Oh friends, can you believe that this year marks our tenth year of business?!?! I barely can. This past week has brought a lot of reflection on the last decade and if you follow me on Instagram, you have probably relived a lot of the highlights! I did want to take a moment to write on the blog, since this is where it all started - with a girl, a camera, a blog and a business name of Photogen Inc.
I have always known I wanted to be a photographer from a very young age, but I never knew that I would thrive in being a business owner. That was never something that crossed my mind until a very special person in my life simply said, "Why don't you start a business?" So, I went to the State of MN, took $125 out of a cash machine, thought of a name that wasn't taken on google yet and officially incorporated. I honestly didn't over think this decision, because in my gut it simply seemed like the right thing to do. On the flip side, I had no idea what I was doing, but I dove into being a freelance photographer head strong. I think part of my success early on was that I was a bit ignorant and incredibly determined, which made me fearless. Now, I want to be clear that it took a while for me to actually live off of my income as a freelancer - in the meantime, I kept a 'normal' job to pay the rent and it also meant that I worked double the hours. I know many of you out there do this and I want you to know that it IS okay! In fact, I would argue that all freelancers have had a 'day job' while starting things up! The thing was, I knew my job (which I was incredibly grateful for) was just a job - photography and this business had not only become my passion, but also my purpose.
When the business began, I might have not known much, but I did know a few things:
1// I wanted it to be bigger than myself - This is a little hard to explain, but I knew that I wanted to connect people, build a team and inspire others. I didn't want it to be all about me and now looking back I see all of our assistants, photographers and talent who have come thru our studio and they are all doing things that are WAY bigger than me. It has been my greatest joy to see our team grow and thrive over the years and I am so proud.
2// I wanted to make work and share it with the community - When it comes down to why I am a photographer, it is exactly this. To take images for a purpose and share them. I want my work to inspire people and to be a part of whatever-that-story-may-be-about. I have been lucky enough to share my work on a global level and also very intimately with weddings and no matter the job, this is always my goal.
3// I wanted to live the dream - I believe in living a happy life. And I wanted to wake up every morning and literally live my dream. It doesn't mean that every day is easy, in fact many days are filled with a lot of grit and hard work, but I LOVE IT. I love my job, I love my lifestyle and I love absolutely everything we are doing at our studio. I also believe in the phrase that "it's all about the journey and not the destination." Owning your own business definitely means owning that statement.
Looking back on ten years has been a trip, but an oh-so-awesome moment to celebrate and reflect upon all of the success that we have had. We've been invited to photograph many of your weddings, built 4 brands, expanded our commercial and editorial work, gained national and global clients and created an amazing team of photographers. To say we are #blessed is an understatement. I don't know how I can possibly say enough thank you's, but to all of you who have believed in me, the work and our team all of these years, thank you. It has been a true honor to document your stories and it is because of YOU that we are actually successful!
So, here is to the next ten years! Our work is better than ever and our team is thriving! Onward to amazing moments, fucking rad pictures and a whole lot of adventure!