Luminant officially became an LLC on January 22, 2016, which makes today Luminant’s first birthday! It has been an incredible year, and I’m excited to share a few highlights from year one.
When I decided I was ready to start my own business, I was most nervous about telling Zach. We lived in a tiny (but wonderful) apartment, hadn’t even been married a year, and always seemed to be running in opposite directions. I was afraid Zach was going to say that second shooting was already taking up too much time, that the market was saturated, or that he didn’t want to invest anymore money into my “hobby.”
Luckily, he didn’t say any of these things. Zach has been absolutely wonderful over the last year. There have been weeks where he has done most, if not all, the cooking. He’s served as my assistant several times, and he’s put up with countless late nights of editing. He’s amazing, and there’s no way working full time and running a business would be possible without him.
While I’m a photographer at night and on the weekends, my full-time career is in marketing. I’ve had opportunities to help and see other business’ brands develop, but it was a truly unique experience to see my own brand come to life.
A business’ brand is more than their logo. It’s actually everything about a business: visuals, tone, style, customer service, reputation, etc. Basically, a brand is how others perceive a business.
I’ve been a copywriter for six years, and while I have to say giving my own brand a tone and voice was a lot harder than I thought it would be, I really enjoyed the process. I hope my tone comes off as happy and excited because that’s how I feel.
It’s also been a lot of fun to establish my own photo style. My goal for the last year has been to figure out how to make my photos light and airy. When a client texted me after her engagement session to say, “I love our photos! Your style is so light and airy,” my heart about leapt out of chest.
While I could establish most of my brand myself, my graphic design skills are nothing to brag about. Luckily, I know some talented graphic designers at Treefrog Marketing & Communications, where I work full time. I had colors and an overall feel in mind, but Treefrog’s design team created something better than I ever would’ve imagined. I love my logo, and over the last year, several people have told me, “Your logo just looks like you.”
In 2017, my goal is to put more time into blogging and advertising for Luminant. Since I do this 40 hours a week for clients, marketing Luminant tends to get put on the back burner. But, here’s to making marketing a priority in year two of business!
Treefrog Marketing & Communications has blessed my family and Luminant in so many ways. I couldn’t have a better place to work full time, and I’m not just saying that. From creating my logo to designing and printing my business cards and gift certificates, from hosting my website to allowing me to ask countless web design questions, from using me as a vendor for client headshots to my coworkers and clients becoming Luminant clients, from giving us Fridays off in the summer to allowing me to use my vacation days to stay home and edit photos, I couldn’t be more blessed.
Treefrog’s mission is to help small business owners. I’ve learned that that doesn’t just apply to Kelly Rice and Kyle Burke’s clients; it also applies to their employees. I’m blessed to work for a company that supports my small business. If you’re a small business owner in need of marketing assistance, I highly recommend contacting Treefrog Marketing & Communications, regardless of your budget!
After commuting from Rensselaer, Indiana to Lafayette (which is a one-hour drive each way and put 600 miles on our car every week) for 10 months, we found the perfect house in Lafayette! I love our home. It was built in the 1940’s and has built-ins that give it character.
With our move, Zach left his family’s business and began working at Brenneco Plumbing. He couldn’t have found a better company to work for, and as his wife, I’m very thankful that he found a company with Christian values that values their employees.
After quite a bit of searching, we also found a church in Lafayette and are in the process of becoming members at City of God. City of God practices expositional teaching and puts a lot of emphasis on forming relationships with others in the church. If you’re looking for a church in the Lafayette area, Zach and I definitely recommend giving City of God a try!
Being a Lafayette, Indiana photographer has also opened up a lot of business for me. It’s been a blast to meet and work with new families and couples, connect with and learn from other photographers, and explore new locations for sessions. While meeting new people and families has been great, I’m also very thankful for the Remington and Renssealer clients who still use my services. Many are even willing to drive all the way to Lafayette, and that means more than they’ll ever know!
