MEET {two}chics photography :: Women In Business {Series}

INTERVIEW WITH {two} chics photography , Warner Robins, GA.

Hi Shauna & Jessica! I am excited to interview a photography team! Thank you for taking some time to share with readers some insight into your business & lives! First of all how did you two decide to go into the business of photography together?
Imagine two total strangers, a blind-date if you will, meeting on their first date and deciding to get married. Yea, that’s kind of what happened with us! Jessica actually contacted me {Shauna} in January 2010 about second shooting some weddings with her. We didn’t know each other, had never met, and had only recently seen each other’s work on facebook and through various friends. We were both surprised how similar our styles were–we both had the same love of modern meets vintage, bold & fresh colors and a similar shoot style. After a 4-hour coffee meet, we decided “why just shoot weddings together?!” Let’s go all the way with this! And here we are–a perfect team working great together with a very successful business!

How long have you both been in business?
We officially launched our business in May 2010. We haven’t even had our first birthday yet! Jessica started shooting professionally over 4 years ago and I have been shooting professionally for almost 2 years.

How is it working with a partner? What is your process? Do you both shoot? Do you go together to each session or do you split up at all?
We super-love having a partner! It’s great to bounce ideas off of each other, lighten the load if one becomes overwhelmed or sick and pitch in where it counts! We both shoot and both edit–a lot! We shoot weddings together, as well as boudoir, newborns and engagements if they are a bride/groom of ours. We shoot children and families on our own.

Do you ever butt heads in certain situations, or does one person feel threatened by the other? How do you keep the peace?
Definitely not ever threatened. I’m the ying, to her yang! We never argue, we’re very easy going & giving and are awesome sounding boards for one another. We hear each other out and have always arrived at a compromise if a situation deemed necessary. Even though we are so similar (it’s quite scary), knock on wood, we haven’t had any issues! We both have the same business goals and aspirations and know what it takes to get there. I will, however, admit that I think Jessica would chop my {Shauna} hair off in a New York minute because she’s always complaining that my hair shows up in waaaay too many of her shots. I sometimes might be known to be a “shot stealer” of sorts.

Do you ladies shoot Canon on Nikon? What would you say is your favorite lens, the one you leave on your camera most?
Hmmmm… Funny question and ironically perfect timing! We are actually both! And not both as in Jessica shoots one brand and I shoot another. We in fact both shoot with Nikon and Canon. We just each added Canon 5D Mark II’s to our camera bag a few weeks ago. Yes, it is still confusing at times because we only shoot in Manual and the exposure line is in opposite directions but we’re slowly getting the hang of it! We love the high ISO capabilities of our Canon’s and we love the rich color of our Nikons. We only shoot with the L-glass series Canon lenses and we love our 50mm f/1.2L USM, 85mm f/1.2L II USM and 70-200mm f/2.8 IS II USM. Our Nikon’s are D90’s and we love our 24-70mm, 70-200mm and 105mm. It was time for an upgrade and we opted to go with Canon instead of Nikon D3’s. Crazy? Probably!

How is your work-flow? Do you separate it equally between the both of you or do you outsource at all? How do you keep up with all of your editing?
We edit all of our own photos. We’re a little bit on the control-freak side so I can’t see someone else editing our pictures. I can see ourselves getting the pictures back and then fixing something on each one…it makes our skin itch just thinking about it! We edit our own sessions that we shoot and if it was a session that we shot together, we go through the photos, edit our own and compile them. No one would ever be able to tell which photo Jessica shot or I shot-heck, sometimes if a good bit of time has lapsed, we don’t even know which one of us shot the photo! Even though we have comparable shooting styles, Jessica is known more for her portrait captures and I capture more of a wider-angle shot and have a strong attention for details! We keep tons of to-do lists that we can both visualize online with due dates for sneak peeks, edits, print orders, etc. We love the feeling of accomplishment we get when we mark something off of a to-do list!

What is the best thing you ladies have done to make your business successful?
Facebook and other social medias are a great advertiser! We haven’t had to do any paid advertising. Our clients come strictly from referrals and word-of-mouth. A lot of our clients will state “I saw such-and-such’s sneak peeks on facebook and I just had to have ya’ll take our pictures!” Facebook has helped tremendously to make our business as successful as it has been in just under a year! We have some of the best clients and fans in the world! (Almost 10,000 Facebook Fans—WOW!!)

Describe your photography style in 2-3 words:
3 words! Eeek! Oh, that was 3 already! I think we would have to say Fresh.Vibrant.True.

What do you ladies wish someone would have told you when you were first starting out in the industry?
I think we both agree that we wish we had charged more. Your time and hard work need to be compensated! Someone once told us “You need to think of it like this. What is my worth? What is it worth for me to spend my afternoon with your family…and not my own?” This hit the nail on the head! It’s so true! And I think many photographers need to be reminded of this when they’re overbooked, editing 24/7 and missing out on their own families because they’re busy shooting others. Another big scoop of advice is don’t waste a lot of time concentrating on other people’s work. It can sometimes leave you feeling discouraged and that your pictures aren’t good enough. Focus on finding and developing your own style and making it yours!

