Eileen + Rich killing it in NYC!
Eileen + Rich killing it in NYC!
Eileen + Rich killing it in NYC!
For the past month or so Amber and I have been working on one of the most significant and far-reaching decisions we’ve ever made since starting this business. Throughout the whole process I’ve been trying to find an easy way to describe our partnership with Carla Ten Eyck Photography. Is it like a company merger? Is her company “buying us out”? Hmm… At 1am on my way home from one of our weddings this past weekend, the perfect representation popped into my head (which is how most of my ideas seem to happen).
We’re forming like VOLTRON baby! Yep, you heard right….we’re joining our individual strengths and forces together to form a super robot to defend the galaxy from evil
Ok well, we still have a long way to go before we’re able to maintain peace throughout the universe but this is a huge step in the right direction for Raw Photo Design. If you haven’t heard through the grapevine or seen on Facebook, numerous wedding forums, or twitter lately but we kind of suck at managing our business. The number of times I’ve heard the following sentence from a past client makes my stomach turn upside down and keeps me up at night trying to find a way to make things better: “Raw Photo was so awesome on the day of my wedding/boudoir/portrait/editorial/etc and I’m absolutely in love with all of my pictures…. but, it takes too long to get an email reply or phone call from them and it took a long time to get my pictures/album/disc/etc.”
Similar to most wedding photographers I started a photography business because I loved PHOTOGRAPHY. I loved working with people during their photo shoot or wedding day and capturing beautiful photographs of them. My single most favorite aspect of this job is witnessing the progression a person (or couple) goes through during a shoot… everyone always starts very nervous and insecure and somewhere in the middle of the process, they get comfortable… let their guard down, and the real them comes out…and that’s when I get to capture who they really are… You can almost see the exact moment it happens at every single session when you look at a series of photo thumbnails on your monitor. I can honestly work on anything photography related all night long without even noticing it’s 3am or that I haven’t left my desk in 6 hours. There’s no doubt it’s my passion and I can’t imagine doing anything else.
BUT, that has NOTHING to do with running a business. I’ll be the first to admit I am absolutely clueless when it comes to managing clients, employees, subcontractors, or anything else related to my business. It’s not because I haven’t done the work to learn how to properly do these things…trust me. I’ve read countless business books…some of them at least 5 times, attended numerous business workshops and seminars, downloaded every “management application” you can think of, etc. Conceptually I “know” what to do but just have no clue how to follow through with the processes and/or manage the people that I had implementing those processes.
Fast forward 5 years later to the beginning of October, 2012 and I had decided to shut Raw Photo Design down for good. I had been turning down new business for months explaining that I will no longer take new clients for the 2013 wedding season and focus all my attention on the weddings I had already booked for next year. I was stressed out beyond belief, hopeless, and defeated. Amber and I had done the best we could do with what we had and that was it. We were working like machines, day and night, and not a single client was happy. Being a typical man with too much pride, I hadn’t told anyone about our situation or my decision to dissolve the business; and being a typical woman who is way smarter than her typical man-husband, Amber had reached out to a number of close friends explaining our situation and asking for help.
Carla had been a close friend of ours for years and had seen us progress from our first wedding to our 100th wedding and has always been a huge help and inspiration since day one. She manages a well-oiled production MACHINE in Hartford. Sometimes I pull up to her driveway and I can hear the mechanical wheels turning, phones ringing off the hook, and production lines in full swing. Their customer service is incredible and a force to be reckoned with. It is pretty impressive to see and trust me…Amber and I did everything we could to implement the same system…in fact, Carla and I had first started meeting once a week a while back so that she could walk me through setting up the same system for Raw Photo. After 3 meetings or so it was pretty clear we were far beyond the point of no return and Carla presented me with a solution that her and Amber had been thought of and been working on….without me knowing!
It was an offer I could not refuse. Especially since the only other option was to throw in the towel. Starting today, the C10 Studio Management Team will be responsible for ALL of the client-related office tasks and back-end studio work for RAW Photo Design including all emails, phone calls, albums, production, and delivery of finished products. Now all RAW Photo Design clients will finally get what Amber and I had TRIED to provide and what they absolutely deserve more then anything: the same AMAZING customer service that C10 Studio Management Team of Dominique, Julie, Rebecca, Dave, Jazzy and Philitha have been providing for Carla and her associates for years!
