Photography by Leah
Lifestyle documentary photographer from Vancouver, British Columbia. Specializing in families, couples, and branding.
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your stories

My Photog Tribe | Vancouver Lifestyle Documentary Photographer

 {PERSONAL; VANCOUVER LIFESTYLE DOCUMENTARY PHOTOGRAPHER}

Her prosperity does not make me inferior, and I choose to cheer her on because community rises above competition.
— Natalie Franke, Founder, The Rising Tide Society

All alone.

The hardest part of running your business is running it alone. When I first started out, I would reach out to other photographers hoping to learn about running a photography business but my messages would be left unanswered.  It began to feel like a lonely endeavour and wondered if my photography business was the path I should be taking. I had no idea about workflows, contracts, and marketing. There were courses I took that were great  but it was really hard to put what I learned to practice.  

It took some time but through photography forums via Facebook I began creating my own little online community of online photog friends and getting to know other photographers.  It wasn’t until I met two of my fave photog ladies from Dana Pugh’s online pricing course that I truely felt “community over competition” experience. 

(left to right) Michele of Michele Mateus Photography, Jamie of jmeshoots, and Vanessa of Fortune Hill Photography.

(left to right) Michele of Michele Mateus Photography, Jamie of jmeshoots, and Vanessa of Fortune Hill Photography.

The story begins...

Michele was the person who really brought our little quartet together.  We first met online through Dana's pricing course Facebook page.  Michele's business, Michele Mateus Photography, and her work was something I already knew about.  I was a big fan of her work already.  I was so happy to finally be able to connect with a fellow photographer mom who was also working a day job at the time. She invited me over to her house to talk pricing and to look at samples of products.  That's when she also introduced me to Vanessa.  Vanessa who had her own photography business, Fortune Hill Photography, was another creative that I had heard of through other local photography forums and was so excited to meet. Our trio bonded over photography, products, and wine. It was a beautiful thing.

Over the year we would connect over food and drinks and photography.  It became a business check-in for how we were doing in our lives and with our photography business.  I learned the importance of setting goals and to be confident in your own value.  I look forward to each of our meet-ups!

Fun times.

Our most recent gathering Vanessa had needed some new headshots and we thought why not have fun with it.  I got to meet the awesome photog who made us into a quartet, Jamie of jmeshoots.  For a documentary photographer like myself it was really cool to learn all the tricks of getting some great in camera effects.  I don't use special methods to capture certain effects since as a documentary photographer you photo moments as they happen but it was so much fun learning from my friends.

 
Who woulda thought Mardi Gras can provide some great in-camera effect tools.

Who woulda thought Mardi Gras can provide some great in-camera effect tools.

Special effects simple plumbing material can make.

Special effects simple plumbing material can make.

In-camera double exposures.  I had no idea I could do this!

In-camera double exposures.  I had no idea I could do this!

We also took our own versions of Vanessa to help with her social media content inventory (love her laugh):

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Per usual, our group ended up at the local watering hole for drinks eating our gluten-free tasty treats. We caught up on what's been happening in our lives. We shared new info about the latest and greatest ways to run our businesses we were excited to share.  We asked each other for advise with business things we felt lost about.  We were really truly there to support each other.

At the end of each get together we take the time to pull out our calendars to plan the next meet up.  I love that about our quartet as we always made sure to make time for one another. 

Plenty of laughs with this group.

Plenty of laughs with this group.

We choose community.

Competition is something where one needs to pull ahead of another and there is no feeling of competition between us.  What I love about community is that I can be the cheerleader for my photog friends so that they can focus on their passion for photography and not worry so much about the business side. They do the same for me.  We know we have each other backs and we know we can turn to each other when we feel lost.  I felt I would've given up on my photography business journey if it weren't for these ladies.

So my advice to those new photographers out there looking to start your own business.  Create your community.  Facebook groups are great place to start. 

Here is a list I started out with at first:

Shoot & Share - Vancouver

The Rising Tide Society

Photographer Revolution - Real Business Talk For Family Photographers

Always learning something new and having fun while doing it.

Always learning something new and having fun while doing it.

My photog tribe.

Special thanks to these lovely ladies for being in my life.  Be sure to check out their work by clicking on their links:

Michele Mateus Photography - michelemateusphotography.com

Fortune Hill Photography - fortunehillphotography.ca

Jmeshoots - jmeshoots.com

I also encourage new photographers who are starting out and feeling lost to reach out to other photographers in your own community in messages and comments in these forums.  Don't be afraid.  Just know: you're not alone.  We have all been there. 

You can even start with me.  Contact me today.

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