So here we are, almost a month has gone by since we launched Lex & Josh and I feel like now is a good time that we talked about how we got here.
Yup… This is kind of an origin story…
So first a little backstory:
So way back in the summer of 2012, I met this dorky weirdo… Oops I mean…
I met this gorgeous girl and by the end of the summer, we were dating. We spent an amazing 4 years together and just so I don’t bore everyone with the details, let’s just say things were going really well.
I was going to school for Mechanical Engineering while working part time at a Wedding Photography company and Lex was at school for Interior Design while working at a local Daycare. Things were great and we were both on the path to good jobs and a happy life together.
Then… Things got a little complicated.
Yup, Lex was pregnant and due in June of 2017.
We had a ton of things to figure out and chief among them was what in the holy hell are we going to do about money in the coming years. And for those of you who don’t know, living in Vancouver is EXPENSIVE! You’ve all heard of the movie ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ right?
But I know what you are all thinking: “it’s all good! Josh is going to become an engineer and make lots of money for his new family!” But really it’s not that simple. I still had two more years to go in the program and while engineering has always been fine for me, I wasn’t in love with it. Don’t get me wrong I love the aspect of problem solving and working with your hands to build things, but realistically I was never going to have a career where I was going to be doing that all the time.
Photography was so much more creative, so much more hands on, and so much more FUN. Every shoot I went on felt like I was put in the hot seat, tasked with creating gorgeous photos, managing challenging lighting conditions, entertaining the clients, and making sure that whole shoot was great from start to finish. Yes it was stressful, but so engaging and rewarding.
So with all that said, the choice was clear. Drop out of engineering and go full time with wedding photography. Call it naive thinking, but I really believed that I had a much better shot at being successful in a field I was passionate about, no matter what field that ended up to be.
For Lex, the choices were no easier. She had just started her Interior Design program and was now faced with she was going to do after maternity leave. Like me, her schooling was fine but nothing that she was crazy passionate about. Feeling like something was missing from what she was doing. And money was an ever present concern…
Anyways… in comes this little monster.
Isla dropped into our lives like a wrecking ball and for a while we were just struggling to get through the days. Sleep deprivation is real guys.
But as these things always are, she’s a total blessing and we count ourselves lucky every day to see her smile. It was during these days spent at home with a newborn Isla that we got wrapped up in watching amazing wedding films. The ones with ultra cinematic quality, audio, and story telling. They take your breath away, make your hair stand up, the whole deal. They impacted us in such a way that we started to wonder how photography could learn from videos like this. At the time, wedding photography for me was simply a process of showing up at a nice location and doing whatever it took to get the nicest shot. No story telling, no planning going in. To be honest it always felt a little hollow, like we could have done better.
We started dreaming about how we could plan out shots in advance to truly reflect the couple’s love story. How we could come up with story boards, colour palettes, and wardrobe to match. All this to tell their story in the absolute best way possible. Then wrap it all up in a book that would mimic a great wedding video!
This dream sounded great, but would it actually work? Could we start a business while taking care of our daughter? Working from home and setting your own hours definitely sounds ideal from the outside, but we know too many stressed out business owners to fall for that crap. What we were looking at though was the potential to be passionate and excited about our careers. A career that would make us stronger as a team and closer as a family. Now that was something we could fall for.
So, with reckless abandon we began formulating our year long campaign to start our own company, Lex & Josh Photography.
First course of action… spend money.
No but seriously as a seasoned wedding photographer I knew that if we were going to serve high end clientele, we needed some high end equipment. And that costs money.
Also add that to the fact that we were ambitious with Youtube and therefore needed video equipment too!
But we weren’t going crazy, we had a plan and some… sort of a budget although I was definitely more keen on the new gear then Lex was. I knew what we were capable of though and I wasn’t going to let cheap gear get in the way of our company success.
Before we knew it, we were kitted out with 4 professional cameras, two bags full of lenses, strobes, light stands, video cameras, tripods, sliders, gimbals, drones, and a roller case to put everything in. We were set. And now it was time to practice.
Throughout the cold winter Vancouver months, it was my mission to get myself and Lex ready for video production in the Spring. Some days we spent recording our days in the house, some days we went to record timelapses of the mountains. Then we would edit it all together into the worst videos that will never see the light of day. Ever.
But over time these practice vlogs got better and better and we started to feel confident in where all this was going. Maybe we were a little biased, but we thought our videos were actually pretty entertaining! And with March rolling around, we were just in time.
March was the month when we officially started to get our portfolio material and began investing into style shoots. These were the photos that were going to get us on the map, and boy was it a nervous couple of months.
