Today we’d like to introduce you to SammieB.
SammieB, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
My husband and I moved to Los Angeles from Nashville back in 2011 when we started our company, X-Doria, which specializes in tech accessories. During our first year, we were outsourcing all of our product photography… and it was beginning to get expensive. My husband knew I had a vague interest in photography and asked that I give it try. Now I have to be honest, I knew nothing. But I spent some time researching and learning my camera and kind of fell in love with the process. I can remember vividly waking up early one morning to go a grab lifestyle shots for our brand which was based in Santa Monica. I was excited to grab awesome sunrise photos on the beach… As I was driving down the 10 and I started to feel the light growing behind me, it dawned on me. The sun doesn’t rise in the West… Yep, it was a total blonde moment. I grew up going to East coast beaches where you can watch the sunrise. I was a little bummed and embarrassed by my stupidity, but by the end of the morning, I was hooked. I perched myself onto one of the lifeguard towers and shot the surfers. There I was with my Canon Rebel and 18-55mm kit lens trying to shoot surfers who were 100 yards away. Needless to say, the pictures were terrible, but I didn’t care….I realized then that I had just found something I loved. Within just a few weeks I was managing all of the photography for X-Doria. After about 6 months of shooting product, I woke up and decided that I wanted to a wedding photographer. Again I had zero experience and absolutely no business taking on that type of responsibility, but I like many things in my life, I jumped in head first.
Has it been a smooth road?
Definitely not. Initially, I started with a partner, someone who had been shooting for a few years. Ultimately it was a doomed relationship. I was a baby photographer. And like every baby photographer, I was still learning and trying to find my overall style. By the end of our first year together, it became clear that the two of us had different visions for the business. What was even more clear was that our photographic styles were growing further apart. Making the decision to split and relaunch the business on my own has been, by far, the biggest struggle. “Am I ready? Am I good enough?” Having someone by my side that had years of experience was my validation and suddenly that was gone.
Have you ever felt like giving up?
Yes…I’ve definitely felt like quitting. Those moments usually come when I’m incredibly busy and feeling overwhelmed. Last year, I shot several weddings back to back. I think it was 6 weddings within 4 weeks. By the time I was headed to that 6th one, I realized I just didn’t want to do it. Yes, I did go…and put on my best game face, but I knew deep down my heart wasn’t in it. Today, I’m careful not to overbook myself and only take on 15-20 clients each year. Not only does help keep me from burning out it also gives me time to work on personal projects.
What advice do you wish to give to those thinking about pursuing a path similar to yours?
I often find that many photographers, myself included, are extroverted introverts. Basically, we are social people but it takes a lot of energy for us to take those first steps…….So I spent the better part of my first year glued to my laptop watching online tutorials, waiting for someone to give me the “key” to success…..I rarely spent time out on the field practicing my craft….Instead, I watched others doing it online. Needless to say, I never found the “key”. Going out and actually doing the work…shooting every week….and meeting people in the industry was the best form of growth for me.
What are you most excited about these days?
So I’m a digital photographer… however, last spring I spent a week France learning from Sylvie Gil, an amazing film photographer. She is as actually listed by Harpers Bazaar as one of top wedding photographers in the world. Film has an overall look and feel that you just can’t accomplish with digital. Starting in 2017, I’ll be slowing down and spending more time practicing this new craft. In fact, I’ll be heading back to France in April to spend another week with Sylvie. As of now, I’m shooting a mix of digital and film with my clients, but I’m hoping to make that full transition by the end of 2017. In addition, I just launched a sorority apparel line. The online store literally just went live yesterday. (www.greekandgold.com)
- On Average, clients spend $3500.
- Website: www.sammieb.com
- Phone: 615.715.2835
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: xoxo_sammieb
- Facebook: www.facebook.com/SammieBPhotography/
- Other: https://issuu.com/sammierogers-brown/docs/sammieb_photography_wedding_investm