We started 2010 with Leah still in Grad school (Master’s in Social Work!) and me still working my day job at a software company. We photographed a few weddings in the spring, started our Internship program in the summer, and then when Leah started her new job with CARE last August – I left my day job and went full time with the photography. There are roughly 100 photos in this post – waaay too many – but they give some idea of how our year went.
We’ve always said that we prefer to photograph anything and everything we want to photograph – as opposed to finding our niche, targeting that market, and specializing. There are many reasons that are sound, logical, and make good business sense for ‘working your niche’ – we’ve just always chosen to do whatever we want (generally speaking) – and what we want is to photograph much of what we see and do. We’re not the photographers who won’t even think about pulling out their cameras unless a client meets their our point. Sure – profitability is a concern and focus of ours – but so is simply making beautiful photos – or at least photos that we’re interested in making.
Rather than ‘specializing’ in weddings, or family portraits – part of the reason we photograph so much of everything else (Anime!) is because we need new ideas – and we’re always wanting to try them out. You can’t take as many risks during a wedding (In Boston!) as you can during a model photoshoot, or a photobooth for the High Museum. We practice and try out new ideas every time we pick up our cameras.
We did a lot in 2010 and it ran by us pretty quickly. We went from doing this part time on the weekends – to teaching a workshop in Montreal, Canada and Kathmandu, Nepal. We photograph weddings because we still find them to be one of the most challenging events to photograph (and do well). We’re extremely fortunate that clients such as the High Museum of Art, the Atlanta Opera, and Coca Cola continue to hire us for gigs. Just before I went full time photography, Mark Hubbard of Renew Social Ventures came into our lives and made it possible for us to have an amazing studio space to use for photoshoots AND for the workshops that we provide for our Interns – including our Photography Business Marketing Workshop.
The Internship is one of our biggest endeavors – and it’s both free and unpaid. Along with running and working our own photography business – the Internship takes up as much time if not more. Organizing, working with, and teaching 10 photographers every three months is a considerable undertaking. One of our biggest concerns has always been, whether or not our Internship is worth the sacrifice and cost (for the Interns.) It’s even more important now since we have photographers moving (or commuting!) to Atlanta from out of state – including North Carolina, Florida – and coming in January, Colorado. Yes – we have an intern coming in from Colorado to work with us for three months.
Of course – while it’s easy to think everything’s been great and amazing – it all comes at a price. We’ve neglected our friends, our families, and sometimes each other. In 2011 we aim to move forward, make another leap in progress (business-wise) but at the same time slow down. Of course – not to confuse matters – we’re always going to go all out. While we mostly try not to repeat the same mistakes – I’m definitely always making NEW mistakes – and that’s probably a very good thing. It’s hard to come to terms with sometimes – but making mistakes means you’re trying something different from what always works – because failing is clearly something we’re not afraid to do (considering how often I’ve failed in the past.)
In 2011 we have weddings booked in Maine, New Jersey, Michigan (2), California (2), Alabama, Florida, North & South Carolina – and even a few here in Georgia. Most of the couples haven’t ever met us and they won’t meet us until probably the day before their wedding. That’s amazing and we’re absolutely grateful and appreciate that anyone would take such a risk on us (of course – we also offer our 100% money guarantee – even ALL travel fees!)
This year I flew out to Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Pomona, California – just for the day – to photograph a family portrait and an engagement session – that was both fun and really tiring – and something I never thought I’d be doing. Not only that – but I photographed a series of family portraits out in Phoenix, Arizona – and all of them were booked while I was here in Atlanta.
One of things we’re most proud of from this past year is the fact that we’ve been able to contract or refer just under 10k in photography work to current and Alumni Interns. Yes. 10k. That’s money paid out directly to the Alumni/Interns – and all of that was done in the last four months. This year we’re hoping to refer even more than that – because the fact is that Leah and I can’t take on everything that comes our way – and we love being able to send paying work over to our Interns.
So here we are on the brink of 2011. Enough talk. Let’s Go.
Atlanta. Wedding. Photographers. Travel. Photography. Internship. Interns. Program. Photobooth.