Hometown & Current City
What was your first job after college?
I was a substitute teacher! I still laugh at this because I am so not suited for teaching. I actually taught art for 6 months and quit to pursue wedding photography full-time. I knew it wasn’t for me. I am meant to work in a world with adults. But I have SO MUCH respect for teachers now!
What made you decide to start your own business?
I always knew I loved photography- I took a black and white film class my last semester of college. At that point it was too late to change my major, and I wasn’t interested in grad school yet. A good friend asked me to come assist her for her wedding photography business, and after I assisted her at a wedding the first time, I knew IMMEDIATELY that I loved it and I wanted to pursue it as a career.
What were the first steps in starting your own business?
Wedding photography is a funny business- most people that I know are full-time wedding photographers started their business because friends, family and referrals were commissioning them to take photographs. Facebook and social media has definitely been helpful in launching many a photography business these days, which is so wonderful. After I purchased the gear I needed to be able to shoot weddings full-time, I opened a business account, set up state sales tax permits, created a DBA, and most importantly, created a website and blog! I had to build that first to even receive any business!
What did you learn in your first job that’s helped in starting your own company?
Ha! With teaching…I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to teach anymore…so that kind of forced me into working like a maniac my first couple of years so I knew I would be able to support our family! All the struggles of teaching made running my own business that much sweeter, and I’m truly very grateful for those teaching experiences for that reason.
If there was one thing you’d wished you’d known before starting, what would that be?
Owning your own business can consume you- your mind, heart, and energy. It’s important to stay balanced.
Was there anything you wish you’d known when you first got started?
Because I have been supporting our family since I started full-time (my husband is finishing medical school), I took every opportunity that lent itself for work. I wish I had been more selective about commissions so that I had more time with family and friends those first couple of years.
What was the toughest part about starting your own business?
Knowing what to invest in- I have spent lots of time and money on things that were not useful to my business. It takes a while to learn what you need and what is excessive spending.
What’s been the biggest challenge you’ve encountered so far?
Definitely staying balanced- I’m a much better photographer when I’m not consumed with my business!
Who or what do you look to for support?
I definitely pray for God to give me the clients he wants me to have- I can genuinely say I have never had a bridezilla, which is crazy because I have on average 40 brides a year! My husband has been my rock. He’s going to be a psychiatrist so I definitely have reaped the benefits of that these past three years!
What’s the most valuable thing you’ve learned since opening your business?
Take a dedicated day off every single week. It’s not encouraged; it’s necessary! Owning your own business can be all-consuming, then the wedding industry itself is even crazier- there’s always so much changing and happening. Taking time off to stay balanced is necessary and healthy for you AND your clients AND your business!
What’s your favorite part about owning your own company?
I have gotten to meet so, so many wonderful people through wedding photography! It’s also given me a really fun, spontaneous lifestyle, plus it has been great to travel and see things I would NEVER have gotten to see otherwise! I am so thankful for it!
What does the future hold for Taylor Lord?
Who knows! I am really interested in getting into the world of blogging, particularly lifestyle and fashion blogs- my favorite part about weddings are styling details and taking portraits, and both of those areas really lend to the blog-o-sphere.
How do you find new clients?
Pinterest and google search have been extremely helpful. With wedding photography, your clients are seeking you out rather than vice-versa, so it was helpful to submit my work to popular wedding blogs.
Any advice for budding wedding photographers?
Be prepared to work extremely hard- it takes a LOT of guts, time, and will power to get your work and name out there in one of the most saturated industries. Always work on perfecting your craft. Always be learning something new. Always seek inspiration in other outlets or prepare to face burnout!