We had the good fortune of connecting with Charley Van Amburg and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Charley, is there something that you feel is most responsible for your success?
There is obviously never just one factor to a person’s success. But the one I want to highlight is customer service. It doesn’t matter if you have an awesome product, your business will not be successful without great customer service. As a wedding photographer, I am here to serve my couples and create an experience for the biggest day of their lives. This experience starts from the time they inquire to well after they have received their gallery. This means responding quickly to them and answering questions. This means having conversations with them and getting to know them. This means surprising them with a bridal gift. This means being prepared and helping their big day run smoothly. This means sending a congrats message and a sneak peek within a day or two. This means delivering their gallery in less time than you say you will. This means sending them a card on their first anniversary. For me, it is all about creating an amazing experience for my couples through great customer service and going above and beyond what they think they are going to get. My couples are NOT here to serve me, I am here to serve them. That is what good customer service looks like to me.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
I have a bachelor’s degree in Event and Meeting Management from Metro State in Denver. Before I was a wedding photographer, I was a hotel sales and catering manager. I actually loved what I did and loved the hospitality industry. My husband and I both got laid off due to Covid-19 like so many people. Losing both our jobs with limited job availability was really rough, but a huge blessing came out of it. I started doing porch portraits and mini sessions in my front yard with my starter camera and it all snowballed from there. I was originally doing sessions just to make extra money until I could go back to work. But then, I did my first wedding and that is when I fell in love. I fell in love with not only being a wedding photographer but everything about the wedding industry. Before Covid-19, my goals were very different. I wanted to be the director of sales for a boutique hotel. Photography wasn’t a passion of mine or even a hobby, but it became one unexpectedly. Life has changed and so have my goals. My goal now is to continue growing my wedding photography business with hopes of one day owning my own wedding venue. When I lost my job, I never would have guessed that a year later I would have a successful full-time photography business. I apply all the things that I learned in college and in my sales jobs to my photography business. Everything from marketing and sales to customer service and hospitality. What I’ve learned is that beautiful things often come out of hard times.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
When people come to visit, I love showing off the beautiful state that I live in. When I go places, I am all about adventure and experiencing as much as I can while there. So, my itinerary is jam packed with adventure!
Day 1: Hike St Mary’s Glacier, eat a Beau Jo’s pizza, then drive to the top of Mount Evans
Day 2: Spend the day at Rocky Mountain National Park, hike dream lake, eat at Post Chicken and Beer
Day 3: Rest day (my husband would kill me if I booked up EVERY day!)
Day 4: Go downtown to eat at Tupelo Honey, then see a Rockies game
Day 5: Eat at Zane’s Italian Bistro, then go to a country concert at Fiddler’s green
Day 6: Drink wine at Attimo Wine and walk around downtown Denver
Day 7: Go to the Royal Gorge followed by dinner and drinks Breckenridge Brewery in Littleton
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My shoutout goes to my husband. When I said I wanted to be a full-time wedding photographer and not go back to my 9-5 job, he supported me. He is my biggest cheerleader!
My headshot: Photos by Kess