We had the good fortune of connecting with Sarah Martin and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sarah, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I started my business after my own wedding, where my very own wedding photographer too my money and NEVER showed to my wedding. All my life I have been a very creative person and funny enough at a wedding my husband and I went to before we were married I told him “my dream job was to be a wedding photographer”. So when my own wedding was disrupted from not having my wedding photographer I took friends and family pictures and tried to stich together some type of memory and was inspired to become a photographer. In 2008 with the economy and the great recession it was very hard to find a job, newly married, newly graduated from college, I couldn’t even find a job at walmart to work, so I started my own business with $2000. I got a gray market nikon camera with some kit lenses from ebay, this camera was crap didn’t have all the f-stops, didn’t have all the shutter spots either- I didn’t know how to use the camera, didn’t know how to use a flash. I got my start off of craigslist and that somehow got on the radio and boom I am in business charging 1750 for a wedding.
My thought process behind starting the business was always my fathers saying: find something you love and then find people who will pay you for it and thats what I did.
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 am not in business for the money, I really love what I do- yes sometimes its work and I would love to just have a quiet week with my kids but I really love what I do. What sets me apart from amazing talented photographers, I tell me clients I am awkwardly fun. I own my awkward and dance to my own beat, wear for my comfort and maybe not so much fashion. When people chat with me, they are able to open themselves up to me and have fun taking photos, my awkwardness sets me a part.
I got to where I am today through trial and error and lots and lots of work and figuring out things that I had no clue on- like use my camera. I spent countless hours trying to read and gleam and read business books to get me inspired on what to do or how to do it. I learned you need to be humble and listen because there is so much information if you ask and search for it.
With running a photography business, life is planned months in advance and as I have been in business for 13 years some challenging things have happened and it was hard, being pregnant with my 2 kids and also having 2 miscarriages this year. That has been hard walking into a wedding – tired and beat or need to pump and be bubbly and on point for the day. Take it day by day and have a plan when things don’t work.
I learned you can never have enough back ups, bring more batteries and gear than you need for the just in case, always bring gum, an umbrella, suckers and scissors , have snacks in the car from costco and poncho , ask for help when you see an issue, ask for advice, pass some things off to people who are experts and comparison is the thief of joy.
I am awkwardly fun and your day is yours have it your way my job is to capture your day however you want it.
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?
I would take them to downtown fort collins to walk around and head into the shops, go to the Chocolate shop (nuance for a tasty treat) salas for some good smelling things and hit ginger and baker for lunch. Then go for a bike ride along the river. Then go the Chinese foot shop to get foot and backrubs. And then for the evening get a pizza at Casabas near the college and go to a drive inn movies.
I love nature and going on a hike. I like good food and fun little areas trying local restaurants and shops.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would love to send a shoutout to my very supportive husband Erik Martin, he let me empty out our savings account to start my business and went with me on countless bridal shows, weddings, running to the store when my batteries died, driving countless places so I can shoot a wedding or can have a second shooter. He has been my biggest cheerleader and support. He has never expressed doubt and has always encouraged and supported my dreams!
My head shot was taken by Kate Edberg