First things first: I'm so excited to be kicking of my new blog series, A Creative Minute..., today! In the past I featured hundreds of amazing PR and media professionals on my former blog, and I'm so glad that I've found a way to incorporate these inspirational slices of life into my current blog now.
I didn't want to kick off this series with anyone else other than my St. Louis-based friend and incredible wedding photographer: Jacoby Andrick of Jacoby Photo + Design. I first met Jacoby around this time last year when my husband Paul and I got engaged and were on the hunt for an engagement photo photographer. We both knew that we wanted to work with someone who had a great eye for aesthetics and had a portfolio full of non-cookie cutter imagery. As soon as I stumbled upon Jacoby's Instagram feed, I knew that we had to work with her, and the rest is history!
I welcome you to learn more about Jacoby's journey as a business owner, photographer and creative below. For aspiring entrepreneurs and photographers alike, I know that Jacoby's advice will encourage you to take the next step in your creative endeavors.
Q: Share a bit of your story with us: what events in your life led to you pursuing a career in photography, and what recently brought you, your husband and your two adorable pups to St. Louis?
A: For me, there’s a lot of little moments before I realized that photography was the path I wanted to take. I remember getting my first Canon point-and-shoot camera when I was in middle school, and I’d get all of my girlfriends dressed up and make them model for me. I’d then spend hours editing photos with who-knows-what photo software and upload them to MySpace. Ha!
It wasn’t until my own senior photos that I thought to myself, “Wow, this thing that I love to do most is an actual career?” After that moment, I pursued photography and the entrepreneurial spirit when I was just in high school. Since then, I’ve traded in my point and shoot camera for a DSLR camera and an array of lenses and photo shoots with my friends to spending Saturdays with rad couples.
One year ago, life brought my husband Macklin (and our array of fur children!) and my photography business to St. Louis. After spending a couple of years in Nashville, the desire to be closer to our family and friends was weighing on my heart. Born and raised in Central Illinois, Nashville was far away from some of my favorite people in the world and many of my clients.
There’s a Chevy Chase quote that I love that says, “there’s a force in the universe that makes things happen. And all you have to do is get in touch with it, stop thinking, let things happen, and be the ball.” Let’s just say that the universe’s force was pulling me to St. Louis, I decided to be the ball, and it ended up being the best decision. Since moving here, we’ve bought a house, met friends, and have really seen my business take off.
Q: I always have to ask! What does your workday routine and workflow look like, and how do you manage to work productively from home while running your business?
A: Every morning when I sit down at my desk, and yes while sometimes wearing my pajamas, I get a piece of paper and write down all of my tasks that I want to accomplish for the day. The power of crossing things off a list keeps me motivated while working from home. No day ever really looks the same, and that’s why I love owning my business.
Working from home is something one has to get used to. It’s totally easy to stay in the pajamas, feel guilt if you’re not as productive as you feel you should be, and get lonely (my dogs and cat are my co-workers). After two years of working from home, I’ve found that regular exercise, getting fresh air, and having somewhere to go each day really helps productivity when it’s time to be a girlboss.
Q: One thing that I love about your business is the fact that you personalize every part of the client experience - even after the wedding is over. How did you formulate your own client experience, and how do you think this level of personalization has impacted your business?
A: I genuinely want to be connected with my clients before, during, and after their wedding day. I want to be more than just another wedding vendor — I truly want to be a friend. One of my love languages is gift giving, so it’s only natural that I want to spoil the heck out of my clients and make them feel special, as they should!
In my business, my motto is “treat those how you’d like to be treated.” As a recent bride myself, I saw firsthand how some vendors treat couples, and let’s just saw I wasn’t always impressed. The vendors I adore and refer are the ones that over delivered . I always strive to impress and exceed expectations for this very reason, even after the wedding day.
Personalization and over delivering in my client experience has helped me work with even more amazing people and stand out among the crowd of other wedding vendors.
Q: My husband Paul and I loved having you as a part of our New York City wedding! Although our wedding day put us all over the map in Manhattan, you did an incredible job keeping up with us. How much planning goes into ensuring that the weddings you shoot run smoothly and adhere to a schedule?
A: Being a wedding photographer is one part being organized and informed with how wedding days operate, and most importantly being able to fly by the seat of your pants. Especially during a destination wedding like New York City!
To ensure that wedding days run smoothly, weeks before the wedding you’ll find me obsessing over creating a timeline, scouting locations, and making sure family photos are in order. It’s also so important to educate clients on what to expect and how much time is needed for photos and when. Long story short, there is so much more that goes into photographing a wedding than just showing up with a camera.
There’s always minor bumps in wedding days, but it’s up to me to roll with the punches, figure it out for my clients, and rock it out.
Q: We're only in Q1 of 2017, but it's important to set big, intentional goals. What are a few of your biggest ambitions for Jacoby Photo + Design this year?
• I have a goal of booking 20 weddings for the year (currently at 18!), which will be my BIGGEST YEAR YET! A lot of hustle, sweat, and tears have got me here.
• Personalizing my client experience even more. Basically just giving my clients a lot of reasons to smile.
• I really love in-home sessions, whether they are engagement, newborn, or family photos. I would love to book more and make it my second specialty.
• Being more efficient with my workflow so I can enjoy even more time with my husband, family, and friends.
Q: What would your biggest piece of advice be for fellow women looking to break into and succeed in the photography business?
A: First off, never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle or end. Only compare your success to your own. That can be applied to so many creatives.
It won’t do you any good to be proud of your work one minute, see what others are doing the next, and then feel like you’re not good enough. You are good enough. You are improving with every shoot. Keep taking chances, keep learning, and keep putting yourself out there.
I have been at this for almost 7 years, and I still have so much to learn. It may take months or years, but eventually people will notice.
All photos courtesy of Jacoby Photo + Design.