I think it’s one of the biggest honors when our couples refer their friends to us! It really means a lot to me any time that happens. Kala, whose wedding we photographed in 2013 has sent my way so many of her close friends, including her maid of honor, Robyn! I keep joking that I need to start offering her a commission! In all seriousness, I really love it when we get to work with close friends and family of our past couples! Robyn and Nick are such a wonderful couple too. They’re incredibly friendly and down to earth and are all about two of my favorite things…music and food!

They live right across the bridge in Arlington, so we met up with them outside of the Jefferson Memorial on Sunday afternoon for their engagement session. It was perfect! Not too crowded and the light was just beautiful!

Washington DC Wedding Photography_0008 Washington DC Wedding Photography_0009 Washington DC Wedding Photography_0010 Washington DC Wedding Photography_0012Washington DC Wedding Photography_0011Washington DC Wedding Photography_0018Washington DC Wedding Photography_0017Washington DC Wedding Photography_0016 Washington DC Wedding Photography_0019 Washington DC Wedding Photography_0021Washington DC Wedding Photography_0020 Washington DC Wedding Photography_0023

If you’re thinking about becoming a husband and wife team or if you’re already one and you’re looking for help navigating that part of the relationship, this new series is for you! I’m actually surprised I haven’t blogged much about this already…I’ve written and shared over 600 posts and nothing yet on one of the most transformative changes of my business! So crazy.

The first thing I have to say, just to get it out of the way, is that not every couple is meant to work together. And that’s perfectly fine! The key is finding out what works for you as a couple, and what DOESN’T work. Sometimes figuring out that something doesn’t quite work is more powerful information than learning about what does, if that makes sense! Don’t feel like you have to force something that isn’t working, because unlike a regular working relationship, you have your marriage to protect in this situation as well. Our relationship comes first, so if us working together ever came to harm that, we’d have to figure out something different. And, end disclaimer.

Photo by Katelyn James

So now that that’s out of the way, here’s some tips for getting started as a married photography team!

Ask yourselves some questions. Why are you doing this? Why is this important to you? What do you want your partner’s involvement in your business to be?

Talk about your expectations. You’ll want to take the time to sit down and get all of your expectations out there on the table. What do you expect your partner’s role in your business to be? Second shooter? Second shooter and financial guru? Or do you envision them becoming more of a full blown business partner? You should also find out what your partner expects. Do they envision themselves helping out every weekend? Or do they only want to commit to two weekends a month? Lots of people who bring on their partner have a partner who still works full time during the week. Is it a long term goal of yours for your partner to join you full time eventually? All important things to think about and discuss. You’ll also find that maybe after a while your vision for what the working relationship looks like evolves over time, so it’s important to continue this conversation as time passes. This isn’t a one and done discussion.

Think about your finances. A lot of people have the misconception that working with your spouse is actually cheaper than working with contracted second shooters. It really isn’t! In addition to paying your spouse (I’ll cover that more in my next point), you also need more equipment than the average one person photographer business.  I’m not saying you have to run out and buy a second copy of every piece of gear you already own, but you will definitely need to invest in a third camera (so you have at least one backup) and another lens. John and I both have 50mm lenses (we shoot with those 80 percent of the day) and our own flashes, but we share the rest of our gear throughout the rest of the day. Depending on your shooting style, you may want to consider investing in more key pieces. Besides gear, other things cost us more money too…like food before and after events, any workshops or conferences we go to together, airfare, train tickets, etc.

Figure out compensation. I think it’s very important to pay your spouse/partner if they’re going to be working for you in any capacity. Why wouldn’t you pay them just because you’re married to them? Especially if the extent of their work for you means they are giving up their Saturdays for all of the nicest months of the year. I also think it’s important to pay them because it establishes a DISTINCT working relationship in addition to rewarding them for their hard work. You’d be paying a second shooter anyway, so paying that amount to your bestie (What?? Not everyone refers to their husband as their bestie??) should be a natural transition.

Do a trial run. John and I started working together at the beginning of our 2013 season. Prior to that, he had been assisting me at weddings…mostly carrying my things or going to grab something for me when I needed it. Our first month or two shooting together was something we considered a trial to see how things went. Maybe John would decide weddings weren’t really his thing after all, or maybe for whatever reason, it just wouldn’t work out the way we thought it would. You can’t know after only one wedding if something is working…some weddings go PERFECTLY and some are more stressful, so trying it out over the course of several weddings is important.

Another very important piece of bringing your partner into your business as a photographer is ensuring that they’re able to produce quality images you’ll be able to deliver to your clients. Next time in Teaming Up – Tips for Married Photographer Teams, we’ll talk about how to teach your partner to shoot…AND how to teach them how to shoot like you do!

If you’re following me on Instagram, you might already know this….but if not, the secret’s out now! I’m changing up my brand! I don’t want to call it a full rebrand, because I intend on keeping my logo (you might see it in a new color, though!) but it’s going to be a re-vamped, updated version of Katie Nesbitt Photography.

This brand was my first real brand! I made the decision to work with Ravyn about a year after shooting my first wedding, and it’s one of the best choices I ever made for my business. At the time, I was shooting all of my weddings and sessions with a used 50D camera body I bought off of Ebay and renting my lenses. I only owned a 50 1.4, my main camera body, and a Rebel backup at the time. Most people probably thought it was silly to invest on a brand, on “looks” at the time, especially not having pro level equipment at the time, but I felt strongly about my decision. I’ve seen this phrase floating around social media and it’s very true for me….”You can rent your gear, but you can’t rent your brand, or your client experience”. Branding is a huge investment at any point in your career, but it’s one that I think is one of the most important you can make.

