It has been a dream of mine for over a decade now to own a photography studio. Earlier this year, with the collaboration of two dear friends of mine, I was able to make that a reality. Sarah, of Sarah Bray Photography, and I met about 8 years ago or so years. We met through mutual friends and then became closer when I started dating my husband - who happens to be her husband's best friend. Early on in our dating history we did a lot together as a couple, but unfortunately with the addition of more kids for each of us, our couple outings have become almost extinct. That said, Sarah and my friendship began to blossom shortly after she had her second child. She had been given a camera from her husband and fell in love with the craft. She developed her skills and has become in my humble opinion, one of the best wedding photographers in Orlando.
Through our love of photography, our kids, our husbands, and other numerous areas we have in common, we have built a long lasting friendship that I cherish. Since the day we met, Sarah and I have joked about going into business together (albeit at first we talked about an event planning company), but the stars never quite aligned and we went our separate ways in business. Sarah's business developed faster than mine as I have always split my focus between photography and mental health counseling. And although I often second shoot weddings with Sarah, weddings were not (are not) my main passion. So, needless to say a true business partnership did not form.
That said, as we both day dreamed of owning a studio, it dawned on us that sharing a space may be the right path to follow. We are after all not direct competition and neither one of us needs to utilize the studio on a daily basis. So we started looking at spaces and realized that in order to get the type of studio we wanted, that it may be advantageous to bring on a third person. Sarah posted to our women's photography group and Rebecca, of Rebecca Jill Photography expressed interest. We all met for lunch and it seemed like a match made in heaven. With Sarah focusing her business on weddings, engagements, and boudoir and my focus being on beauty portraits, head shots, and model development, Rebecca's focus of newborns, babies, and families seemed to hit a perfect trifecta of the photography industry.
Before I officially signed our lease, Rebecca and I had the opportunity to fly together to New Orleans for PPA's Imaging Conference (a professional photography convention). Flying out there and rooming together gave us the perfect amount of time to connect and bond before becoming studio mates - in fact some of the commonalities between us was eerie! Now, almost a year later, I consider Rebecca a very close friend - not just a studio mate. And did I mention that her newborn photography is phenomenal!
I really feel so lucky that the stars aligned and that I was blessed with such amazing studio mates - and friends. I feel such an energy when I am around these women and we constantly push each other to think outside of the box, challenge ourselves, and reflect upon our journey. We have learned a lot so far this year and we are anxiously awaiting the renewal of our lease - at which time I think we will FINALLY be planning an open house (An idea we have discussed many times this year, but hit a lot of roadblocks that have forced us to wait).
I am glad to be able to introduce these wonderful ladies and I encourage everyone to check out their sites (just click on their pictures and it will direct you to their pages).
Images © Jess Regan Photography 2012