So yeah, I have a photo booth.

Most of my life, I've tried to be the nice girl.  Not wanting to make waves with anyone- wanting to keep things running smooth, always enjoying friends, never wanting any enemies.  I mean who does?  Business is hard.  It's this delicate dance of wanting to succeed, wanting to pay the bills, put food on the table, wanting to really win at this thing called life, but being aware of how to go about it so that no one's feelings are hurt.  I've never wanted to step on anyone on the way up- and I have a hard time even acknowledging that I am climbing the photography ladder because again, I consider myself to be humble, private, I've never been interested in showing off- I have a really hard time giving myself credit and patting myself on the back once in awhile.  Hell, I hardly post on Facebook... I'm old school.  If you want to know what is going on in my life, freaking call. lol.

My colleagues and acquaintances are important to me.  I enjoy meeting new people in the industry, or people that I'm friends on Facebook with, but have never actually met face to face (I have a few of those).  At this point in my photography career, I know that I don't have any competition.  I know- we've ALL HEARD THIS BEFORE...YOU are your only competition, BLAH BLAH BLAH...but it is actually true.  My photography style is not everyone's cup of tea, and I'm ok with that.  Seriously.  I think we all try to pull away from what everyone else is doing to define ourselves; I've definitely pulled away from the pack, and over the years have isolated myself so much that really I only associate with a few other photographers.  No I'm not a snob, a bitch, a loner.  I'm just busy 'doing me.'  There is nothing wrong with that.  I'm busy focusing on running my business, meeting brides, shooting weddings, obtaining commercial work, focusing on raising my kids, finishing our house (yes, 11 years now for those who are interested....).  I really just want to give clients the best possible experience, and in order to do that I have to be in this office day in and day out, scheduling engagement sessions, working on timelines, getting contracts sent out, bookkeeping, scheduling, marketing... If I don't do this, there is no reason for me to stay at home.  I might complain about sorting receipts, and bookkeeping now and then, jokingly on Instagram... but I enjoy the work.  I was born to run an office.  I've always been really good at that- any past employer can attest to that.  I check in on Facebook now and then, sometimes a few days go by.  I don't have time to scroll and troll.  Again, not being bitchy- just honestly busy! Plus now that I've turned another year older, I'm at that point in my life where I'm thinking... "Am I too old for Facebook?" That's another blog.

For the last 7 or 8 years, Shane (my husband for those who don't know his name) has been wanting a photo booth.  It's never really been something I've been interested in.  I love holding a camera in my hand, and being a part of a moment.   He however (and this is another reason why I love him so very much) is ALWAYS thinking of the "Next Step."  "So what are we going to do? Shoot every weekend?  Ok, but what about ________________" (insert his "Next Step" here).  He's talked about photo booths for years.  How fun they are, how easy it would be, how it would be another way to work and stay busy within the community, and still within the business of photography.   Again, I've never felt it was an exciting thing, never really seemed interesting to me, I never really cared.

So, he is researching them, and we decide to take the next step.  This makes me nervous as hell, I'm not going to lie.  First of all, I know a few photographers who have photo booths, and because I'm always concerned about peoples' feelings- I'm afraid that feelings will be hurt, even though I barely know these people.  Crazy right?    I'm also concerned that I really know nothing about running a photo booth, how to market it, it's like loving to cook, but then being asked to start a farm.  Now starting a website and ordering business cards, registering it with the state and getting a tax ID?  Sign me up- I can do that all day.  Business checking account here I come... again... I have no problem running an office and starting a business on paper.  I have a problem publicly saying that I am starting another business, because I don't want to hurt or piss people off.    

Here goes: Yes, I am the proud owner of TWO businesses, completely separate from eachother, but can be run together if a client wants both.  It's been running since February, and I've never publicly acknowledged it or advertised it on my personal page.  Some might think I'm nuts (my husband being one of them), others can sort of understand where I'm coming from.  

I want to be respectful of the other people I know in Oklahoma who are working hard, putting food on their tables doing the same thing I'm doing.  It's hard, it goes back to that delicate balance of working, wanting to be successful, yet wanting to still be friends with everyone.  Sometimes it works, sometimes you just can't do it.  At this point though, I do realize that I just have to work, and this photo booth has to work, and I will be advertising it, and booking jobs with it.  It's years in the making- in fact had I not said "no freaking way" 7 years ago to a photo booth I probably would have had that first before I started photography.  I love what I do, I love the people I've met.  That I'm aware of, I've never hurt anyone- I'm sure this blog is not even necessary- but if I feel it is, than it probably is.  

We had our first photo booth job last Saturday and it was amazing.  I'm not gonna lie, I had a smile on my face the WHOLE time.  The kids had a blast taking photos, I had a blast watching them... it was SO MUCH FUN.  OH MY GOD.  When we were done, we both felt like we were high on life.  It was energizing.  Photography is too, don't get me wrong, but in a different way.   It felt so strange to stand there and watch people have a good time.  Shouldn't we be running around with cameras??  I discovered this firsthand:  People are more willing, and more comfortable acting silly and really just being themselves to a box, than if it were me holding the camera.  You can cover a wedding all day long, but to have a photo booth at your wedding and seeing how genuinely silly, happy, daring, (insert other good verb here) your guests are- and having those additional photos as part of your night really is a huge bonus.  People will do things in front of a box that they WOULD NEVER do in front of me.  The smiles are even bigger, the laughs are even louder, I can't even describe how cool it is.  We are definitely fun photographers, and we make people laugh all of the time but this was SO. DIFFERENT.  

Now I can see the appeal of running a booth.  I can understand why it's coming back and why it's so popular.  This blog is also meant to say to the world, "Yes Babe, you were right."  :-)  We are excited about putting our own spin and style on this business, and I have some really great ideas on how to do that.  Let me just say- no one else is going to be offering a style like this in Oklahoma THAT I KNOW OF.  It all goes back to: there is no competition, people are either going to hire you or NOT!

So without further adieu, I'd like to introduce Take Your Pic, LLC.   It's our newest baby, born in early February, growing bigger and heavier by the day (hopefully the midnight feedings and diaper changes will end soon).  So yeah.  I have a photo booth.

Until next week (I'm currently buried in editing and papers)

Happy Shooting.

~Leia

Leia Smethurst

Leia Smethurst Photography, PO Box 18694 , Oklahoma City, OK 73154, United States