Home · Register · Search · View Winners · Software · Hosting · Software · Join Upload & Sell

Moderated by: Steve Tinetti, Fred Miranda
Username   Password

FM Forum Rules
Wedding Resource List
  

FM Forums | Wedding Photographer | Join Upload & Sell

1       2      
3
       end
  

How did you get to where you are today?
  
 
dgleason
Offline
• •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.3 #1 · p.3 #1 · How did you get to where you are today?


Great thread! Here's my story...

I married out of high school (best decision I ever made), and dropped out of college after only one year (worst decision I ever made). Quitting college was a mix of not really being able to afford it and just basically having no idea at all what I wanted to do with my life other than play guitar in the band I was currently in. So, I quit college and the band thing worked out for probably a year before I realized I was going nowhere with it. I then spent 8 years of my life working the night shift at a factory that made oil filters. Completely dead end job, but I made decent money so my wife and I bought a house, had two kids and tried to be happy. But we weren't..I was always too tired from working nights to do anything, I missed my family, I wanted a normal life and I wanted to do something I loved.

In came photography - About 7 years into that 8 years of factory work, I picked up a canon 50d to give my wife as a gift for her birthday. We just had our first child so I thought we needed a nice camera. She loved it, but didn't really know how to use it. So I started trying to learn along with her and it turned out that I really had a knack for it. I became almost obessed with learning the art of photography which, at the time, was hard because like I said.. I was working nights with barely enough time for my family as it was, let alone to be spending every chance I could learning and practicing photography. It felt a little selfish at the time, but in the back of my mind I always felt like maybe this was finally what I wanted to do with my life, and I was right. My wife stood by me, supported my decisions to invest in some gear when we really couldn't afford it. I got better and better and tought my wife what I knew along the way. People started asking and we started booking shoots. Somewhere in 2010/2011 my wife and I were both able to quit our jobs, though, with a lower income at the time, we did have to sell our house.

It wasn't easy and I'm not gonna lie, we had some months where we wondered if the money was going to come in, but it always did. We are still able to do what we love today and I'm happy to say I feel blessed to have the opportunity to do what I love and spend soo much time with my family.

My favorite part of the story is telling my factory co-workers that I was quitting to be a wedding photographer.. They all thought that I was completely insane! First of all they didn't know me as a creative person, they knew me as the guy who ran the seamers on 4000 line who always had oil up to his elbows. Not a very creative job - And, no one respected the idea of being a wedding photographer.. It was a chick job, it was a hobby, it was silly, it definitely wasn't a reason to quick your job. I definitely got more than my fair share of crap. Now, when I see them they always tell me how much they hate their job and how lucky I was to ever get out of that place. As I said, I count my blessings every day and I hope I can do this forever.

Dustin



Apr 07, 2014 at 03:52 PM
widjayaman
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.3 #2 · p.3 #2 · How did you get to where you are today?


My Wedding Photography journey is marked by the workshops I attended and the people I met along the way. I've been incredibly blessed with good friends, and if there's one tip I can share, this is it: relationship maters.

I shoot weddings because of Gary Fong.

In 2007, I started shooting wedding video for friends and was looking for inspiration when I stumbled upon Gary Fong's wedding video and photos ( http://garyfong1.xanga.com/2007/08/ ) and was totally blown away. Jessica Claire & Jenn Bebb were the photographers. I never knew that wedding photos could be so good. So I picked up a DSLR, started reading a lot of books, and started shooting weddings for friends. Then I did the Craigslist route (I remember it was $500 for ceremony+reception or $750 for all-day, ha.) for a while.

In 2010 I flew to California and attended Jessica Claire's workshop. It was like a dream come true - finally meeting the photographer that started it all for me. I actually didn't learn a ton from it, but it was so great to meet her and see how she worked, and that's also the first time I really felt like I belong.

Early 2011 I joined FM and was again blown away by the talents who were gracing this forum. Later that year we were looking for a photographer to shoot our growing family and I thought this Tony Hoffer dude was pretty good, so I gave him a call. The shoot was amazing, so I asked him if he teaches. I learned about Genesis.

