What was your first job after college? I worked at Anthropologie where I ended up spending most of my paycheck on clothes…. Then I did a little human resources for a while, and I also walked dogs for a couple months until I booked enough weddings to go full-time.
How did you get from your degree to photography? As an english major, I was thinking I’d go into publishing or maybe law school. I really didn’t have a plan when I graduated, but I always loved taking photos. One of my best friends got married and I took a few photos at her wedding, and loved it. My friends suggested I shoot weddings as a job, which I had never considered. I taught myself everything, whether it was youtube tutorials, second shooting for photographers I admired, going to workshops, or just adventuring with my friends and taking photos of them! The more I shot, the more I learned. For a long time, I carried my camera with me everywhere I went. Eventually, more people wanted me to shoot their weddings, and it just went from there!
What is some advice you can give to other aspiring photographers on how to attract clients? I think one of the most important things as a photographer is to let people know you care. It is a very intimate job; I basically shadow brides and grooms on their wedding day. My main goal is to get to know them, the photos they want, and also be there as a friend. On a more business-related side, Instagram has been very helpful in attracting clients. I haven’t been posting much these days (I am editing too much!) but if you post your images, and use appropriate #wedding hashtags, people will see your work. Also, submit to blogs. That was huge in the beginning of my career – when I had my first shoot published on Style Me Pretty, I jumped out of my chair and danced around the room.
What is the hardest part about being an entrepreneur? And the best? The hardest part is that you are never done. At the end of the day, there is always more work to do to better your company. Especially when you work from home like I do. It’s hard to ignore my desk and not think about all the things I could still be working on. I’ve had to teach myself to stop working when my husband comes home at the end of the day. Sometimes there is also doubt and fear of failure, but you can’t let that stop you. The BEST part is the other side of that! You own your own business! You are your own boss. There are a lot of challenges, but when you accomplish something significant, it is very rewarding.
Have you had one wedding, location and/or shoot in particular that you absolutely loved? Oh my gosh, there are so many. Just this past weekend I shot one of my close friends’ weddings and it was incredible! I honestly don’t know if I can pick a favorite, but I can tell you some photography-related moments that I love: when the groom sees his bride walking down the aisle, parents tearing up during ceremonies, epic wedding dancefloor antics, working with friendors, traveling to new places and seeing everything for the first time, that feeling when you get a perfectly lined up/styled photograph (even better when it’s candid), and all the iphone selfies with my husband and dog. All those things are things I absolutely love!
What are your goals or dreams for yourself and your business? This is always the hardest question. My husband also owns his business and he is very goal-oriented in the sense that he writes things down, and has a business plan. I am the complete opposite. I have goals in mind, kind of, but nothing written down on paper. I am happy with where my photography business at the moment. If anything, I’d like to add more brand content photo shoots. I co-own Wells + Grace with my best friend (@laurenswells) and we have done a few shoots since we started the company in the beginning of the year. I am loving that, and hope to do more of it! I think my main goal is to stay challenged and keep being creative in new ways. Recently I’ve been writing a book, which is completely different from wedding photography! Even if it doesn’t go anywhere, if I can say: hey, I wrote a novel-length story (!), then I will feel accomplished. I like to find things that interest me, focus really hard on them, and then see what happens.
Currently listening to: I’m not much of a music person. I mean, I listen to music but I couldn’t tell you what’s what. I like all the popular dance tunes (jt, t.swift, selena gomez)… what can I say?! When I’m in the car these days, I’ve been switching back and forth between Stephen King’s the Stand and The Nest by Cynthia D’Aprix Sweeney.
Recently bought: A pair of navy scalloped shorts from Madewell and a box of Spindrift blackberry seltzer (addicted).
Currently planning a trip to: When wedding season is over, my husband and I are planning on going to either Kennebunkport or Charleston! We are also going to Nantucket in the fall, which is one of my favorite places to visit.