Current Site

So why have I decided to move on from this look to the next big thing? After three years of having the custom, unique website that Ravyn built for me and growing my business exponentially in that time, I am starting to feel ready to grow a little bit more. Like I wrote in this post, I feel like your brand should be like a comfortable pair of jeans you have. The kind that give you room to grow. Since I feel like I’m growing out of my current branding, I figured it was time to do something new! And what better time than now since we are going to be launching our new promo film soon too??

As important as it is to invest in a great brand from the start, it’s also really important to keep re-evaluating yourself and be sure that your brand continues to be relevant and represent you really well. Branding is definitely not a one and done thing. Even companies who have extremely recognizable brands like Wendy’s or Dominos change up their branding when their message has changed or their old branding starts to feel less representative of them. For small business owners, it should be no different! As you grow, you should continue to evaluate things and see where you are.

For my brand “upgrade” I’m working with Three Fifteen Design again! I am thrilled to be working with her. She’s amazing! And if you’re interested, here are a few peeks at some inspiration I pulled to share with her as we start out on this project:

Marriott Ranch Wedding Photography_0064

Not too different, but a more refined, look that suits 2015 and beyond me a bit more. I’ve shown a few close friends so far and the feedback I’m hearing is that this really looks like “me”!  I’m really excited about where this new adventure is headed and I can’t wait to see how it all comes together!

Over the weekend I had the opportunity to attend a calligraphy workshop with Sincerely Amy Designs and As You Wish Events! After meeting Amy last year and working with her several times since then, I’ve come to love her, and her work. She is such a sweet, down to earth person, and she’s ridiculously talented too! When she announced she was hosting a workshop, I was actually in Italy at the time, but I decided I needed to go ahead and book my seat so I didn’t miss out. That’s how much I wanted to go!

Sincerely Amy Designs Workshop

It was so much fun to make a few new friends and spend the afternoon learning something new. I’ve been playing around with calligraphy for a little while, but this was my first opportunity to learn from a pro.  I think it’s so important for photographers and other creative people to pick up other artistic hobbies as a way to stay creative in our own fields. And really, I’ve learned that life is just too short to not jump into things you really want to do, whether that’s calligraphy or anything else.

This was my last weekend off for about 8 weeks…by the time I have another Saturday off, it will be summertime! Here’s to busy season, and to all 9 of our couples who are getting married between now and the end of June!

Hope you guys have a great week!!

 

I think I wrote on Facebook that if I could photograph Darby and Chad’s wedding every single weekend, I would. Once you see these images and hear about how wonderful the two of them are, you’ll totally understand why. Darby and Chad are two of the kindest, most thoughtful people I’ve ever met, much less gotten to work with. Every interaction with them, from the initial email, to skyping to get to know each other before they booked us, their engagement session (where they put us up in a hotel AND surprised us with treats), to the way they welcomed us on their wedding day, has been such a joy! Darby gave ME a present on her wedding day! How sweet is she?? Add to their amazingness the fun, accommodating group that was their bridal party and you have an epic wedding day that couldn’t be dampened by a little rain.

I also really enjoy working with vendor friends when I can! Dear Sweetheart Events was the wedding planner and did all of the lush florals and Sincerely Amy Designs did the calligraphy. Don’t miss the escort cards she created! They’re probably the most unique I’ve seen…and the kind I’d most like to receive if I was moonlighting as a wedding guest! The rest of the awesome vendor team is credited at the end of the post.
Marriott Ranch Wedding Photography_0001 Marriott Ranch Wedding Photography_0003Marriott Ranch Wedding Photography_0004Marriott Ranch Wedding Photography_0005Marriott Ranch Wedding Photography_0006Marriott Ranch Wedding Photography_0007Marriott Ranch Wedding Photography_0002Marriott Ranch Wedding Photography_0008Marriott Ranch Wedding Photography_0010 Marriott Ranch Wedding Photography_0012Marriott Ranch Wedding Photography_0013 Marriott Ranch Wedding Photography_0014 Marriott Ranch Wedding Photography_0015 Marriott Ranch Wedding Photography_0016 Marriott Ranch Wedding Photography_0017 Marriott Ranch Wedding Photography_0018 Marriott Ranch Wedding Photography_0019Marriott Ranch Wedding Photography_0020 Marriott Ranch Wedding Photography_0021 Marriott Ranch Wedding Photography_0022 Marriott Ranch Wedding Photography_0023 Marriott Ranch Wedding Photography_0025 Marriott Ranch Wedding Photography_0026 Marriott Ranch Wedding Photography_0027 Marriott Ranch Wedding Photography_0029 Marriott Ranch Wedding Photography_0030Marriott Ranch Wedding Photography_0032Marriott Ranch Wedding Photography_0033Marriott Ranch Wedding Photography_0031Marriott Ranch Wedding Photography_0034 Marriott Ranch Wedding Photography_0035 Marriott Ranch Wedding Photography_0037 Marriott Ranch Wedding Photography_0038Marriott Ranch Wedding Photography_0040 Marriott Ranch Wedding Photography_0041 Marriott Ranch Wedding Photography_0042 Marriott Ranch Wedding Photography_0044 Marriott Ranch Wedding Photography_0045 Marriott Ranch Wedding Photography_0046

Vendors:
Photography: Katie Nesbitt, Venue + Catering: Marriott Ranch, Planner + Florist: Dear Sweetheart Events, Videographer: John Clark, Cake: Lemon Tulip Bakery, Hair + Makeup: Claudine Fay, Stationery: Shannon Joy Paperie,Calligraphy: Sincerely Amy Designs, Bridal Gown: Curvaceous Couture, Men’s suits: Vera Wang, Ceremony Musician: Jordan Clawson