The last year has been a whirlwind. I was on a mission to grow this business. I wanted to master my craft and not be known as “that new photographer” in the city. Different people have different opinions and priorities of how to blast off. If you’ve followed me for long enough now, you know my photography idol is Katelyn James. She always says growing your business means growing your 3 E’s. Equipment, education, experience.
Most of the photographers I know have gone the equipment route first. Having all of their own gear, getting experience, and using that money to then invest in education. I decided, however, that exponential growth to me, meant heavily investing in education first and foremost. I still rent most of my gear!! To me, what’s having more equipment if I couldn’t completely rock using it. I felt that if I learned a lot up front, then it would show up in my work earlier on, and have a larger impact visually in the experience catalogue. And in my opinion, it has. These investments have paid off exponentially.
Right out of high school, I went to Algonquin College for photography. Although it was more studio based, and didn’t help a lot of my wedding photography at form, I did learn a lot of technical from it and a lot more advanced things that many self-taught photographers can’t do.
You saw me drive all the way to Richmond, Virginia with Max, taking the leap to go learn from the amazing Katelyn James. This was huge for me, as I usually try to play things safe and make baby steps so I don’t waste money. But this was by far, the biggest and best thing I have done for myself and my business. It was SO amazing to see first hand how Katelyn rocks it, as well as meeting so many photographers from around North America who traveled to see her as well.
Right now, I’ve been taking online classes with International Academy of Wedding Photographers school. This is a brand new operation that they are trying to make a standard base for all photographers to start with to have an even knowledge of all the aspects of the business to be successful. There are so many leading photographers in the industry right now that teach these classes, so it’s just like going to workshops with all of them!
|Max with Katelyn & Michael’s Instafamous,|
Bokeh the Bichpoo
I’ve done branding with Julie Story to get my look. The only problem is with visual branding is that people are constantly changing! This look is “me” right now, but who knows who I will be in 2 years?! In summary, I do not regret anything. I’m so proud of where I’m going and thankful to all those who have helped me out along the way.
This being said, I’ve decided that I should probably even out the equipment E. This will be the season of anxiety due to spending lots of money. I need to work for it, so I feel like I earned it. And I’m SO happy with how the start of this wedding season has gone for me, so I’m hoping that’s not too much of the anxiety case ;)
Within all of these classes, there has always been a mutual element. Telling me to find my why. And that’s been hard for me. I’ve never been good with words in explaining to anyone about anything! Finding out why I do what I do. Why I love it and why I continue to do it. What is my motivation? When you want your business to be YOU rather than an office building, it’s such an important thing to know inside and out.
And I’m still figuring that out. But right now I can tell you I love the joy it gives me when a couple ends a session saying that it was easier than they thought, or being so happy with the experience before ever seeing one image, the excitement of receiving their images, ranting about how much their family still reminisces with their wedding images months after the wedding, the couple that knows the value of having a quality album, the butterflies that come back to design their wedding album, breaking out their wedding album a year later to reminisce. The other day looking over to see my grandfather holding my grandmother’s hand, almost crying right there, because that still exists.
I’ve always been the emotional girl. In high school, I think it was a negative thing. But I know right now, that is what keeps me connected to what I do. I’m sentimental, I’ve always been, and I think that’s why I’ve always taken photos of everything. Why I always always that girl with way too many Facebook photo albums, or that one who always tags everyone. I want to remember. I want people to remember with me. No matter where it’s been or where it will go, it’s your story.
It never gets less humbling when I couple chooses me, of all people, to follow them along and document their love story. The start to their forever. And it drives me to make this time in their lives nothing short of an amazing experience. I want wedding planning to be enjoyable, the groom that wants to put his input, engagement sessions to be fun, and not looking back on your wedding day as “one big photo session.” I want that kind of couple.