Oh, Hattie Girl. Yes, my Goldendoodle who I love a little too much has to be featured in this post. I edit most sessions with her laying by my feet, and she’s the best little model when I want to try something new. She’s had her fair share of photos taken over the last year, and I know I’m biased, but I think she’s pretty photogenic.
Fun fact: Hattie and Luminant share a birthday! Hattie is one today too! After our wedding anniversary, January 22 is my favorite day of the year.
My first DSLR was a Nikon D90. It served me well, but God blessed me financially this year, making it possible to upgrade to a full-frame camera in June! I now shoot with a Nikon D750, and I absolutely love it.
If you know how to shoot in manual, you can produce great work with almost any DSLR, but upgrading cameras has allowed me to better serve my clients, and that’s always the goal!
If you would’ve told me a year ago that I was going to fall in love with Mac, I would’ve called you a liar. I was a strict Windows kind of girl, but when my PC just wasn’t cutting it, I began pricing Macs, asking friends, and doing some research. When my full-time job sent me to Boston for almost a week but I had four sessions to edit, I decided to take the plunge/Zach gave me my Christmas present early, and I purchased the new MacBook Pro (I don’t have the one with the touch scroll bar thing. I’m not that cool, and I’m okay with that!).
Now, I will never go back to Windows. I can’t believe how fast this computer is or how clearly I can see photos while editing. Plus, having a laptop has gotten me out of my office, and I can now edit on the couch while Zach watches The Office, our favorite show of all time, and Hattie cuddles with me nicely.
In addition to thinking I’d never be a Mac user, I also never thought I’d have studio space—at least not anytime soon and certainly not in Downtown Lafayette.
Lafayette, Indiana photographers are very blessed that Brian Powell and Janet Stephens own and operate Second Level Studios as a co-op studio. All photographers have to do is pay a monthly membership fee and can book the studio as they need it.
Between classes offered at the studio and having a warm place to take little ones when the weather is bad, becoming a Second Level member has helped my business so much this year. If you’re looking for studio space in the Lafayette area, I highly recommend contacting Brian and Janet!
I personally had my hair and makeup professionally done for my senior, engagement, and wedding photos, and when I began my own photography business, I knew this was something I wanted to offer clients. I really think having your hair and makeup professionally done for photos makes all the difference in the way you feel and in the way photos look.
Thankfully, God put the right people in my life. I partner with Hairstylist Kelli Lah of Changes Salon and Makeup Artist Hannah Esteban of Makeup by Hannah Esteban. They’re wonderful, talented people, and I’m proud to work with them. Check out our first session together here!
I knew it was a busy year, but when I took time to count all of the sessions I had in my first year of business, I certainly didn’t expect the number to come to 79! I’ve worked with amazing immediate families, extended families, newborns, couples, and seniors this year, and I can honestly say that I’ve enjoyed every single one.
Looking back, a few sessions/clients really stand out to me: my first birth photography session, a couple who moved to Lafayette and had photos taken with their dog, a young lady who requested that her senior photos be taken with her cow, two families who allowed me to photograph their families THREE times this year, a session of a little girl and all of the proceeds went to the Organization for Autism Research, a baby girl who I got to photograph every month for her first year of life, a session where a mom invented a ticket reward system on the spot, all of the cake smash sessions (I love these!), our first session with a hair and makeup package, a session swap I did with Pearl Photo & Design, and—well—I better just stop there. In short, I’ve been blessed with fun, amazing clients!
Luminant clients, thank you for trusting me to make and capture memories with your loved ones this year! And thank you to all of those who referred me to others. You’ve made brining my small business to life possible, and I’m very grateful.
Luminant’s first-year of business was an incredible experience, and I’m thrilled for year two to start! As of right now, Luminant has four weddings on the calendar for 2017, a home birth, and several family sessions that I’m really looking forward to. God has blessed me this year, and I’m excited to use year two to give Him honor and glory through photography.
Thank you for checking out the blog! Luminant Photography is a Lafayette, Indiana photographer who offers family, child, maternity, newborn, senior, and engagement photos. Contact Luminant with questions or to book a session!