Where does that leave Amber and myself? It leaves us focusing ALL of our attention, time, and resources on where they should be: the creative work. This is what we are good at, enjoy doing, and jump out of bed in the morning just thinking of it. It is why I started the business in the first place…THE PHOTOGRAPHY….NOT the business. I’m drooling just thinking about it, “You mean I get to do what I’ve always wanted to do and you will do the rest?” I swear it is Christmas a month early at the Langlois household and I just got the gift of photography for the first time in 4 years!
The finer details are being sent to existing clients as everyone is reading this but in a nutshell RAW Photo Design will still be OUR brand…same website, same look, same awesomeness. Zero portion of the photography, retouching, or awesome sauce that has defined the RAW Photo brand and style will change because Amber and myself will still be in charge of all of it. In fact, it will only improve and thrive now that we don’t have to spend so much time on what we suck at: business. We’ll finally get to spend all of our time and energy on the reason I started this business in the first place: photography.
How cute are these two?!
HAWTNESS at UCONN!!!!!
Amy totally working it!
Greg is totally killing it too!
We kicked off their engagement photo session at The Apollo Theater which billed itself as a place “where stars are born and legends are made…” The Apollo is infamous for launching the careers of artists such as Ella Fitzgerald, James Brown, The Jackson 5, Stevie Wonder, Aretha Franklin, Mariah Carey, and Lauryn Hill just to name a few.
And how could we pass up a few shots in front of the The Lenox Lounge. The famous jazz bar was founded in 1939 and served as venue for many famous performers. Harlem Renaissnce writer Langston Hughes was a regular, as was the one and only Malcolm X. The Zebra room at the Lenox Lounge was also part of the Mad Men pilot, “Smoke Gets in Your Eyes.” Huge thanks to the staff for allowing us to take a few photos in front of the iconic signage.
Just a few blocks away from the craziness of 125th st are rows and rows of beautiful residential brownstones. So of course we had to grab some shots on one of these blocks as well.
We ended our photo shoot at one of Justin and Lisa’s favorite hang-outs – Camarada’s el barrio.
To say Renee and Matt killed it would be an understatement.
It goes without saying that after a few months of shooting once a week vs. shooting almost once a day (as we do during wedding season), we are probably going to need a few extra minutes to get in our shooting comfort zone. We met Eric and Shari at the sprawling, stunning landscape at Gouveia Vineyards in Wallingford, CT. Eric, Brenden and I arrived at the vineyard and were very enthusiastic about shooting our first 2012 engagement shoot together as a team – then meeting Eric and Shari just made it better. Fortunately for us all, it was insanely warm for February and the opportunity to shoot inside Gouveia, near the tasting bar and in the wine cellar as well as outside on their amazing property and vineyard – huge bonus. Big thanks to Eric and Shari who were extremely patient and easy going while we worked out the kinks.
It is evident from the images and goes without saying, these two are incredibly cute together, the nicest couple ever. They did a really great job with their styling and wardrobe for the shoot (of course, we LOVE, LOVE bright colors).
Cannot wait for their wedding at The Society Room in the Fall.
Enjoy your images guys and thanks so much for being so cool and completely up for anything!
Keri & John are so ridiculously awesome, they even got in the water for engagement session. Come on!
Hopkins Vineyard & Winery in Warren CT is one of my most favorite places to shoot engagement photos and Jacqueline & Shane totally rocked my world.
Blue Jay Orchards was officially rocked by Kyle & Krista and I have a new found obsession with farm equipment. If you think these are amazing, just wait till you see what they have up their sleeves for their July wedding at the Candlelight Farms Inn.
Officially the craziest, most hyper dog I’ve ever come in contact which of course leads to some hilarious action shots. Think my 16-35mm got slobbered on about 22 times but totally worth it!
Quite possibly the coolest cat/apartment/couple/city I’ve ever seen. For reals.
Nikki & Mike absolutely KILLED their engagement photo session at Lover’s Leap in New Milford, CT and we’re super pumped for their November wedding at The Society Room!
Who rocks the house? Nicole & Bryan rock the house and when Nicole & Bryan rock the house they rock it all the way down. Something tells me their June 2012 wedding at the infamous Society Room in Hartford, CT will be one for the record books.
Ashley & Jeremy rocked Higgins Lab and the Alumni Gymnasium like it was going out of business. Not even Gompei the Goat could stop them.
The only thing better than cannolis on Wooster Street in New Haven is Nicole + Byron + cannolis on Wooster Street in New Haven.
Kelly & Daniel put the love in Lover’s Leap. For reals.