Path to Business - Podcast

Accidentally, on Purpose, a Photography Business

May 20, 2020

Grey Loft Studio
We met online 10 years ago, fell in love, 3 babies, lots of cameras, and here we are. Want to know more about our story? 
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Path To Business Podcast - A Photography Business - Accidentally, On Purpose - Grey Loft Studio - Ottawa - New Podcast

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Accidentally, on Purpose, a Photography Business that started from a push present that I begged my husband to buy me. Honestly, growing up I never thought I would own my own business which is silly. On my mom’s side more than half of my family are entrepreneurs. When photographers tell a story they usually say that they’ve always loved taking photos. What happened with me is that I never really gave that passion a chance.

The reason that could be is that I didn’t see how becoming a photographer could even be a business. How could it be profitable in any way? I knew that I wanted to be successful, hence wanting to get a law degree. To be honest, having a law degree doesn’t even. guarantee success! I did, however, love to capture moments and knew the importance of doing so. Capturing moments happened more often when I was little. Scrapbooks are available to prove it. In my teens, this changed as digital options became more popular.

Moments were my inspiration

My love for capturing moments inspired me because I did move a lot as a child. My dad was in the military and my mother moved us around schools a lot. This was because of my brother’s disability. Having a learning disability made it hard for him to fit in. I often found myself using disposable cameras and having my family print my photos. I cut them into funny shapes and glued them in my scrapbook. It’s still something fun to look at today.

I grew up wanting to be a lawyer but soon after I started university at Carleton I knew that it wasn’t for me. A new sense of freedom being away at school and got a job working in a bank part-time. Falling in love with managing money and sales I thought for sure I would have a career in finance. I found myself some really amazing opportunities and even though I felt secure in my position I took a leap.

Taking chances don’t always pay off

This leap leads me to a contract while I was pregnant. As soon as I told them I was things changed, very obviously. My job suddenly felt uneasy and difficult. On the last day of my probation, I got a call into HR at 3 pm to be told I was being let go. Being 8 months pregnant, I was furious. I was devastated and embarrassed.

Looking back in retrospect it was a sign. I was unhappy and not doing what I loved doing. Accidentally, or on purpose created a business while I was on maternity leave with my first baby. It still came about accidentally because I was only looking to get practice and get better at taking photos of others. Then I was good enough people wanted to give me money, who knew.

Try something new

While at a “mommy & me” class I was chatting with a mom about my “fancy” camera. It felt like a fun opportunity to take photos for all the moms. I know how much it meant to have good photos of my baby and it was something I wanted to do for others. We ended up organizing a “play date” where moms could bring decorations and cute outfits and get a few cute photos done for free. Who knew that we would have twelve plus babies show up but it was fun, exhausting, but fun.

After this, I was hooked. Traveling to Florida shortly after with the family I started taking a lot of photos of us and my cousins family. More and more inspired I became. Everyone and anyone who wanted photos I would take them from families, newborns, weddings, and even dogs. Trying all types of photography really was my goal to figure out what I loved the most.

What type of Photography

In my first year, I started buying lots of equipment. Different props, backgrounds, and lenses, but one of the biggest expenses I incurred was purchasing a really expensive DSLR, a Canon 5D Mark III and a Canon 24-70mm 2.8. It was a huge investment but I bought it out of fear. Fear that people would think that I was a fraud because I didn’t have the fanciest camera to take photos. Even though I was great at taking photos and directing people, deep down I was disappointed in the level of quality that my photos had.

Getting obsessed with learning photoshop, how to pose, marketing, and how to run a business I think was a big factor for me. Pursuing a passion is one thing, but turning it into a profitable business is another. It wasn’t ever my intention to do it full-time, ever. Truly it was my unhappiness at my 9-5 job that was pushing me more into doing what I love doing now.

Quitting is never easy

Once I decided to quit my job on a whim, that’s a story for another blog post or podcast, it all kind of started to happen. Immediately I hired a business coach to keep myself accountable. Ensuring my success and it was a game-changer in my business. Soon realizing that I just needed a solid cheerleader in my life to keep me going is key.

Most of my learning was done online through online courses using Creative Live as one of my main go-to’s. In my mind, I always looked up to Jasmine Star and Ana Brandt for the two types of photography. Unbelievable that I have hosted two Ana Brandt workshops in my studio now, twice! Truly a dream come true in my world and something I will forever be grateful for.

Time to grow, in more ways than one!

In the back of my mind however, I knew that I needed someone else to join me in this business. Doing things all by myself isn’t really like me. I enjoy delegating. Fast forward to 2018 when Luc officially joined the Grey Loft Team full-time and it was a decision that was met by others with some push-back. Of course, it’s always family, but lucky for us they don’t control our actions.

This is story of how I got started in my business but be sure to follow along as I will be sharing more details about the true “up’s and down’s” of this journey with you.

Path To Business Podcast - A Photography Business - Accidentally, On Purpose - Grey Loft Studio - Ottawa - New Podcast - How to Start a Photography Business

Check out our next episode all about “Building a Dream Wedding Venue” here.

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