Not only did these photos have to be amazing, but the video content had to be solid too. Not to mention the financial investment into both of these shoots. The pressure I was feeling during these two shoots was enormous, but somehow we made it through.
We ended March with two solid pieces of portfolio which looked very different from each other and showed our range as photographers. One shoot was at Hycroft Manor which was more of a fashion editorial, while our Cypress Mountain shoot was definitely more fantasy shoot.
The plan for the next couple months was to plan out some more style shoots, and start asking some of our couple friends if they were interested in getting a free shoot for our portfolio! We are lucky enough to have some very interesting friends, and their relationship stories would make amazing portfolio for us. Oh, and we were also lucky enough to collaborate with an awesome makeup artist who I had met the previous year! She was so amazing and worked with us on all our style shoots.
May came and went and we got one more style shoot in the bag. This one was at Nitobe Gardens which gave us a very nice free spirited vibe. Unfortunately this would be the last of our big style shoots but fortunately, our couple portfolio shoots were just around the corner.
The problem though was that while we were hard at work on this new company, I was still working full time as a wedding photographer for another company. And as everyone knows, summer is the busy season and it was fast approaching. I knew that I would be absolutely swamped with work in the coming months and that there was no way I could keep up with Lex & Josh.
With our launch date set on September, I knew there was only one way we could be ready in time for our launch. I had to quit my job before the summer wedding season started.
It was a tough decision as we could definitely use the full time income to finance the company’s efforts, but in the long run, being able to work on the company full time throughout the summer months was way more important. Besides, I still had contract work in the summer to keep the cash flowing in.
Unfortunately most of our portfolio couples had fallen through which put all our hopes on Devy & Michelle to come through for us. And luckily a date opened up and we jumped on the oppurtunity! We split the shoot into two separate days so that we could focus on each distinct style of shoot. Being two athletes in a relationship, they had a very unique story to tell which took quite a bit more planning and effort.
Part 1 took place in Devy’s gym where he trains and luckily we had access to the gym late at night. We needed the gym dark and empty so that we could play with lights and get super dramatic imagery with both Devy and Michelle. These images turned out awesome, but definitely took a little more time to set up and execute. Thankfully we didn’t have a restricted schedule to follow.
Part 2 took us to a beach where they actually went on their first date. This shoot was way more fun and relaxed but ended up having a time crunch of it’s own… the sun setting. We were so happy with everything we ended up with however and are so thankful that Devy & Michelle pulled through for us. Finally we had some portfolio to show potential clients what kind of services we can offer.
Now it was around this time, the beginning of August, that we realized we had a bit of a problem on our hands. Our goal with Youtube was to share our journey with others in the hopes that it can give a little insight into our lives as photographers and possibly inspire others to also follow their dreams. As made clear to us by everyone, Youtube is a tough market to break into and it takes a long time to see any kind of reward. With that in mind, we knew we needed to have a strategy to release all our content. Up to this point, we’ve created all this behind the scenes content and some style films but those didn’t seem fresh and relevant.
We had the idea a while back to create weekly vlogs to showcase our daily lives starting a company and looking after Isla. With August looming and September fast approaching, we thought it would be a good idea to vlog all of August and do a sort of trial run. This content was also way more relevant then behind the scenes videos of our past photo shoots so we thought it would help with our view count.
With 4 weekly vlogs ready to go, and many more from our past style shoots, it was time to release all our videos. We decided the best course of action would be to post one video every day until the launch day of our company, hoping it would drum up some interest for what we were trying to do. And so, on August 22nd, we opened our Youtube account and posted our very first video!
Which to be honest, probably just confused a lot of people.
But no matter there were lots more videos coming out over the rest of the week and by September 1st, people were going to be really excited about our new company!
And by people… I really mean friends and family…
But hey it’s a start and we’ll take it!
The days leading up to September 1st was a complete race to finish our website, Facebook page, Instagram page, and have everything ready to launch that day. I feel like it doesn’t matter how much you prepare, it’s still going to be a total rush during the last week to get everything ready.
And before we knew it… bam it was launch day and Lex & Josh Photography was public to the world.
It feels… the same honestly. It’s not like suddenly we have all these business opportunities or clients contacting us all the time. The only real difference is that now our portfolio was public for everyone to see and now we had social media accounts to manage and grow.
But for real we are super optimistic about the future. With only a month as a public company we have reached out to a bunch of amazing couples on Instagram and arranged for portfolio shoots in the coming months. We are hoping that these will help get our name out there and get people talking about Lex & Josh.
And for now, we just have to keep working at it… photo by photo, vlog by vlog, follow by follow.
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