Our StoryJul 25, 2020
We have struggled.
Life doesn't always go as planned. Sometimes, there are difficult things that change our course.
Maybe you can relate...
Photography was our hobby. Friends knew how much we loved shooting and got us to do their family portraits. Eventually, we decided to form a side business (primarily to help write off gear purchases!).
Dave was working full-time for a renewable energy business his family owned. As the VP of Projects, he managed the entire portfolio of projects, many of them being multi-million dollar deals.
For a number of years, the renewable energy industry was hot thanks to government incentives. However, just as quickly as the incentives came in, the government soon made drastic changes to the program. This wiped out millions of dollars of investments and most of the renewable energy industry in Ontario, Canada.
In a flash, our security vanished. For the first time in our lives, we were left with more questions than answers.
How were we going to pay our bills?
Should we go and find a job somewhere else or should we attempt to take our small, part-time photography business and grow it into something that could provide for our family?
This was honestly one of the hardest times we've experienced as a family. Our three girls were 2, 4, and 6 at the time.
We had so many doubts. There are tons of photographers in the Greater Toronto Area where we live. Could we ramp up our photography business in a saturated market? We didn't want to offer the same services as everybody else, so we started to think of ways to differentiate ourselves.
It was at this crisis point that we were asked to donate a photo booth with a live photographer to an event that was raising money to build a hospital in Ghana. We said yes, even though we didn't know how! We didn't realize at the time that this event would be the catalyst that led to so many future opportunities.
With the rise in LinkedIn's popularity, we knew that headshots were a growing need for business professionals. After the Ghana event, we took that photo booth setup and decided to try applying it to headshots. What if we could deliver headshots instantly the same way we delivered photo booth images instantly?
We put together a proof of concept and decided to test it on our church's college group (for free). This is what our first event headshot set-up looked like...
When we look back on that photo, we have a good laugh. Why on earth did we attach everything to one c-stand? We've tweaked the design since then!
With a few behind the scenes photos, we created a blog post about those event headshots. We still hadn't worked out a lot of things, like a reliable instant delivery system, a live slideshow option, or branding opportunities, etc.
Now here's where the story blows our mind...(still to this day!)
Somehow, in the big world of Google searches, that one blog post caught the attention of an intern working for one of the biggest companies in Canada. She contacted us and asked if we could deliver hundreds of headshots at their next conference.
We were floored. And terrified!
“If somebody offers you an amazing opportunity but you are not sure you can do it, say yes – then learn how to do it later!” - (Richard Branson)
We said YES not knowing exactly how we were going to do it.
We put together a quote, and to our utter shock and amazement, they accepted it!
Now the clock was ticking!
We needed to figure out a way to create an amazing headshot experience that would serve hundreds of people per day. We went straight to Google for answers - but there was practically nothing! Very few photographers were offering something similar, no one was doing exactly what we promised our client, and no one was teaching any solutions. After lots of trial and error, we came up with a system that would:
- Draw a crowd with a branded, curated slideshow of headshots from that event
- Pamper participants with our stylist providing quick hair, makeup and lint touch-ups
- Shoot a series of professional headshots in under 2 minutes per person with 3 different backgrounds
- Allow for a quick edits in our RAW processing software
- Deliver the headshots instantly by email with branding from our sponsor
Here's a behind the scenes video of our very first event headshot experience. The client was thrilled!
Since then, we've had the opportunity to serve large brands from several different industries at conferences and trade shows. Entering this niche market of event headshots has propelled our photography business from a side gig into a six-figure business that supports our family and staff. We are truly grateful!
We're so excited that our story now includes you too! We would love to see your business enter this unique photography market and grow in success as you take advantage of the opportunities that come your way! We want to be there to guide you as you learn and grow to serve the people in your market with your unique services.
We're rooting for you!