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

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.

Shotguns to Surfboards...We're moving to California!

California Sunset October is a pretty special month for Leslie and I. This year on the 5th, we celebrated our 2 year wedding anniversary! It's really hard to believe that it's been two years already since we've been married. It is true what they say, time flies when your having fun! These two years with my bride have been a blast, of course there have been some tough times as well. I have poured my entire energy into my company and had to learn very quickly what my priorities are and why I was working so hard. October also marks my 3rd full year in business. I know that I am still very young with my business and I have many more goals I would like to achieve, but I am very proud to say that I have made it this far. Leslie has been an amazing partner and support system the entire time. I can honestly say that without her I'm not sure I would still have the same zeal and love for weddings that I've had from day one. I absolutely love what I do and cannot imagine doing anything other than photographing weddings. Leslie probably never thought that she would have become such a huge part of our business and now I know that together we make a great team. For that I am extremely thankful and feel very blessed.  We are both so appreciative and fortunate that we have been able to be a part of so many wonderful couples lives. More and more we are seeing how extremely important the role is that we play, as wedding photographers.

For the last 3 years I have operated a successful wedding photography business in Little Rock, pouring all of my time, energy, thoughts, and heart into building a brand with an excellent reputation. Together Leslie and I are now beginning to see the rewards of that hard work. My name as a wedding photographer in Arkansas is known. We have spent lots of advertising dollars in various ways so that our name would be seen and that the many other successful vendors and amazing people in the Central Arkansas would have a chance to see that we intend to stick around and be a big part of this wonderful industry. And now after 3 years, I'm so glad that we did spend the money, but we now see more than ever how important word of mouth is. At least 60% of our brides have been referrals from another past bride or another photographer that has spoken highly of us. This is such a huge compliment to us, nothing lets us know that we are doing are job better than a bride that is so happy with her wedding photos that she is excited and proud to tell all her friends who her wedding photographer was. And for this, Leslie and I want to say thank you once again to all of our amazing couples that have allowed us into their lives. And thank you to every single photographer, friend, and family member who has ever referred a couple to us. We truly would not be where we are today without that support from so many people.

So I guess I should get back to the title of my blog now and let everyone in on our big news. Yes, we are moving to Southern California the first of the year!!

You're probably thinking why? Why after 3 years of pouring everything into a business that is now just beginning to take off would you relocate to another area and start all over again? Well here's the short answer ... I like a challenge. And now I have someone who will stand next to me and give me the courage I once lacked. The long answer is this:

Leslie and I will continue working under the brand that we have built, Eli Murray Weddings. We will still be working in Little Rock and all of Arkansas. This is still where our family is and still an area that we love. In fact a better term for what we are actually doing is expanding to California, stretching our legs a bit. California is just one stop in our journey through this life together. We may love it and stick around for a long while, or try a new state after learning to surf and trying all the taco choices at Taco Asylum. The truth is, in this mobile/digital day-and-age, business can operate from just about anywhere in the world. Almost all communication is email, text, phone, or Skype now. Of course there are some times which we would need to see our clients face to face, like for engagements, bridal portraits, and the wedding day, haha. The good news is, we will still be maintaining our clients here in Arkansas. As of right now, we have eight weddings on the books in Arkansas for 2013. This means that we will be flying back early and staying a little bit to visit with family and friends for those dates. We still welcome new clients and past clients for meetings or sessions when we are in town. And we will continue to book weddings in Arkansas, as long as our calendar allows. Most of all, we want everyone to know that we are just a plane flight away. So to finish up our 2012 wedding season here in Arkansas we still have a few more weddings and portrait sessions on the books, lots of packing, switching accounts, and all the fun stuff that comes along with moving. I know that new scenery is always good for a visual artist. I know that we will continue to grow as photographers and bring that new excitement to every shoot and wedding that we do. So after our last wedding for the year on December 29th, Leslie and I will be loading the Penske truck and getting on the road to Southern California. We are so excited to be able to tell everyone the news! We welcome any questions that you guys may have. Please leave us some love and wish us luck. Of course doing anything different is a little scary and will definitely be difficult, but we know that with God by our side, lots of hard work, and the continued support from so many, we'll be just fine. We also want everyone to know that after the new year, if any of our Arkansas friends are ever in So Cal, please let us know. We would love to meet up and show you our new town!

-Eli and Leslie

WPPI - Epic West Coast Road Trip 2012

Today Leslie and I are leaving, headed out for our second annual 2 week Epic Road trip to the west coast. I'm not saying we are going to make a habit of this, but you may remember last years trip. This time we are going with two of our friends. Four photographers packed into a Prius with 4,000 miles of driving ahead of them. Our journey will take us to the Grand Canyon for two days. Then off to the coast. First in Laguna Beach, California for a couple more days, then up the Pacific Coast Highway to San Francisco, where we will stay in "Japan Town". After a few days in San Fran we head to Las Vegas, Nevada for the largest convention for Wedding Photographers in the United States, WPPI. For the next two weeks we will be shooting, driving, blogging, tweeting, facebooking, eating, and some very little sleeping. Sometimes all at the same time, haha, but also soaking in the wonderfully beautiful country as we travel from one location to the next.