Tell us about your business!
I’ve been in business since 2008, full time since early 2014. I’ve always been a one woman show. I’ve worked as a wedding photographer all over the United States and beyond. I’ve captured cute couples in San Francisco, where I am based, as well as Los Angeles, New York City, Tennessee, Paris, and beyond. I love to travel and whether I’m traveling FOR work or in between work, it’s a super rewarding part of my job.
What makes your business unique, different or special?
I focus on capturing emotion BIG TIME. I tell my clients that I want them to FEEL their wedding emotions in their photos and this is what drives my work. My work looks very candid, but is actually a mix of candid and posed-ish. My clients come to me excited about how natural everybody looks in their photos and this is something I am super proud of.
One thing that really makes my business unique is how hands on I am and how far I will go for each client: No request is too big, no ask is too strange. I help clients craft timelines, bustle dresses, organize their families, scout locations. I tell them all the time that they can ask about wedding things that are not directly related to photography and I am happy when they do.
I always tell my clients that great photos come out of a great experience and I truly believe this: I focus on helping every one of my clients have a great experience at their wedding and I know that paired with my experience and dedication to their images, that will allow me to give them a wonderful wedding gallery.
Who else is in business with you?
It’s just me!
Do you have any advice for photographers submitting to the contest?
A photo that makes somebody feel has a stronger impact than just a pretty photo. Look for photos of joy, laughter, tears, nerves, and love first and foremost. When you can match that with pretty light, location, composition, and beauty, then you have a truly winning image.
What do you love about being a small business owner?
One of my favorite things about being a wedding photographer and small business owner is getting to really build a business that serves me and my ideal client. I can pivot strategies easily, have a super flexible schedule, and pursue whatever photography interests I am most excited about each year. I love photography and I love business and getting to build a company full of love and excitement and passion is the most rewarding career ever.
We noticed you’re showing a lot of diversity in your work. Can you tell us something about that?
Diversity is super important to me. While my clients generally fit a similar style of thinking about the world, they come from all over the world and have all kinds of cultures. People hire photographers whose portfolio allows them to see themselves in the photographer’s work and imagine their final gallery. Encourage diversity by showing diversity: Put minorities and varieties of humans on your splash pages, your home pages, in your main portfolios. If you don’t have that diversity already, seek it out with some portfolio building shoots.
Think of the first ten images a client will see on your website: Will they seem themselves in at least one of those images? Your overall style should speak to all of your potential perfect fit clients, your individual photos should reach through the screen and connect one on one.
What’s one piece of advice you’d give to new photographers?
Beyond “Practice, practice, practice,” my biggest piece of business advice is to show your clients what they’ll get! Wherever you are in your career, don’t assume that your clients have done all the research on you and seen exactly what you offer: Show them at every chance you get. I once had a bride who had hired another photographer call me in tears because she hated how her skin looked in the photos. My first question was, “Do your photos look like the photographer’s portfolio?” She hadn’t even considered this and when she went to his website, she found that her photos did, in fact, look like what he offered. She had never seen this page on his site before. Now, of course I think she should have done a bit more research, but my bigger point is that you should always assume your clients need hand holding and show them more work. When they know what you offer and they’re super excited about it, you are able to give clients a GREAT experience and a finished product that they are STOKED about. This is how I’ve built a business that has thrived since 2008, brings in $100k+ USD annually with lots of vacation time, and has hundreds of 5 star reviews.
Also! Never stop pursuing the fun and artistic side of photography. As you build your business, you’ll do a LOT of things that are not photography related: Always bring it back to pulling out your camera and taking photos that make you feel like your heart has come alive with happiness.