A few weeks ago I reached out to a friend about how I could drive more internet visors to my website and he told me one of the biggest ways to do this was through a blog. Kind of selfish of me to start a blog to try to drive more business versus letting you into the photography world I occupy on a more personal level right? Well I decided (or apparently re-decided) to do both.
After searching for a blog site to use to reach out to everyone I couldnt make a new login because my email was already used. Apparently back in 2013 I had this same idea. I made two posts and then never made another one……until now. Six years later. I will be more active than that this go around. Hard not to be more active that posting once every six years.
A LOT has changed in six years. Personally and professionally. Personally I moved out of my childhood home, and got my own place. Ironically I am now trying to buy back that same house. Also bough a new car. I have grown a lot in how I try to act and carry myself. There is a lot of anxiety that I had in high school that reared back up last year. That has been an on going battle. Took some really cool trips. Left the country and went to Colombia with a group of frisbee friends to teach the underprivileged how to play ultimate and use that as a tool to bond with other people and use it as a leadership tool. Took some cool trips with my sister, the big one to NYC.
From a business point of view it has changed 10x more than my personal life. I took what seemed like at the time a huge risk of leaving a steady paycheck working for another photographer to opening my own company. This march will be 5 years since I made that choice. Wound up being the greatest choice I ever made. I won 3 more BPPA Photographer Of the Year awards. (2012, 2013, 2017) I also finished second in ’14 ’15 ’16 ’18. Since 2009 I haven’t finished outside the top 2. I was almost named a Top 10 photographer in the state by the states governing body of professional photographer the FPP in 2015 and 2018. However my proudest accolade came in 2017. After 8 years of working towards it I received my Florida Degree Of Photographic Excellence from the Florida Professional Photographers Association. This is not given but earned. You must have numerous images that are judged to be of a high enough merit, along with service merits garnered through numerous years towards the FPP and its affiliates to be considered for this degree. I have since forgotten this next stat so it may be incorrect on the exact number, but since the inception of the degree back in May of 1933 less than 200 photographers have received this degree.
Enough tooting my own horn I’ll tell you about some of the work for some fabulous clients I have gotten to do since 2013. Some of them are the same and have been with me since then. I still do an enormous amount of work for my old high school, Manatee High. Sorry let me correct that, THE Manatee High School. Cane pride never dies. There is a new school, not really new, they’ve stuck by me for close to a decade as well. Bradenton Christian School, or better know to me as BCS. I started off working for another photographer at BCS covering selected sporting events. Since then I have taken over and cover their entire sports program and this year started photographing all of the senior portraits for the school as well.
Not far off of the school path is the Manatee/Sarasota County debutantes. They are such a wonderful organization, who is nothing short of a joy to work for. Again I met this group via an old studio who since has moved from the area. They asked me if I wanted to take on the gig before I was really ready. They had more faith in me at the beginning than I did in myself. The asked me who I would recommend and went to that photographer for a few years. I still helped that other photographer I recommenced at some of the events for the Debs. They circled back around to me in 2017 and asked me if I was ready to take the job and I was. This year will be the third year that I am the official photographer for them and it is without a doubt one of my favorite groups I work with.
Weddings, wedding, and more weddings. In 2013 I did my first wedding alone, well I shouldn’t say alone but as BDP my own studio. It was a last minute thing as well. I was still nervous about doing them on my own. I had just stepped out on my own and realized I couldn’t afford to be scared anymore. This really nice lady Amy, had called me on Monday 5 days before her wedding telling me her photographer double booked and informed her they weren’t coming to the wedding. She had gotten my number from my old studio manager Nan. Amy asked me if I was available that coming Saturday. I told her I was. I called my friend group to see if anyone wanted to help me, I didn’t have Nikki yet, more on her soon. My friend Steven said he would help me out. He had taken a photography class at MCC and was currently using one of my cameras in that class. He took some cool shots that day but he was really there just to help me move stuff and be there in case i needed someone to do something. The wedding went off without any issues what so ever and I felt great. Moving forward I have now covered 65 weddings, in 5 different states, soon to be 6, I’ll see you in October Kent and Mary. Back to that lady Nikki. If you follow me at all even just a little bit you know her, or of her. She is my wedding assistant, but so much more. She keeps me on track and going. She is a gem. My old boss hired her and when he left I finally got around to asking her if she wanted to help me out with the weddings I was starting to get. Her and I had worked together before at the old studio so there wasn’t much of a feeling out process, we just worked like we always had. I wish I could tell you about the day I met Nikki and what happened at that wedding, but we’ll save that for another day. Nikki is such a diverse helper. What i mean is she can do everything and normally does. Thats hard to find these days.
This is getting to be longer than I anticipated so I will just share a few cool things I did work for an elaborate on them later.
The Tampa Bay Rays. SONY, The Canadian National Soccer Team. The World Ultimate Frisbee Championships. University of South Florida. Underarmour. The Tampa Bay Storm. Billy Joel.
Top Left: Myself and the group from Breaking Borders in Medellin Colombia
Top Right: An image shot at MHS that was picked up by Underarmour.
Middle Left: Scott and Amy. The first wedding I did as BDP
Bottom Left: An image from a BCS team photo day.
Middle Middle: A group shot from this years Debutante program
Bottom Middle: Nikki and me at a wedding at the Powell Crosley
Bottom Right: Michelle (my sister) and me in NYC