Seven Years! What?!

Has it really been seven years since our first wedding?! Where has time gone? I’m reminded today that today marks the 7th anniversary of our first wedding we photographed. It’s funny looking back, because even in 2009 I knew that blogging would be a big part of the business. I wanted a place that I could show off our pictures but also give future couples and clients a way to connect with us on a more personal level. However, my writing back then wasn’t really too in depth, even now, sometimes my blogs are pretty short, but I do my best. Writing was never really something I was gifted in, so it’s definitely been a learning process as the years have passed. Here it is folks, my first blog post: “Finally my first wedding photography job! It seems like it has been ages since we talked about doing this, and it finally came June 20! I was so nervous this day with it being my first job. Bri and her bridesmaids even joked about how nervous I was. But it was very fun. We got some real moments and awesome pictures. I had a blast shooting this wedding!”

Seriously, that was it. I’m cracking up. I mean, it was personal by letting you know my feelings but in no way did it tell the story of the wedding day. Two years later I did a blog post on this and told a little more of that day with some pictures, my original blog was was blogspot, and the pictures are no longer hosted. Looking back though, it’s crazy where things have gone. Seven years ago, I remember getting into the business of photography. I remember prior to that, in high school, my dream was to be a National Geographic or Sports Illustrated photographer. In college, I gave up on that dream, but I still pursued photography along with graphic design. In 2009 after Natasha and I got married, I decided to pursue wedding photography. That first year we had four bookings. Aside from photography skills, I spent that year learning everything I could about the business. Even then, I knew my photography skills would grow and evolve as I shot, but if the business was to grow, I needed to learn everything I could about business, marketing, customer service, etc. I’m still learning a lot, business is ever changing, but that first year, I hit the ground running building a website and a blog along with social media. I knew if it was going to grow, I needed more than just a facebook page. In fact, a facebook page didn’t happen until later on in 2009. Today, it seems to be the opposite, I talk with a lot of photographers about websites, and a lot of them only have facebook pages and don’t care to do anything more. Thanks to my blog, I’ve been able to not only reach potential couples, but we’ve had the ability to travel for sessions as it’s helped our SEO. We just had a senior session in Chicago, the senior was from the Washington D.C. area, and our blog has helped us reach page 1 on Google search results.

Shortly after that first year and every year since, I wanted to better myself, shoot more, travel more, create a brand that was unified throughout websites, social media platforms, marketing, etc. The thing that’s been hardest for me throughout the growth (real moment coming on) was learning from other photographers who had tremendous success stories where they started one year slow and the next year they were a booming photographer. I didn’t have that story. In fact, every year since 2009 has been a slow increase in how much business we do and business growth in general. I’m not upset with that by any means, I thank God for our growth every year!! I’m simply saying as a noob in the business, it was tough for me because I would question if I was doing things right and/or if I would be able to continue to do this as my form of income since I didn’t have this kind of story. But looking back on seven years, wow! We’ve photographed hundreds of session from babies to weddings to corporate jobs. We’ve had the huge privilege of working with Google, professional athletes, and politicians. We’ve had the opportunity to travel to many cities in the United States, photographing everything from seniors, engagement sessions and weddings. And then of course all of the amazing couples and families we’ve had the opportunity to meet and become friends with. This journey has been absolutely amazing and one I could have only dreamed of back in 2009.

I’m so thankful to everyone who has had a part in helping this happen, whether it was guidance, direction, coming along side us to help out, or booking us, there are so many people that have had a part in helping this happen. It not only helped me grow as a business owner but as a person and customer to other businesses. In 2009 I was the type of customer that would spend as little as I could, and settle on products or services just to save a few dollars. That first wedding I shot, for example, I spent $100-some on a flash because I didn’t want to spend $500+ on a canon brand flash. That cheap flash lasted one wedding… yes, just one wedding. It was a cheap Chinese made ebay purchase. So I bought the canon 580EX ii flash, thus resulting in an extra $100+ that didn’t need to be spent from the beginning, and that canon flash is still in my camera bag today!

I look forward to what the future holds for this business. Seven years has already done what I never thought it could, and I still have plenty of dreams and aspirations for the business that I’m working toward. Seven years ago, Natasha was shooting on a camera in the tripod in the back of the church, because I lacked the confidence needed to shoot on my own. From day one, she has been one that has encouraged me and pushed me to work harder and go farther than I thought I could. Today, she is not just someone helping along side me at weddings, but she’s doing a lot of the management side of things, from handling paperwork to financials, to even picking out the pictures I will edit after our shoots, we are a team in this business now, and the way we handle things from the business side is continually evolving and we are doing things to help with the growth of the business. This year already is our busiest year ever and it continues to get busier. So I want to wrap up this post by just saying THANK YOU to everyone who has helped with this growth. Whether you booked us for your photography needs or simply gave us an encouraging word, you are very appreciated and we could not be doing what we are doing without that support. Here’s to the next seven years and many more after that!