We had the good fortune of connecting with Colter Broadwell and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Colter, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
Growing up I had this idea of what success looked like. I thought it was going to college, getting a degree, and then getting a good job and working in that industry for the rest of my life. That seemed to be the epitome of a successful life. Why did I have this belief? Well, society seemed to tell me this was true. So I followed it.
On this journey to “success”, I had a few major bumps in the road but I eventually achieved most of the things I thought made people successful. I eventually graduated college with a degree in economics and got a really good job. I seemed to be on this path to success. But I wasn’t happy. I found little fulfillment in my job. I was good at it and kept moving up quickly but I found it didn’t provide the things I was hoping for. I was yearning for more.
I came to this realization that I had to smash this idea of what I thought success was. I had to make it my own. That’s when the idea of creating my own photography business came up. Through photography, I found all the things I was looking for. There was adventure, joy, freedom, expression, and love. I had found my passion.
Now I would love to say that I no longer work that corporate job and do photography full time but that is just not my truth yet. I still work 40hrs a week, or more, at my job and do photography with the rest of my time. Right now I am in the process of growing my business. And that was really my thought process in starting my business when I did. Successful businesses don’t happen overnight and it takes years of experience and knowledge in the field to have a self-supporting photography business. So my plan is to continue to grow as a photographer and build relationships while also using my job to live comfortably and get to a place where I can make the switch to doing it full time. Each day I get closer and closer to achieving that goal. This is my version of success and that is all that matters.
What should our readers know about your business?
When it comes to landscape photographers, passion is not in short supply. People who shoot landscape photography tend to be very passionate about it and through that can come a lot of creativity and hard work. So standing out from the rest of the photographers can be challenging. What sets me apart is my willingness and ability to go to extreme places to get my shots. I have a lot of experience with mountaineering and climbing and I love to get the shot that no one else has because I will go to places no one else goes. What I am most excited about is my upcoming move to Alaska. In August I will be moving to Alaska and I can not wait to explore the vast landscapes and seascapes that Alaska has to offer. It will be a dream come true.
My business is what it is today because of my hard work and dedication. With working a full time job, it is hard to also pursue my photography business as much as I would like. There have been a lot of late nights editing or updating my website and lots of late-night drives to get to remote locations. Luckily for me, I love doing all of that. So yes there are for sure challenges but my passion for doing it overcomes those challenges.
The biggest lesson I have learned is that business growth takes time. At first, I set out this whole timeline of where I wanted my business to be but I have since learned that it takes a lot longer to grow than I expected. So I have had to learn patience.
The one thing I want the world to know about me is that my whole goal in this journey is to spread love and positivity through my photography. No matter where my business takes me, I just want to show beautiful images to people across the world!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
There are a few key places that I would take people if they were to visit. The first is the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge. This place has so much wildlife and beautiful views. Every time I go I end up seeing something worthwhile. It also has wonderful views of the Denver skyline. It is an all-around great place to go. Another place would be Cherry Creek Dam road during sunrise. It has amazing views of the city and is one of my favorite places to photograph. I would also take them to Cherry Creek dog park. It is such a fun place to bring my dogs and walk the river in the summer. It’s a great place for both dogs and people. As for food, two places I would take them is City O’ City and Watercourse. They both are vegan restaurants with phenomenal food! Another activity that I would do with them is going to Red Rocks for a concert. This is one of the best venues in the nation and I always suggest someone goes there for a concert once in their life. The last thing I would do with them is go to lookout mountain for sunset and to see the city at night. This is another incredibly beautiful place.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I want to dedicate this shoutout to two people. The first would be my mom. She has loved and supported me my whole life. She has taught me that I can do anything in life if I set my mind to it. She has been a small business owner my whole life. She has had success and failure through that but showed me that it is always worth shooting for your dreams. I would not be who I am today without her.
The second person would be my fiance. While I was finishing up my degree, I had set my love for photography to the side. My whole life seemed to be work and school. That was up until she got me a camera for my birthday. I had long talks with her about my love for photography and how I really wanted a camera again but I never ended up getting one. Her getting me one once again sparked my love for photography. Once I finished school I had ample time to go out and take photos again. It was not long after that I started my photography business. So I owe a lot to her for not only getting me a camera but then pushing me to start my business and loving me and supporting me the whole time!