Happy 10th Birthday To Us!

Where did time go?

Seriously. Where did the time go? 10 years ago, I was being groomed to become the “Chicken King of the East Coast” (and if you read my post from yesterday, you’ll also know that ship has sailed…for good). Having found success at an early age, and failing spectacularly shortly thereafter, I was determined to find success again – and not screw it up this time around.

We had entertained several business opportunities shortly after we got married; from flower shops to pho restaurants, we literally tried everything. I remember promptly leaving my shift at the chicken factory at 3pm every day so that I could change in my car, and be at a bank by 3:30pm with a 100-page business plan in hand. I visited 50 banks in 30 days; and was rejected all 50 times. Till this day, it was one of the most humiliating and humbling experience I’d ever had to endure.

Then one day, I received this text from an old college friend:

Long story short, I ended up shooting that wedding. It was a complete shit-show, to put it mildly. The snowstorm of the century had caused the bride to be several hours late, the minister was 45 minutes late, and my flashes bouncing off the lacquered walls had caused everyone to look like Oompa Loompas. But wait, there’s more! My autofocus had been accidentally turned off, and to add insult to injury, I’d scratched my cornea sometime between cocktail and toasts. I was definitely in waaaay over my head, and was woefully unprepared for this world of professional wedding photography. I’d messed up again…big time.

But by some miracle, I still managed to get one good photo. Imagine that :).

This experience could only mean one thing: I was a hack, an utter and complete fraud. My stubborn ambition had left me blindsided and exposed. I remember turning down paying jobs in the following months because I couldn’t bear the thought of taking someone’s money for a product that wasn’t guaranteed to be any good. Professional photographer? You’re kidding me, right? Never in a million years.

Then came along this family.

What you see above was my first family session…EVER. Despite my pleas that I was not a professional photographer by any stretch of the imagination, they genuinely insisted otherwise (much like Laurie & James did). These folks apparently saw something in us that nobody else did. Little did they know that their faith in us and our cameras would change our lives forever.

So to commemorate this huge 10 year milestone, I decided to reach out to these families several months ago*, and offered to photograph them again – as a small token of my appreciation; not only for their belief in our work, but also what that work has meant for our family, our associates, and hundreds (and hundreds) of couples and families who’ve graced the other side of our cameras these past 10 years. The enormous impact of their kind gesture cannot be understated.

Tanya, Sean, Kimberly, Jason & Grandma Maybelle (and the kiddos of course), thank you guys SO MUCH for your love and support, for being our biggest fans, but most importantly, thank you for your continued friendship after all these years. Let’s not wait another 10 years before I get ya’ll in front of my cameras again. Deal?

As for the rest of you…

Yes, every single one of you who’ve given us the opportunity to document your lives over these past 10 years: we love you guys to the moon and back! We know the photography marketplace is dripping wet with talent, and yet for whatever reason, you chose us to be a part of your lives. It’s a privilege and honor that we never take lightly – and for that, we humbly thank you.

My proudest moment(s) these past 10 years

Though we’ve yet to win any industry awards for our work these past 10 years (which we hope to change very soon!), my greatest source of pride is contained in a nondescript cardboard box behind my desk. In it, I’ve kept all the Thank You cards we’ve received since we began this journey 10 years ago. Yes, I’ve kept EVERY. SINGLE. ONE. (because I’m crazy like that) While I’m proud of the work we’ve created over the years, I’m even more proud of the lives we were able to touch, and the friends we’ve made during this time. This raggedly old box is proof of that, and I wouldn’t trade any of it for the world.

Soooo….how did our 2019 resolutions go?

Fabulously. We rebranded earlier in the year, purposely took on less work, attended several workshops in Europe, taught several workshops ourselves, met some AMAZING photographers, booked some ridiculously awesome clients, but most importantly, we spent more time with our family & friends. It couldn’t have been more perfect.

What’s in store for 2020?

After taking a slight “break” in 2019, we’re ready ramp up our workload in 2020 and making it a banner year. So basically, more of the same as last year…but just a WHOLE LOT MORE OF IT.

I hope ya’ll are ready, cuz it’s about to get crazy up in here!

*Laurie & James were a little bit more challenging to reach. So if you’re reading this Laurie – we’ve got a family session with your name on it!

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Northern NJ, NYC documentary Wedding Photographer, Educator & All-Around Nice Guy

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