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Best of Dawson: Paige Sweany of Sole Photography receives most votes in 2021 contest
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Over the past 12 years, Paige Sweany of Sole Photography has developed a part-time hobby into a full-time business. Photo courtesy of Paige Sweany, Sole Photography.

Paige Sweany had been working for Sawnee EMC for 12 years when she realized she needed a change. 

Photography was a hobby for Sweany, so she decided to take a leap of faith, quit her job and follow her passion instead. A decade later and Sweany’s business, Sole Photography, is thriving, receiving the most votes of any business in a single category for the Best of Dawson 2021 contest. 

Sweany said that her love for photography began when she started taking her own photos of her kids.

“It started as a hobby for my kids; I wanted to save money and be able to take pictures so it just kind of went from there,” Sweany said. “My dad bought me my first camera and I actually still use it every once in a while just cause it’s nostalgic, but he believed in me and that was kind of the beginning of the story — he gave me the tools to be successful.” 

Sweany said that as a hardworking mother, one of her biggest goals for her business was to offer photography services that anyone can afford. 

“It’s kind of like a ministry,” Sweany said. “I’ve always kept my prices so that anybody can have pictures. I don’t want anybody not to have pictures cause they can’t afford them.” 

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By running Sole Photography, Sweany says that she rarely gets bored and loves being able to cover a wide range of topics. Photo courtesy of Paige Sweany, Sole Photography.

Sweany said that her career move, which was a huge leap of faith starting out, proved to be successful. Since day one, Sweany has made a name for herself in the community, so much so that she operates solely through word-of-mouth. 

“I began advertising when I first left Sawnee and it wasn’t my cup of tea, so now I advertise completely by word of mouth,” Sweany said. “And business is just thriving — looking back it was the perfect timing and everything was lined up for success.” 

Sweany does a little bit of everything, from sports photography and engagement photos to newborn and family photos. According to Sweany, this is one of the things she loves most about her job. 

“I get very bored, so in an average week it would be very normal for me to be working with a newborn in the morning, doing a sporting event and then a family maternity session in the afternoon,” Sweany said. “I like it all; I don’t think I could just pick one.” 

Another of Sweany’s favorite parts of her job is that it allows her to be there for some of the most special moments in her client's lives. 

“I feel very fortunate that I have a window into people’s lives,” Sweany said. “Especially during COVID, I’ve sometimes seen newborns before some of the family has, so it’s just an honor.” 

Sweany has lived in Dawson County for 20 years, and her children have all gone through the schools in the Dawson County School System. Sweany said that taking photos at school events is one of her favorite types of assignments. 

“I like working in the schools and doing the sports pictures because I love seeing the kids achieve,” Sweany said. “That’s where my heart really is is the schools.” 

According to Sweany, winning the Best of Dawson 2021 award is a huge honor and hearing how many votes she received was a good reminder of the impact she has on her customer base. 

“I forget how many people know me and appreciate me, but I feel just as much about them as they do about me,” Sweany said. “I feel very blessed when people pick me because they don’t have to and I love my clients — seriously they are my people and I love them and appreciate them.”

“I feel very fortunate that I have a window into people’s lives. Especially during COVID, I’ve sometimes seen newborns before some of the family has, so it’s just an honor."
Paige Sweany of Sole Photography

“I get very bored, so in an average week it would be very normal for me to be working with a newborn in the morning, doing a sporting event and then a family maternity session in the afternoon,” Sweany said. “I like it all; I don’t think I could just pick one.” 

“I feel very fortunate that I have a window into people’s lives,” Sweany said. “Especially during COVID, I’ve sometimes seen newborns before some of the family has, so it’s just an honor.” Another of Sweany’s favorite parts of her job is that it allows her to be there for some of the most special moments in her client's lives. 

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Sweany says that one of her favorite parts about running a photography business is the insight it gives her into other people's lives. Photo courtesy of Paige Sweany, Sole Photography.

Sweany has lived in Dawson County for 20 years, and her children have all gone through the schools in the Dawson County School System. Sweany said that taking photos at school events is one of her favorite types of assignments. 

“I like working in the schools and doing the sports pictures because I love seeing the kids achieve,” Sweany said. “That’s where my heart really is is the schools.” 

According to Sweany, winning the Best of Dawson 2021 award is a huge honor and hearing how many votes she received was a good reminder of the impact she has on her customer base. 

“I forget how many people know me and appreciate me, but I feel just as much about them as they do about me,” Sweany said. “I feel very blessed when people pick me because they don’t have to and I love my clients — seriously they are my people and I love them and appreciate them.”

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