Today marks the one-year anniversary of me starting this business! I really can’t believe it. I feel like it’s gone by so fast and yet so slow all at the same time. It’s been a year full of SO much learning and growing and it’s crazy to look back and see where this whole thing started. For those who don’t know much about me or this business, I wanted to take today to explain how I got started and the heart behind what I do!
I first learned about photography from my dad. He loved taking pictures (of our family, landscapes, and sports) and so I developed my first interest in it from watching him! When I was a kid I loved getting to use his fancy camera and would take pictures of anything and everything. Flash forward to 3 years ago and Seth and I were talking seriously of getting married and taking a pre-marriage class at our church. Like every soon-to-be-engaged girl, I started up a Pinterest board with my dreams for our wedding and through this process discovered a few photographers whose work I fell in love with. I started following them on social media and loved seeing the beautiful images they created! I quickly realized that I wanted to create images like that too.
I still remember telling Seth for the first time that I thought I wanted to do wedding photography. He was so supportive and confident that I could do it. At that point, I didn’t even have a real camera! But, I didn’t let that stop me. I read every blog I could, watched countless webinars, and learned about SEO and website building. I did a TON of research! I also looked at tons of portfolios of photographers to see what style I wanted to learn for myself. About 5 months later I got a camera from my family as a Christmas present and I hit the ground running! I asked friends to model for me (shoutout to my first models Catherine and Adam!) and did tons of free sessions for friends and friends of friends to really learn what I was doing and develop that style I loved. After a year of practicing and taking a few courses from a photographer I admire (Katelyn James!), I knew the time had come to launch this business!
I was so nervous to officially put this passion of mine out there, but I knew at some point I had to take the plunge and do it and I am so glad I did! This past year in business has been amazing. I’ve had the opportunity to photograph and second shoot at almost 20 weddings, shoot senior sessions of 40 graduates, and participate in 2 styled shoots (one that I hosted myself!). It was a ton of work and it was a bit slow getting started, but once I developed a network and a brand I found myself shooting all the time and loving every second of it! However, I would not have had such a successful first year without the people who helped me get here. Seth supported and encouraged me the whole time and developed his own passion for photography in the process! He second shoots and assists me at weddings and I love getting to work with him! I am also so grateful for another College Station photographer Shelby Tsika who took a chance on me and asked me to second shoot my first wedding with her. We have now worked together on countless weddings and have become good friends in the process! I’ve made so many other friends in this industry and while I can’t name them all, I am so lucky to have had such support from within the wedding industry, especially from other photographers.
The one thing that shocked me the most about the photography industry is how supportive and kind the community is. The photographers I know and follow are all the sweetest people who have a genuine love for what they do and the people they serve. Not only that, but they are excited to help and support other photographers! I’ve never felt a sense of competition from anyone, even from those who many would see as direct competitors. It has been the greatest gift to get to know these people and for anyone who is just starting out in photography – don’t be afraid to reach out to me or others with your questions! Everyone is willing to help you and the community can’t be beat.
While I learned a lot about the technical aspects of photography this year, I also learned about working with people and serving my clients. I love getting to meet my seniors and couples and capture the joy of this season of their lives! It’s the best thing about being a photographer. I get to meet so many new people and plan a fun session/wedding with them that is exactly what they dreamed of and then go spend time with them taking their pictures. This year I really focused on developing a client experience that helps them to relax and ENJOY the shoot! I wanted them to have a good time and enjoy the process of getting their pictures taken, even if it isn’t something they would normally like. I feel like this strategy has helped so much with being able to capture genuine photos because when people are more relaxed, they look more natural, and they are happier with the photos!
So there you have it! My first year in business! It’s been quite a year but I am thinking year 2 will be even better. I have exciting things planned here at Reilly Lynn Photography and am looking forward to serving even more couples and seniors in 2019!