Today, we’re featuring wedding and portrait photographers Phillip and Eileen Blume of Blume Photography. They’re here to tell us how charging what you’re worth as wedding photographers can lead to bigger and better things and even philanthropy. Check it out!
Wedding and portrait photographers Phillip and Eileen Blume of Blume Photography have been working professionally as a husband and wife team for over a decade. Along with running their wedding business, the Georgia-based couple place high importance on their personal projects and philanthropy. The success of their small business has afforded the photographers the opportunity to give back in ways they never thought possible when they were “living on love.”
“Our personal projects, like our documentary film Lost Boys of Paradise, shine a light on amazing non-profits who provide education, a safe ‘family’ environment, and hope to children inside the world’s most violent and impoverished slums.”
But the Blumes weren’t always so focused on philanthropy. In the early years of launching their business, they were newly married and burning out fast.
“We had no personal time together. We were side by side, but it was at the computer monitor.” The Blumes were feeling the weight of the stress of their business and lack of time together when news came that would change everything.
Looking at the Numbers
“We found out we were pregnant with our first child and we were really excited but we knew we couldn’t just live on love anymore.” For the first time, the Blumes started looking at their numbers and realized that their business was spending more than it was taking in despite all of the work they were doing. They knew they wanted to be working parents so they decided they were going to figure out how to make their business profitable. Unfortunately, just as they were making a new business plan, tragedy struck. “We were at our OB appointment and were waiting to hear our baby’s heartbeat again because it’s just the most amazing thing to hear and it’s not there.”
The Blumes had lost their baby. “You have all these plans and dreams for the future. You’re painting the nursery and all of a sudden all that’s gone and it feels like the world is caving in.” That’s when they knew they needed to take a step back, a deep breath, and reevaluate.
Taking a Different Path
“We were living every day to try to pay the bills instead of taking time to destress and find out what was important to us.” The Blumes decided to shake things up and do what many people would call irresponsible. “We took our cameras and all of our meager savings out of the bank and headed to Guatemala.” The Blumes had done some mission trips in Central America and wanted to use their skills to create some media to help draw attention to children’s charities in the region.
“We had intended to make a two or three minute promo video they could use but the story of what they were doing was so compelling that it turned into a feature-length documentary film that we traveled all over the US showing and raising awareness and helping to grow the organization and get more kids out of the slums.” While the Blumes were incredibly proud of their personal project, they were broke. “That was when we started doing mini sessions because we knew we had to get smarter about business. We wanted to keep working on our personal projects and that meant we couldn’t have no income between weddings.”
Growing Their Business While Giving Back
Once the Blumes focused their attention toward making money to keep up with their philanthropy rather than just paying the bills, their business and personal lives started to thrive. The husband and wife team now travel around the world with their three children and advocate for impoverished children between wedding shoots. “I think a lot of photographers have big hearts and they want to give back and that translates to giving away their images for free.”
The Blumes believe that photos are a luxury and a discounted or free photo isn’t going to make much of an impact. “If photographers can learn to charge appropriately and allow their businesses and themselves to succeed, then they can turn around and give that charity to people who desperately need it.” The Blumes are proof that you can grow your business and change the world at the same time.
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