My epiphany or “ah ha” moment happened one a Saturday morning when I went to tie up my tie for a wedding shoot. Let me start by saying I appreciate ties, I understand how “dapper” one can look with it wrapped around their neck and they really work for some, but not on me. Standing there on this occasion I was reminded of my 8th grade graduation and slowly zipping up my black leather tie. So on this particular wedding day I just knew I felt uncomfortable and I didn’t feel sincere or honest about myself. Somewhere along the way I got lost.
Now let’s go back to the beginning when I met my wife. That’s where life begins right? When I met my wife I had finally come home after what was nearly the better part of ten years of backpacking and wandering across the world. I was completely out of money, found myself living in my parents basement, no job nor any real prospects, had an old pick-up truck with a lift and oversized tires, had more piercings than most, wore flip flops at every occasion and really didn’t have too much going on. Some people call this “the twenties.” was at this point that a friend introduced me to this young, beautiful, educated woman with a car and place of her own. Now I know what you’re thinking... what would a cool guy like me see in a girl like that?
So how is meeting my wife and growing my business alike? I’m glad you asked. We all have a story and I think we should be proud of our story. Being unique is what make us attractive and desirable and when we treat our business like everyone else’s business what are we saying? We’re telling people that you can get this anywhere. When I met Colleen, I loved her story, I admired her passion for school, her work ethic, that she was raised on a farm and that she was different from me. My wife loved that I explored the world, spent my childhood camping and wandering through the woods, was creative and had dreams that were all too often crazy to her. It didn’t hurt that I also had long luscious curly hair (lol).
What I decided shortly after the day of the “tie” was that I wasn’t telling my story, I was telling someone else’s. What if I was pretending to be something else when I met Colleen, she may have seen right through me. I felt I was told to blend in, act this way or that way, use these actions, shoot this way, do what the successful people were doing and the customers will come and the business will grow.
I was still working hard, delivering a good product. Business was growing slowly but I was personally flatlining. The novelty of simply booking and shooting was slipping, however I did enjoy living outside my parents house again. So I was happy for that. (I love my mom, tell her that if you see her.)
What I found was a simple revelation: people do want variety. Once I started to sell my lifestyle, my specific style of photography and my experiences, I found that like-minded clients were coming and if they weren’t into my lifestyle, at least they found my story refreshing. My life had been spent backpacking, hiking and traveling the world. Once I told people that’s what I specialized in, they would see if they shared this personal vision and they could evaluate if I was a good fit. Of course it took time but that’s part of operating a business. You need to have goals and be prepared for things to go slowly and they may get worse before they get better. I couldn’t just come out and say to people that I have slept in villages in Africa, hiked in Patagonia, or tell them about the time I had dysentery in India, hoping they would want to shoot a wedding in the Rocky Mountains. What I had to do was change my culture, change my appearance and make my business an extension of me.
Things I do:
We all have a story to tell and we need to be ourselves. I guess it’s because I’m old now but one last thing I have learned is this... not everyone is going to like me or my photography but the ones that do, really like me. I’ll take that.
I started my photography career while walking through the narrow streets of Burma nearly 20 years ago. During an extended trip through remote, and not so remote, parts of India, Burma, China and other wonderful places in Asia, I first began my love affair with photography. That fateful trip was one of many to new and exciting countries around the world, over 75 and still counting. I continue to live and work as a wedding and fine art photographer in Canada along with my beautiful wife and three tiny backpackers.
To view more of Carey’s work, visit him here.
My husband and I craved some sun and sand for our honeymoon. We wanted to go on an adventure together, to come back with an awesome experience and not go on a “standard" honeymoon. We were able to settle on Cuba.
The turquoise waters of the Bahamas, the dramatic Rocky Mountains, the vistas of Iceland- endless romantic images pop into our minds when we think of destination weddings. And that is why, almost every wedding photographer at some point wants to give them a go.
So we’re going to tell you how to find them, book them, and prep for them.
The formula is simple.
clients you love + photography you are excited about + doing it your way = happy photographer
We think a shift should be made in photography. A happiness shift. You likely got into photography because you love taking photographs. And then the reality of making a living at it started to creep in, and you became bound to jobs you didn’t really want to do, because you needed the money. We’ve been there, and yep, it stinks.