, on the This Is How We Roll Thursday link party on Wondermom Wannabe, and on the Bloggers Pit Stop Link Party on Mostly Blogging.

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3 thoughts on “Taking the Leap: Inspiration to Become Your Own Boss

    • Katie Gambone (Button-jar.com) says:

      Thanks for your feedback Kathleen! She is a really lovely person and honestly just so talented!

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