Blogging, connections, referrals, and moving a wedding photography business

Disclaimer:  This blog is definitely long overdo, two years to be exact. I know, right? We're a little behind on our blogs, but the best part about running your own photography blog is that I've decided not to discipline myself for NOT blogging on time, and to just start now and get back on track. I figure most people probably don't read these blogs anyway, but only stop by to see the photos. Which is totally cool, that's really all I want you guys to see in the first place. I've never been great at writing but because I know it's part of the business, I will embrace it. And maybe in time, I'll get better, maybe even like it. Of course you know that Leslie has to come behind me to catch a zillion typos and spelling errors before these things go live. Wouldn't know what I'd do without her. 

Orange County, California Beaches

On January 1, 2013 we made the move to California. It's really pretty incredible to me how fast two years in California has gone by. Our first year here was gone in a zip. We were still traveling back frequently to Arkansas to photograph weddings there, I think we flew back and forth to Little Rock nine times that year. When we were here, we were busy establishing our business in Orange County. I will admit that we also spent a good amount of time at the beach. We definitely played a bit, we enjoyed life here in Southern California, the food, the beaches, the weather, Disneyland, and all the crazy various landscapes that California has within reach. We had a blast that first year, but we also came with a mission. We moved to Orange County because we wanted to continue to grow our wedding business. Of course we still love the South, that's where are families and friends are, but I was drawn to California. I knew with lots of hard work, and some serious determiniation our photography business would flourish here.  

Laguna Beach California

Our second year was tough. Without a doubt the busiest I've ever been in my career. I photographed 34 weddings last year. Most of which was second shooting or associate shooting for photographers we admire here in Orange County. I knew that when we moved our business to a completely new state, we were effectively starting over. We had to make new connections in the industry, meet new vendors, new venues, and new couples. We would have to work twice as hard to show California our reputation, because the wedding business is a business of people, connections, and love. People want to know that they can trust you, and that you are who you say you are. So that's what we did, we started connecting. Slowly building natural relationships with people we respect. 2014 was a year of lots of connections and lots of weddings, but not a lot of blogging. But that's okay, I'm reminding myself that it's never too late to start something good.

After two years I've learned a few things. I can now say I know what it's like and what it takes to move an established wedding photography business from one market to a completely new market.  I have experienced it first hand and hopefully I can now share what I learned with other photographers who are considering doing the same. I can also say that I truly understand what my parents and other influential people in my life meant when they would say the grass is not always greener on the other side... (though in this particular case, Orange County is most definitely greener than Arkansas in the winter) haha, but I understand the moral on a personal level that someone can only get with experience. I have also learned that I truly love wedding photography and I know that this industry is where I belong. I was reminded that no one gets anywhere without the help of other people, especially in this business, but also universally true. We are all connected and people need people. The wedding industry is shaped by referrals; referrals from clients, from other vendors, and from the most random connections that you'd ever imagine. Stay tuned for tomorrows blog post, I'm gonna share just one of those connections and the impact it had on us.

These two years have been a humbling experience, but one that we don't regret. We faced our fears head on, and with God's grace and love we've accomplished our goal of moving a business. Without a doubt there's been ups and downs, but we've survived two years in Orange County. Now we have a new goal, not to just survive, but to thrive here. 

This year I will blog our current work, the weddings we photographed but haven't blogged yet, my thoughts & knowledge on this industry that I love, and get back to sharing my heart and Leslie and I's life.