My 2018 Photography Journey!
I have been in business for seven whole years now! When I say God is good, he is great! So recap time... this year has brought on so much and I learned a ton from so many things I have been through. These are my top 6 from 2018.
1. MEETING MY IDOL: I got to meet my idol and the woman who no matter what changes in my photography career I will always look up to her. Jana Williams! The most amazing photographer. Actually one of the top 100 photographers in the WORLD! Yes the world! She was just as sweet in person as I imagined she would be. She gave me some great advice and has been an inspiration through her group called The Inspired Club which I joined the very first day it was open. Her style is timeless which means when the wedding treads change there are tons of people who will alway be looking for her style of shooting and she will remain in business without having to change her style of shooting or editing too much. This is us in front of the Hollywood sign. Teko, Jana and her husband Dave and I hung out for a little bit that day and it was amazing!
2. LETOYA LUCKETT: I got phone call from Mary Chatman which is the head honcho over at Black Bride magazine! (By the way if you want to become a bridal suite member let me know)
The call was to ask if I could shoot photos and video of LeToya Luckett! I was so excited like busting at the seams with excitement but I had to try and play it cool and be professional. So I said “Sure I would love to shoot for Black Bride”. When on the inside i was passing out. This opportunity was amazing for me as a business owner. I was getting the opportunity to shoot my first celebrity. The next day we hit the Dark and Lovely party hosted by Cynthia Bailey of Real Housewives of Atlanta and was able to soak up some more celebrity time. I was on top of the world.
3. TRAVELING: After the LeToya Luckett video and photo shoot I began traveling and shooting photos of all kinds of people. I loved going from state to state shooting session after session. Traveling became a huge part of my life as a photographer and I was loving it. We hit Florida a few times, California a few times, Tennessee, South Carolina, North Carolina, Texas and Alabama. I was booked solid and exhausted but so happy for all of my success. Managing a family as a single mom and being a business owner was becoming hard. I was shooting some weddings with some high profile people. This wedding in particular became a Shade Room hit for me. There were some famous faces in the building and we had a great time!
Here are a couple of people that we worked with from different states this year. Next year the destinations continue. One of my favorite photographers to shoot with while I am in California is Eliza Jane Photography.
4. WEDDING WORSHOP TIME! : I was receiving a bunch of messages from people starting out in the photography world and I loved helping. I started doing Bootcamps where I would take one person with me to each wedding or portrait session and teach them how I shoot and answer all the questions they had. This was working great but I wanted to reach more people.
The LaJoy Photography Workshop: The Wedding Day was born. I started thinking of sponsors and speakers and I wanted to make sure the workshop was going to be one to remember. (See the Workshop blog for more details about this.) The speakers I chose and the sponsors that helped me played a huge role in this first workshop. I needed all the questions I had my first year in business to be answered. I also wanted my attendees to get photos they could use for their websites and social media pages. So I selected my Bride and Groom based on how well they looked separate as well as together. I wanted everyone to enjoy themselves and learn at the same time. The workshop was a success with attendees coming from all over. I couldn’t be happier.
So I got a call from the same company that I worked with for TV show Married at First Sight. The Prodcer remembered me and wanted me to shoot another TV show that will be airing on Netflix in 2020! Of course I jumped at the opportunity. It was a great chance for me to be on TV again and to branch out and shoot with more companies. I can’t show photos yet but when I can I’m going to be sharing them like crazy. It was a eye opening experience and it allowed me to really see what the set life was about from another point of view. I have worked on 5 TV shows before but each time I do it I learn something new and meet tons of new people.
6. I switched from Nikon to Sony!! Greatest decision ever! The picture quality is amazing, the video quality is just as dope! I plan to write a whole blog on this next year with a video and everything so stay tuned for that.
7. My Photo went Viral! So I never thought this photo would go viral if one of my images did happen to go viral. Since it is taking me forever to get this image removed I am going to go ahead and blog about the image now to set the record straight.
The bride and groom had a very amazing beautiful non ghetto wedding full of love and emotion. Their engagement session was published with Black Bride Magazine and their love is something to wish for.
The parents and older crowds had already cleared out and headed home. So they were not disrespecting anyone by dancing.
The Bride and Groom are from Florida and love to just have a good time.
The child in the photo belongs to the bride and groom so… I think he is fine watching his mom and dad be silly and dance after getting married.
The bride did not expose herself or do anything that would have been considered taking things too far. So this dance is no different that the brides who twerk at their weddings on their grooms. The only difference is there are more people in the photo.
It is their damn wedding that they paid for and they don’t owe anyone an explanation. If you have something to say keep it to yourself. Especially if you are a single woman judging this beautiful black queen who is dancing with the man she is going to be spend the rest of her life with. Some of y’all do way more for men who don’t love and care about you and would never marry you. You just didn’t get to go viral because no one cares.
Don’t come for my brides!
This year has been full of ups. In 2019 I plan to continue this and let my company grow beyond my wildest dreams. The way I plan to maintain my Six Figure dream is to…
1. Mind my business! If it truly does not concern me I will be staying out of it.
2. Take each and every opportunity that God puts in front of me. There is no more staying in my lane. God lets me know what my lane is and puts me on my course. So if my hair, my photography and my experiences in life lead me in the direction of success then so be it.
3. Network more and reach more photographers and people within the wedding industry. When we collaborate and push each other to grow we succeed as a team. If we all stop viewing each other as competition then I believe we would be better off. Healthy competition however does push people to grow and it pushes us to reach for success.
4. Attend more workshops! We are never too big to grow and learn more. There are tons of photographers that can learn something from someone else and there are even more business owners who can come together to teach you how to successfully run a company.
There was a time I wanted to quit and the more I grew, the more I learned that even if 1 person reads this blog and gets something from it then I have accomplished a goal.
God Bless you all and I am wishing you much success in 2019. Keep pushing.