An Unexpected Start
Hello everyone, welcome to a reflection of my 12-year journey in the wedding industry. It feels surreal but indeed, I shot my last wedding in September 2023. Looking back, I’ve realized that I am the type of person who keeps it moving all the time, rarely taking moments to sit and ponder upon all that I’ve accomplished.
But as I move towards new horizons, be it the next goal or the next venture, I’ve taken some time to reflect upon my entire 12-year story in the wedding industry. From the inception to the good and the bad moments, the beautiful transformation, and of course, the winding up of it all, everything has been a mix of chaos and charm.
The Journey to Wedding Photography
Back in 2011 when a family friend gifted me a camera, I used to play around with it, taking pictures of the most mundane things one could imagine. My career kicked off not by shooting extravagant weddings or magnificent landscapes, but by capturing pictures of trees, grass, and the sun.
From there, my journey evolved. I was intrigued by the fashion world, always eager to dress up my sisters in different outfits, emulating editorial magazine spreads. This is when I started dabbling in posing models and making the most of the Nikon DSLR I had. Gradually, my love for capturing people, emotions, and stories took over my love for shooting inanimate objects. This realization led to the beginning of my wedding photography journey.
The Power of SEO and Stepping into Full-Time Business
Despite initial hiccups like navigating pricing, handling client servicing, and adjusting to the changing trends of the industry, my wedding photography business took off, propelled by the magic of Search Engine Optimization (SEO). It was a journey of tremendous growth and learning with every passing year. Amidst all the chaos, I also started to develop a fascination for business.
The sudden realization that I was running a business was bittersweet. The feeling of elation from booking high-end clients was often marred by the frustration from missed deadlines and miscalculated proposals. The road to becoming a wedding CEO was paved with lessons that no business school could have possibly taught me.
The Downside: Dealing with Overwork and Grief
After riding the high waves of business success, I was hit by a personal tragedy. My grandmother, who was more of a best friend than just a blood relation, passed away. The grief hit me like a freight train. Coping with her loss while managing an excessively demanding business became impossible.
Following her passing, I made the pivotal decision to outsource my editing, allowing me to take a step back and reevaluate my work processes. For the first time, I began to critically look at my business structure and started to seek ways to introduce systems and infrastructures that could make my venture less reliant on me, while still maintaining the quality and standard of output.
The Turnaround: Embracing Change and Rebranding
Towards the end of 2020, I realized that my business needed a change. The market had changed, my brand value had increased, and it was high time that my prices mirrored that. Instead of making incremental changes, I leaped and tripled my prices.
While one would expect such a drastic change to repel clients, it surprisingly worked in my favor. My client bookings only got better, and the quality of inquiries improved drastically.
The rise in profits also allowed me to start hiring associates, expanding my business beyond just myself. This, in turn, let me explore other aspects of entrepreneurship, including stepping into the world of online business and starting my own course.
The Final: Leaning into Education and Community Building
The launch of my online course, ‘The Aligned Workshop,’ and eventually ‘The Wedding CEO’, opened doors for me to step into the world of mentoring and community-building. The courses turned out to be an avenue for me to share the insights and wisdom I had gathered throughout my journey in the wedding industry. Seeing my students thrive and scale their businesses gave me immense pride and satisfaction.
The Future: New Beginnings and Acknowledging the Past
As I move into the future, leaving the wedding industry behind, I look back at the past twelve years with gratitude. I intend to continue mentoring, helping more wedding photographers, and nurturing our community. My focus will be on helping these professionals scale their businesses, teaching them about sales, building their brand and market, and creating beautiful art.
While I have left the wedding industry, my journey continues. I am looking forward to devoting my energy to one-on-one coaching, helping individuals become business owners rather than just being creatives. I am eager to see where the next twelve years will take me.
In my newfound role and business, I am enjoying the liberation of having my weekends free, and the satisfaction of seeing my students scale tremendously. Fascinatingly, as I reflect on everything, I find myself in a place where, in letting go of my wedding photography business, I found an even greater passion and purpose.
The past twelve years in the wedding industry were not just years of work, but more of a beautiful journey. This journey has shaped me and made me the person I am today. As I look forward to what the future holds, there’s not a single moment I would replace or a single lesson I would undo.
Here’s to bidding adieu to my wedding industry journey and welcoming the exciting future that holds an array of opportunities, lessons, and milestones. It is the end of an era, but certainly not the end of the journey. It’s just a new chapter waiting to be explored.