A Starbucks Studio?

Personal

Yesterday I worked on a personal project and in the process of searching for old gear, I came across an old hard drive. It was the hard drive I started my business with, so I thought I’d look through images of the first wedding I photographed. As I scrolled through the images, I shook my head in disbelief. No way. Then I tweeted the following:

I’ll be sharing more images from that first wedding soon, but I look back to that experience with a deep appreciation and pride. I’m so incredibly thankful to my very first bride, Christina, for being wonderfully gracious and taking a chance on a new photographer. I’m indebted to her.

Back in 2007, I met with brides for a initial consultation at Starbucks. I desperately longed to have a studio with sample albums in mahogany shelves and canvas prints lining the walls. Instead, I competed with a barista to be heard. Nonfat caramel macchiato extra caramel no whip double drip for JENNIFER.

Awesome.

I’d arrive early to snag the best table in a corner and set up my laptop. And wait. By the time the prospective bride walked through the doors, I’d nervously made my way through one too many drinks. We’d introduce ourselves and I’d get her a drink while she watched the slideshow I’d set up on my computer. By the time I returned, the show was over so I’d close my laptop and we’d talk. About anything. About everything. And all things related to her wedding.

Every time I left Starbucks at the end of a meeting, I felt miserable…like I wasn’t enough. I mean, who would hire me? No album to show, no studio, no prints. I felt ridiculous and convinced myself I’d never get hired. And yet. And yet these brides would email me a few days later ready to send a retainer for my services.

I’m thankful for my early days, appreciative for the moments of self-doubt for it was these moments that defined who I became as a business person.

Whether you’re meeting in Starbucks, the lobby of a swanky hotel, or in a studio, own it. I met in Starbucks for the first two years of my business, a french bakery for the third year of my business, and later transitioned to a studio, but in every scene, I tried my best to focus on the only thing I had: me. And you have you, so make sure and let that shine for in doing so, it fades out the buzzing of the loudest espresso machine. Trust me, I speak from experience.

Happy Thursday!