Member Spotlight: RAWsome Photography

Q&A With Oksana Skolnaja of RAWsome Photography

It’s often said that people make the place, and we couldn’t agree more. Our new spotlight series introduces you to Seward Chamber of Commerce members who make our community an incredible place to live, work and play.

Oksana Skolnaja was born in Lithuana with a camera in her hand. As a long-time resident of Seward, she has made a name for herself fileting halibut quickly and perfectly while deckhanding with Crackerjack Fishing Charters and has recently turned her attention back to her photo art with her business RAWsome Photography. Whether she is capturing lifestyle, family events, wildlife, travel and glamorous portraiture, her lively and fun style shines through each photo. She strives to capture beauty and special moments and create memories with clients who favor a less traditional approach.

We recently sat down with Oksana Skolnaja to learn more about the journey she has taken as a small business owner in Seward. 

Photographer Oksana Skolnaja balances being a full-time mom with her new business. Photo Courtesy of RAWsome Photography

What makes your business special or unique? In other words, what are you known for?

My photography is unique in my own expression, the way I see things through the lens. I’ve been told I make people look happy and beautiful and I am good at creating memories.

Tell us about a product or service that you’re particularly proud of.

I just recently finished photo visuals for The Retreat Salon and Day Spa’s new website. It’s going to be great! I am grateful and happy I was able to collaborate with Crista and her amazing team. Stay tuned for the updated website! My marine wildlife and bird canvas prints will also be available for sale at the salon through the month of June.

What would people be surprised to learn about your business or your journey as a business owner?

I’ve been taking photographs ever since I can remember. This year I decided to become a business owner and continue capturing people in their essence.

Shots like this one capture Oksana’s fun and energetic perspective behind the lens. Photo Courtesy of RAWsome Photography

What is the best compliment your business has ever received?

There have been a few, but one of my favorites was being told that I captured some precious moments that would last a lifetime.

Describe a risk that you’ve taken in your business that paid off.

I’ve recently made business decisions that paid off financially and more importantly created new partnerships that are growing my business. Networking is a must if you’re a business owner!

What advice would you give to a new business owner who is working to build a business like yours?

I would recommend a good client management system to keep track of contracts, emails, proposals, and invoices among other things. As a busy mom, I am definitely trying to work more efficiently!

How long have you lived in Seward? What first brought you here?

The first time I came to Seward was during my college years back in 2005; I worked at the Breeze Inn as a waitress for the summer. This lively and beautiful town fascinated me, so I had to come back! I moved to Seward in 2009 and began spending summers in Seward and winters in Girdwood. Four years ago, I moved full-time to Seward.

Focusing on the smaller wildlife in Resurrection Bay, Oksana finds the beauty in things that others often miss. Photo Courtesy of RAWsome Photography

What do you like most about living and working in Seward?

I love the arts and Resurrection Bay. Summer brings so much life and interesting people. During the winter, I love hiking and skiing, doing yoga and relaxing.

Tell us about a community member in Seward who you admire.

I admire quite a few small business owners who took a leap of faith and grew their business in this community; there are too many to name.

How do you spend your free time?

I’m a full-time mom, which takes a lot of time, but I also manage to get in a lot of hiking, running, biking, fishing and relaxing with my family.

Where’s your favorite spot in Seward to unwind?

I love hiking Lost Lake Trail! And now that Yoga Space has opened I will be attending more yoga classes!

Oksana captures Alaska’s iconic bald eagle fishing the waters near Seward. Photo: RAWsome Photography

If your life was a book, what would the title be?

The Rawsome Adventures of Oksana Skolnaja

There are so many great wilderness areas to explore around Seward and Kenai Fjords. If you had a free weekend, where would you go?

I would go on an overnight camping trip to Caine’s Head or out to Orca Island for a more private getaway. I would also go to Harding Ice Field, which is one of my favorite spots to go on long hikes along with Lost Lake.

Is there anything exciting on the horizon that you’d like to share?

I would like to focus more on capturing families and couples who are visiting Seward who would like me to photograph their adventures and special trip of a lifetime moments. Then they wouldn’t have to worry about taking quality photographs of their trip; they could just focus on enjoying their time in this amazing place!

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Feature Image: Oksana’s keen eye captures seals hauled out on a waterfall. Photo: RAWsome Photography.

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For more information about RAWsome Photography click here or call 907.903.7793. 

Want more information about Seward or our Chamber of Commerce? Call 907.224.8051.