That same year I attended Genesis 2 in Memphis which was career changing, because up until that time I feel like an outsider. Suddenly I wasn't alone anymore and I have all these amazing new friends who were so supportive and inspiring. I came home from that workshop with so much excitement and it drove my business the following year - I think I shot 22 weddings that year while working my day job as a software engineer.

In 2012 Tony was asked to speak at Foundation Conference, so a bunch of the G-alumni showed up and I got to meet more new people there. I was sitting during critique and decided then that I wanted to attend their workshop too.

This year I finally got to attend the workshop and work with some amazing people. Foundation reminded me that ultimately Wedding photography IS about serving the people we shoot for and not to ever lose sight of that.

We're also expecting our third child in June and our schedule is becoming so hectic. Tony saw a weak spot, I never knew what hit me, and now I'm working for the Hoffs.



Apr 07, 2014 at 04:22 PM
SGallant
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.3 #3 · p.3 #3 · How did you get to where you are today?


Diane - Nice to see another person that started with CL And thanks for sharing your numbers. Another great example of how far you can come in a few years!

Fraktion - welcome to the forum. Thanks for sharing your story. Another hobbyist to pro.

BK - Stole your first camera, why does that not surprise me? Glad to hear you are having the success you are. Don't forget to let us know when you are coming to NY in May, and maybe some of us locals and you can grab a beer.

Dustin - Great story, and way to have the drive to get through the tough times, and the times with no time. Your wife sounds like quite an amazing woman.

Farid - Nice story, inspiration looks to be a big driver for you!

Quite a few here started with craigslist. Interesting.



Apr 07, 2014 at 05:10 PM
vimish2651
Offline

Upload & Sell: Off
p.3 #4 · p.3 #4 · How did you get to where you are today?


" My biggest changes in my business happened when my reputation was built, and I had a portfolio I could proudly show. Now I have a bridal salon owner and staff actively referring me on top of everything else. While they would be happy to do it free. I PAY them a hefty % commission on every wedding I get (this is my choice). As I believe every wedding has a cost of acquisition, and while I expect this to go down over time. I don't believe it will ever be $0 and I want this relationship to be long term."

So are you saying that even though they would refer you for free, you still pay them a "hefty" commission on every wedding out of the kindness of your heart ? Because you " want the relationship to be a long term" one...this sounds confusng, almost as if you stopped paying them, the relationship would be "short term" ?



Apr 07, 2014 at 05:31 PM
 

Search in Used Dept. 



SGallant
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.3 #5 · p.3 #5 · How did you get to where you are today?


vimish2651 wrote:
" My biggest changes in my business happened when my reputation was built, and I had a portfolio I could proudly show. Now I have a bridal salon owner and staff actively referring me on top of everything else. While they would be happy to do it free. I PAY them a hefty % commission on every wedding I get (this is my choice). As I believe every wedding has a cost of acquisition, and while I expect this to go down over time. I don't believe it will ever be $0 and I want this relationship to be long
...Show more
Were you ever a sales person? I was. And they are motivated by money. I am sending people to them as well, but until those people start doing business that I can quantify as fair, I will continue to gladly walk into their shop and hand them a check with a big ass smile on my face. Otherwise, yes over time I believe they will either forget about you, or find someone else willing to do what I am.



Apr 07, 2014 at 05:40 PM
fstopperdown
Offline
• •
Upload & Sell: On
p.3 #6 · p.3 #6 · How did you get to where you are today?


Wow!

Great inspirational stories.






Apr 07, 2014 at 10:59 PM
NYstyles
Offline
• • •
Upload & Sell: Off
p.3 #7 · p.3 #7 · How did you get to where you are today?


Some of your stories make me want to cry! lol Im such a sap! ha ha


Apr 08, 2014 at 02:45 PM
1       2      
3
       end




FM Forums | Wedding Photographer | Join Upload & Sell

1       2      
3
       end
    
 

You are not logged in. Login or Register

Username   Password    Reset password