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Ingredients for a Successful Photography Business

Featuring Dana & Nate of
Lovers of Love Photography

Many of us know the good fortune that comes from welcoming children into our families. They’re playful, they’re fun — but the house is always a mess with them throwing things in every corner and we’re always exhausted chasing after them as they run helter-skelter. The stories we most often hear are from parents hoping for more time and more energy to focus on themselves and their careers post-children. So when we meet a husband and wife team that say their lives have become more disciplined and organized after the birth of their babies, it can be inspiring to the rest of us.

“Our business really took off once we became parents,” say Dana and Nate, wedding photographers and the owners of Lovers of Love Photography. Read on to find out more about how they succeed as parents and entrepreneurs.

Dana and Nate are a husband and wife team and parents of two, running their own photography business in San Diego, California — though they serve many more customers around the country.

Dana and Nate’s positive mindset and smart business practices have helped them to build a successful and profitable wedding photography brand. The mantra of Lovers of Love is the same as Dana and Nate’s life — ’Focus On The Good’. 

Lover’s of Love specializes in wedding and family photography and has been in the industry as a brand for 10 years. Dana and Nate say they had been working on their business all these years, but the birth of their babies changed their time management skills and business strategies for good — taking their business to an all-time high.

A Little Support Is All We Need

This story of success started with Nate and Dana meeting each other at the Brooks Institute of Photography in Santa Barbara, where they were both getting a B.A. in photography. In one class they shared, they each had prepared a project each that their teacher didn’t seem to like much. As their teacher expressed displeasure in some harsh words, Dana decided to support Nate and his work. He did the same for Dana in return. Little did they know that this was the beginning of a never-ending partnership between them. Nate likes to call this incident “a little meeting of their minds.”

After this they started doing a few projects together, outside of college. Dana, who had been photographing weddings from the age of 18, loved to have a new partner by her side. Soon, her work partner became the love of her life. Though their relationship was tested and they grew apart for a couple of years, it only did them good in the long term as they realized how much they loved each other and wanted to stay together for life. They started their business together right after their marriage.

On working as a husband and wife team on their business and being able to maintain the love in their marriage, Nate says he never gets bored with Dana or feels the need to be out with his boys. “I just feel so incredibly blessed and fortunate that I found somebody that is my best friend, truly, and that we just really get along. We can work together without an issue.”

United Vision, Divided Work

Once Dana and Nate’s thoughts aligned and they were united on vision, it was time for them to decide on the division of labor. Their cool rhythm for how they divide and conquer as a dynamic duo has resulted in the immense growth of their business. The two are clear about what they are good at individually and have chosen to work in those roles. Nate and Dana both agree that communication is the key for them to be on the same page.

Dana says besides shooting, she is good at culling, client communications, book-keeping, maintaining shot-lists and timelines, marketing through social media (mostly through Instagram), and writing captions for all their images to be posted.

Nate tells us he is detail-oriented and had a business mind from a very young age, so he loves to handle matters related to pricing, networking, building relationships with vendors, handling logistics, sales, finding leads, getting office supplies, buying new photography gear, evaluating and re-evaluating the business.

The couple has been continually making choices that the photo community can learn from to get inspired and motivated by. Below are the magic ingredients to their success they shared with us to share with you!

Magic Ingredients to a Successful Business

1. Teamwork

The most important ingredient to a successful business has been teamwork for Dana and Nate. They communicate with each other, trust each other, respect each other’s ideas, and are always open for discussion. Dana says, “We feed off each other’s strengths.”

2. Compartmentalize Time

Another magic ingredient to Dana and Nate’s success was being able to successfully compartmentalize their time. Dana told us how the guilt of not being a good mother would haunt her sometimes and how she felt she was giving less time to their business because she was living a mom’s life. Compartmentalizing time did justice to both these roles and Dana feels they have become attentive towards time management more than ever before.

“When I have my kids in my house, I’m actually way better with time management — way more intentional.” For instance, if she needs to take four hours to focus her time on the business, she’s literally focused on the business- not doing other things. “I’m working and I feel the intensity just by being able to focus for short periods of time, it’s done so much for our business.” 

3. Improve Constantly

Nate feels if a person thinks he has given his best and has reached the zenith of success, he should not forget it can only be maintained by continuous hard work and improvement. “As we get older and continue to refine our business, we’ve learned to never get comfortable.”

Agreeing to this Dana says, “I know that one thing Nate and I always say is I think the nature of wedding photography and any kind of sales job is that you just gotta keep doing it. We had a great year in 2019. Now let’s do it again.”

4. Maintain Good Relationships with Clients and Vendors

Dana and Nate get most of their business through Wedding Coordinators, so they have no doubt that taking care of those coordinators should be a top priority. Keeping all your vendor partners happy and in the loop with what you’re doing, or what you’re offering, can help a lot in business because it keeps you top of mind for them, and then it’s more likely they may refer you to their family and friends or their clients needing a wedding photographer.

5. Focus on the Good

This is one of the most important ingredients of Dana and Nate’s success and also the mantra of their life. Dana says, “We can be our own worst critics. If we stop that and step into the life that we want to live — in our mind — it has so much impact… I just realized that controlling my thoughts is impacting my life.”

Decision to Outsource

Dana says, “There’s no reward in multitasking.” Even when Dana herself came up with the idea to outsource editing because she felt it took too much time and did not result in increased profits, her initial fear was that if she couldn’t do it, someone else might not be able to do it as well. She thought she would have to pay and redo it again.

It was Nate who gave her the confidence to go ahead. Dana and Nate decided to use Shootdotedit to edit their images. Dana says, “Our business has grown exponentially because of ShootDotEdit… Letting go of editing has been a huge, huge push forward for us because I’m not in the darkroom — like in the dark culling late hours at night, I am pushing our business forward. I am doing different things that actually mattered to growing the business as opposed to editing.

“What I love about ShootDotEdit versus other editing companies — because we did try other ones — is you guys are a blanket cost. So we pay for the unlimited package and we’ve taken advantage of other deals like Free Culling. And right now we’re doing your three-day turnaround, which is pretty awesome! You get my babies, you get my families, you get everything I shoot for one price. As we grow in our business, I don’t have to pay more to my editing company because I’m shooting more.”

Dana and Nate we love you too and feel honored to serve you with our editing services and support your success as one of your vendor partners!

LOVERS OF LOVE TRUSTED RESOURCES

  • ShootDotEdit: editing for wedding photographers
  • PhotoMechanic: A fast media browser that helps you view, organize, manage, and export your digital photos and videos. 
  • PixieSet: hosting for client photo galleries allowing professional photographers to share, deliver, proof, and sell online.
  • AlienSkin (now called Exposure X5): Skin softening and image enhancement with next-level organization.
  • 17 Hats: A Business Management system allowing users to maintain calendars, contacts, and invoices among other things.

FOLLOW DANA & NATE TO GAIN MORE INSIGHT INTO THEIR SUCCESS

Falling into success accidentally may or may not happen often, but succeeding by design definitely does — lots of hard work and making right choices continuously over and over. Learning from others is one big push towards success. To learn more from Dana and Nate and see their work, follow them on Instagram, Facebook, and their Pinterest page.

To book them, you can contact them here.

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