Over the past year we’ve been watching our students lives and businesses transform as they work their way through The Academy courses. We’ve celebrated new brand launches, increased incomes, booking goals exceeded, plus so much more! And now we want to celebrate our first two GRADUATES!!! We’re SOO proud of these two for making the time to invest in themselves and in education to propel their businesses forward, and now they’re going to share some of their take-aways, advice, and answer some fun questions!
I’m the wife to my high school sweetheart, a momma to a sassy 2 year old little girl (and my black lab), and a lover of people. I got into this business knowing that I wanted to build relationships with the people that I worked with. Photography has lead me to not only amazing clients, but some amazing photographers and other creatives!
How has your business changed since you started The Academy?
I knew The Academy would be amazing, I just didn’t know HOW amazing. I’m still kind of a newbie to this, and I just kind of JUMPED in head first. This is my 4th summer shooting weddings, and I was only shooting about 4 weddings each summer. I knew that I wanted more! Every time wedding season was over for me, I was wanting more weddings. I thought about second shooting, but didn’t like the fact that I really didn’t get to interact with the clients, so I knew what I had to do. I enrolled in the Academy, busted out the classes after my baby went to bed, and started implementing everything I was learning into my business! Up to last year, I was shooting weddings for only $800-1200. WHAT!?! You read that right. $800-1200 (depending on which year) for full day coverage, and the images via digital download. So crazy!! I had a goal this year to shoot 8 weddings, and I have 7 on the books (but 3 already for next year!)! But while it is kind of sad that I didn’t hit that goal of 8 for this year, the best part about it all is that they are absolutely my ideal clients! And they average about $2700! Just in about a years time! It’s so crazy, and i count my blessings every day!
What is your favorite piece of equipment in your bag?
My favorite piece of equipment is probably my 85 1.8. I tend to use my 70-200 more often than not, but when i bust out the 85, i remember how much i love it, and then i tend to use it over my 70-200! The bokeh is just dreamy! 😀
If you could give ONE tip to new photographers, what would it be?
Don’t do something you don’t want to do just for the money. Every time I have done that, it’s ended up a HUGE headache! And most of the time it was for family or friends.
What were your two biggest takeaways from The Academy courses?
I can only pick two!?! One of the biggest things I got out of the ENTIRE thing was the importance of outsourcing to get your life back. I ended up hiring Ben Turner for my SEO because I had NO idea what I was doing. Katelyn’s branding course was amazing, but I have NO ideas when it comes to design so I hired a designer for a rebrand. And I’ve been toying with the idea of outsourcing editing, just haven’t made THAT leap yet. It’s SO nice to have someone who knows what they’re doing, and enjoys it, do things that I don’t enjoy and that I’m not the greatest at! The second thing is just how important it is to treat our clients how we would want to be treated, and EDUCATE them! There are times that we get frustrated or can’t believe what they’re asking of us, but we have to take a step back and remember that they’ve never done this before!! We have to keep our cool, and just educate them! Educate, educate, educate!!!
If you could shoot a destination wedding anywhere in the world, where would it be?
Anywhere in the world!?!?!?! That’s such a tough one because I think I could chose something on every continent. I’d say Iceland. Kind of random, but have you seen that place?!? It’s beautiful!
How have you benefited from being a part of The Academy student community?
The Academy community is seriously amazing (geeez…how many times have I said amazing HA)! Photographers in my area can be SO strange, and almost protective over their knowledge, or shooting tips, or skills, and don’t even think about getting a chance to work with them. Being new in the business, they almost shunned me, but the Academy community NEVER did that. There’s some of us (like Brian!) that shoot 40+ weddings a year, and then some of us newbies that definitely don’t get close to that number, but everyone is so helpful, and so nice, and so gracious. It’s just an awesome group of good people!
If you could only follow one blog, who’s would it be?
Easy. Jasmine Star. She’s my spirit animal. 🙂
What’s your #1 tip for avoiding the “Wedding Hangover”?
I have two. Drink water. Like more water than you think you ever need to drink, and not just the day of, but the week leading up to the wedding. AND I have found that when i’m taking care of my body (eating right, exercising, etc.) it doesn’t only make the wedding day easier, but definitely makes the “hangover” less brutal.
Choose one word to summarize your experience with The Academy:
Inspiring! It kind of lit a spark for me and made me want to be THAT much better in my business, and with my life in general. The instructors are just good genuine people, the content is spot on, and you learn SO much! I really can’t believe how much I’ve grown in just a short time, all thanks to the Academy! 🙂
WHAT?! Misty & Brian both picked the same word? We promise they never saw each other’s responses to the questions… but seriously, we’re feeling pretty humbled that they both chose INSPIRING as their one word to summarize their experience with The Academy!
Brian and Misty, THANK YOU for being such an invaluable part of our community! We can’t wait to see what the future has in store for your businesses and lives.
CONGRATS ON GRADUATING!!!
Leave a comment to congratulate Brian & Misty!