We had the good fortune of connecting with Liam Gordon and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Liam, we’d love to hear more about how you thought about starting your own business?
Starting my own business came at first from necessity. When I immigrated to the US in 2016, I had to wait several months before I was allowed to work. Once I was allowed to work, I spent 4 months applying for jobs, I had one interview with a car rental company. At the very last stage, I was turned down. I felt so defeated.
That was all happening while my fiance (now my wife) and I were planning our wedding. Photography had been a hobby of mine for about 5 years and when I saw how much fun and creatively challenging wedding photography could be. I was kind of hooked on making photography my career.
So I guess my thought process could be boiled down to – Wow, wedding photography looks much better than when my parents got married… And you can make a living from it? I think I could do this.
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?
There are many ways to approach wedding photography. Some are very hands-on, include a small team of people, and can involve quite a lot of gear. and posing. The downside of this is it can unintentionally create a buffer between the couple and their guests. I am proud to provide a minimal experience that focuses on special moments, allowing the couple to interact more with their guests. Of course, I’ll step in and guide them when required but I want as few people as possible to feel like they are impeding my work. And I want couples to enjoy spending time with their guests. Beautiful portraits are amazing in the short term and I love making them, but in 30 years, that hug from a grandparent, cheers with an old friend, a pep talk from a teary-eyed parent before walking down the aisle, are the photos that will hold the most significance.
Getting to this point in my business was much harder than I expected. In many ways, the wedding day is the easy part. There is a schedule I can follow and I know what I need to do next. It’s days in the office that are most challenging. Keeping on top of business admin, accounting, marketing, emails, social posts, things that I didn’t think of as part of the job when deciding to become a photographer. The one thing that has allowed me to overcome those challenges is to just write down, on paper, the 8 things I need to work on the next day, no matter how small. It gives me a basic structure to follow and it’s helped me to stay productive.
What do I want the world to know about my brand or story? The brand name, Tartan Trews, is Scottish for tartan pants. It was important for me to put Scotland front and center in my business. Scottish weddings usually involve wearing either kilts or tartan trews. So it may sound utterly random to Americans but the brand does link to weddings. Plus it’s unique, right?
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 is so much to see and do in Colorado that I’ve barely scratched the surface. For places to go, I think Garden of the Gods is an obvious one since I live in Colorado Springs. It’s a surreal thing to see these giant red rocks sticking out of the ground. It’s also really cool to see them from various parts of the city. Since Pikes Peak dominates the view to the west from most roads in the Springs, going to the top is a must while you’re here. Just take a couple of days to adjust to the altitude first.
One of my favorite things in Colorado is how epic a road trip can be. A drive out to Black Canyon of the Gunnison National Park from Colorado Springs will take you through western-style towns, along rivers and valleys, and over snow-capped mountains. It’s never boring!
If you’re looking for spots to eat/drink in Colorado Springs, the best Coffee Spot in the city, in my opinion, is Story Coffee. It might even be one of the best places I’ve ever tried. Especially when buying bags of freshly roasted coffee beans. For hungry travelers, I recommend Bingo Burger, T-Byrds Tacos, La Baguette, Slice 420, Monse’s Pupuseria, Denver Biscuit Company… there’s a ton of places I haven’t tried yet either that look amazing. If you want something sweet, most people will recommend Josh and John’ss ice cream. There are a few locations in the Springs and they are all great!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
There are several important people that helped me along the way:
– My wife Melissa was the first person to suggest that I could be a photographer and continues to offer encouragement. Without her, I’d probably still be working in car dealerships.
– Ashley & Rachel from Ashley Gerrity Photography. I cold emailed Ashley one day and subsequently worked with her and Rachel alongside building my business. They taught me how to shoot a wedding and how to be a better photographer.
– Ian from Viva Love Photo (my wedding photographer). He gave me the advice I needed to get started and get experience. Talking with Ian led me to emailing every local photographer, asking for work. This is how I ended up working with Ashley.
– Lisa & Isaac from Camp Zeke. I photographed Camp Zeke for 3 summers. It’s unrelated to weddings but they gave me space and freedom to photograph how I wanted. I became a better photographer as a result.