Featured Photographers, Emma and Josh are a husband and wife photography team in Los Angeles, CA. They LOVE connecting with their clients and cultivating friendships in the process of documenting their wedding days. They love to have fun and it absolutely shows in the images that they create. I love how they balance each other in their business and the valuable tips they have to share. Meet Emma & Josh! I mean you can’t not smile with these two! 🙂
How did you start in photography?
Emma – We moved from LA to Seattle when I was pregnant and I picked up a camera and enjoyed it, (my dad was a photographer and I spent many years with him in his dark room). It grew from there and eventually I gave Josh a camera and said here…learn…and he became part of the business and it evolved into a husband and wife team.
Canon or Nikon? Film or digital?
You are on a deserted island with only two pieces of gear (not including your camera body). What are they?
Emma – Please tell me I can have a cell phone…LOL..I would probably pick my 70-200 2.8 and a 50 1.4
Josh – I would make sure the 24-70 2.8 is on that list too…imagine the epic sunsets you could get on a deserted island.
What is your greatest strength in running your business?
That is a great question because we balance each other out. I feel like I (Emma) am best at the creative side (designing materials, picking photos for the website, social media posting.) Josh excels at the technical and business side. He manages the client database and makes sure invoices and questionnaires go out. He follows up with vendors and is also the technical mind behind the website and does a better job with writing and blogging.
What is the best way you have found to promote your photography business?
Honestly, we have come to realize for US, there isn’t any specific route. We have a pretty large net and get a lot of business through different avenues…Bridal shows, past referrals, planner referrals, Wedding Wire and the Knot.
How does your company or style stand out from the competition?
We live in Los Angeles and it is a very heavily saturated market. There will always be photographers and even married teams whose work is above ours and whose work is below ours or cheaper. We focus on our business and not other people. We market ourselves as a married team. We have been married 11 years and I feel that brings a level of trust. We really connect with our clients and treat them as people, not dates on the calendar. People like that about us! We also focus a lot on family. Sadly we have both experienced great loss in our immediate families (Josh’s mom and my sister have both passed) and we know how important it is to catch moments, because sadly you don’t know what tomorrow brings.
Where do you find your inspiration?
Josh – In our couple’s relationships, watching the way they interact with each other and wanting to capture that and be part of it.
Emma – As far as photography and improving, I get inspiration from pop culture and fashion versus other wedding photographers.
What 3 tips would you give to aspiring photographers?
- Focus on yourself, not what the photographer down the street is doing. You cannot compete with price, you have to stand apart and do you! – Emma
- Show what you want to shoot. If you don’t like shooting indoors, don’t show indoor weddings on your website or sample albums. If you love shooting beach weddings, show that. If you don’t have it in your portfolio, create a styled shoot and show that off. – Josh
- You will face rejection. You won’t book 100% and you should be learning from those you don’t. We always ask, “Do you mind us asking what the deciding factor was in your final decision?” A lot of times we get budget, someone has more bang for their buck…but sometimes it’s style or a connection and while it sucks, it helps you grow and really nail down who you are and how to improve. – Josh
- ** Bonus tip..please get insurance. There is nothing worse then hearing about someone whose gear gets stolen and they don’t have the money to replace it. It’s sad, but nobody is responsible for the replacement of your gear but you, no go fund me, get insurance first. – Emma
Where do you see your career in 5 years?
We are not trying to be rockstar photographers who tour the country giving workshops..(not that there is anything wrong with those..LOL). Our focus is to grow the business organically, make amazing connections with clients and provide for our family. In 5 years I hope we have grown technically, (there is always room to grow) and that we have made friends with some amazing couples. Also that we have time to spend with our kids and take some fun vacations!
If you could change one thing about the industry, what would that be?
I just wish photographers helped each other more, instead of tearing each other down. There is a lot of competition and cattiness and it is so unnecessary.
What changes have you had to make over the years to stay at the top of the industry?
We adapt to the times. Our target client wants digital images, so we provide the digital images. We are not sales people so trying to have a business model like that would do more harm then good. Also we focus on the couple and the experience. Sure the images are vital…but making people feel comfortable so you can capture the real moments has been the backbone of our business. We treat our clients like friends and vice versa. All of our reviews have the same undertone, that we make people feel comfortable and that they trust us.
What is the most important step in your workflow?
Backing up!! We have done a lot of work to earn the trust of our clients and protecting their images is just a small piece of that. When we get home, images are downloaded to our computer, an external and to offsite cloud hosting called Crashplan. The edited jpegs are also kept in those three places + in PASS the digital delivery system we use to share images with our clients. If we are on the road for a destination wedding, then we also download them to a portable hard drive until we return home.
What is the most important piece of equipment that you own?
I don’t think it’s any piece of equipment…I think it’s our creativity and our passion. When the passion goes, the work suffers…I always said when this feels like a job, I don’t want to do it anymore!
I’ve seen the most amazing images taken with an iphone…don’t get me wrong, your gear is important, but without the passion and love..it can just be a camera. – Emma
What does your workspace look like?
It goes back and forth between a very neat and organized desk, to a hot mess with papers and post its everywhere. I can’t focus when it’s cluttered, so I find myself cleaning the entire desk and re-organizing so I can focus again! LOL – Emma
What photographer(s) inspire you?
I am inspired by images not photographers, but that’s because I don’t pay attention to who is taking the images, just what the image says. – Josh
I am inspired by fashion photographers. Russell James, Mario Testino, Ellen Von Unwerth, Steven Meisel, Patrick Demarchelier – Emma
How would you describe your shooting style?
We try to tell a story. We want our couples to interact with each other and when we see something that we like, if it needs to be changed up a bit then we tell them to hold that, move this hand here or there. So we pose without posing, if that makes sense. It might look posed, but it starts organically so they are never feeling as if we are forcing them to interact in a way they normally wouldn’t. I like calling it fashionably romantic so that’s always in my mind, but our couple’s comfort comes before my personal style. – Emma
Tell us one thing about you that most people do not know.
I was born in London, England – Emma
We both used to work in Guest Services at a theme park, so handling a stressed out bride or family is nothing after you have dealt with hundreds of people complaining at once. – Josh
Do you have a favorite photograph that you have taken? Please provide and tell us why it is your favorite.
Josh’s Favorite – Under the pier in Santa Monica. Amy + Ian were such a fun loving couple, the waves kept coming and they didn’t care. We told them to just interact with each other and I captured this. It reminds me of how that entire session felt and also the light was stunning.
Emma’s Favorite – It is SO hard to choose, but right now I am loving this black and white image of Marit + Naj. They were practicing their first dance and I was waiting for Josh to meet me. I had the 70-200 and I just took a few and this happened…and it just speaks to me. They were focused and serious because this was important to them.
Thank you so much Emma and Josh for sharing yourselves with us! Make sure to give them some love at the links below! Stay tuned for next week!