What advice do you have for friends who want to go into business together? You hear about so many ruined friendships over this, how would you recommend people approach it?
A business consisting of two people need to have the same goals and mindset for where they see themselves and the business going. Establish rules. Assign tasks. Even hold a discussion consisting of what would happen if we split? Who gets what? Who has rights? Visit a lawyer-we did! And we received some of the best guidance for our business! Some people may think that with two people or two business owners comes less stress because there is a second person to pull the load. In all actuality, it can mean more stress because with two people comes double the workload as well as watching and helping your partner because they are not only representing themselves but you, as well, because they carry the business name. Each partner definitely needs to be on the same page…and in the same book.

{two} chics photography has been published in a few magazines and various blogs, how do get your work recognized? What advice do you have for others trying to get their work published in magazines?
Network. Network. Network. Don’t drink the hater-aide! Be friends with your fellow photogs especially in your own community! Establish relationships with vendors and other people in the photography business. More importantly, shoot for inspiration! Every month, Jess and I plan a creative session that we shoot just for us. Just because. Just because we want to. If you love it, send it in. Put yourself out there and share your art with others!

Haha, love that last answer, no hater-aide here! I completely agree. Let’s see, what three items do each of you use most to keep you organized?
•    Smart-Phone (although it hasn’t made us smart yet)
•    An awesome color-coded calendar that lists Jessica’s shoots, my shoots, our shoots together, edit days, days off, etc!
•    Studio Cloud! Awesome business management software for photographers. We input all of our client data here, session details including location and props used, client balances, print orders and any other important info we may want to remember about our clients.
•    You said name 4, right? At the beginning of the year, we go ahead and schedule time off about 2-3 times throughout the year to do business clean-up. This usually consists of updating our websites (we currently have two and are about to add a third), updating facebook photos, discuss any business changes we may need to make, plan any inspirational creative sessions, etc.

Have you attended any workshops/classes? What are your favorites?
We love Imaging USA and we’re glad to say we’ve already booked our hotel rooms for next year! Everyone involved in photography should attend this conference-the material and information you will leave with will be immense! We also love watching the PPA video classes offered and we subscribe to Photovision! We would love to attend a workshop hosted by The Boudoir Divas or Simply Bloom! I’m thinking we need to go ahead and schedule those on the calendar! We would love to attend a destination workshop by one these fantastic photography teams!

What do you girls do for fun that has nothing to do with photography?
We love planning all our vacations throughout the year and placing them on the calendar! We love vacationing with our families to the beach, the mountains, Disney World or our own backyard! We don’t even pick up the camera that much on our vacations because we just want to enjoy life on the other side! We’re both very content just spending time with our hubbies and kiddos! Hugs, laughs and fond memories spent with the ones you love far outweighs any va-ca you could take us on! And did I mention that we love to shop!? We love to crank up the radio, blasting 80’s music, sing at the top of our lungs (we’re pretty good too) and we can laugh for hours! We have been known to head out on a shopping trip for clothes and come home with props in hand! Or even find a new location while headed there! I think it’s pretty much always on our minds!

Sounds perfect :). Where do you find inspiration? Do you play ideas off of each other?
Absolutely! We LOVE to shoot together!! That’s when we really get those creative ideas flowing! We have a great time at our shoots and our clients think we’re pretty funny! I know I think we’re pretty funny!  We love to shoot in the strangest and most unlikely places.  Places people wouldn’t normally give a second look to. We do a lot of pre-planning before each shoot. We work with the client to plan wardrobe, location, props and overall feel to a session.

And finally, what five pieces of advice would you tell business owners/ photographers who are just starting out, make new clients, and overall better their business?
•    Customer service is #1. Place immediate call-backs and emails to potential and existing clients.
•    Do a shoot for yourself at least once a month. Do something you want to do and share it! Be sure to interact with your fans on facebook and post new work! Clients and fans love to look at your new work!
•    Have fun! I mean, seriously, have fun! Make your client feel at ease and talk to them. Laugh with them and make them feel comfortable! We may even spend more time with our camera pulled away from our face talking with a client then we do with it in front clicking away!
•    Thank your clients! Show your appreciation for hiring you to capture those awesome memories!
•    Make a business plan with set goals! Where do you see yourself at the end of the year? In 2 years? 5 years? Make a plan and tackle it so you can get there! Set rules and stick to them!

Thank you ladies! It’s been so fun learning from you in this segment of Women In Buisness!

“Thanks so much for having us! We appreciate the oppurtunity to be featured and this was so much fun!” Thanks a bunch Heidi!”

all images in this post are (c) {two}chics photography

Thanks for stopping by today! Hope you enjoyed this edition in the {WOMEN IN BUSINESS} series! Feel free to go back and check out more amazing interviews with awesome photogs on my blog if you’re just joining the series.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the interveiw, and I’m sure {two}chics photography would love to hear from you as well. So please leave some love & any questions that you’d like to see answered in future interviews as well, in the comments section below.

As always, much love & happiness to you. & COME AND VISIT ME ON FACEBOOK!



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