It has been a wild ride this year. Totally insanely crazy in the best ways possible. I thought it would be cool to do a “year in review” type post, Sort of a “State of the Business Address”. I figured it would be interesting to come back to this five or ten years down the road and see what was going on in good ol’ two zero thirteen.
This post might get a little bit lengthy. Also, it’s selfishly mostly for me. Welcome to my brain. You’ve been warned.
Tara and I brought our second child into the world. This event kind of overshadowed everything else that happened, so I’m mentioning it first. On September 11th, 2013, Finn Wilder joined our crew. We love that guy. Ezra is still a maniac.
New Website | New Brand
January 1st was the launch of our brand new website. For once we have a website that I actually liked. No, loved. A new logo was developed, a new tagline (“Let us be your something blue” – courtesy of my genius wife), and with that a new brand image. We’ve finally hit something I want to stick with for a long time. Sometimes it takes a little while to find the right thing, but we’ve got it now. I’m very happy with that. Big thanks to the people that gave us help where we needed it – Ilya Radchenko on some of the back-end web work, Matt Solomon on the logo design (you can thank him for telling me I couldn’t use some of my initial ideas), Tara for answering incessant opinion questions, and lots of other people. You know who you are.
Bought (and Sold) Newport Wedding Glam
This turned out to be pretty much a total failure. Sometimes stuff like that has to happen. It was a risk, something that looked really promising but turned out to be something other than what it appeared to be. We were a bit misled when given information about the business and made decisions off of that bad information. In retrospect the decision was made a little too hastily. Probably didn’t pray about it as much as I should have. A decent amount of money was lost on the venture, a good amount of time spent on it that I won’t get back, but there were some important lessons learned that I won’t ever forget. Hey – you’ve got to take risks, and they don’t all pan out. Thanks to Emily and Samantha for writing some really good stuff for the NWGlam blog while we had it.
Accolades is kind of a strong word, but I suppose we did get some.
We had Erin and Josh’s wedding featured in RI Monthly Engaged.
We won the WeddingWire Bride’s Choice Award for the third or fourth year in a row.
We made the Grace Ormonde Platinum List, which is a national collection of the country’s best wedding vendors. We were one of four RI wedding photographers on it.
Aimee and Ben’s wedding was selected to be in the 2014 Southern New England Weddings magazine.
We used to meet prospective clients at Starbucks. While I love the smell, it was frustrating to have to hope that there was a table available, lug all of our albums and anything else I wanted to have with me, and then stand by like a creep and try to figure out if the guy and girl that just walked through the door are the people I’m supposed to be meeting with.
Those days are over.
We now have a studio space that we can invite people to for meetings and hanging out. We remodeled what used to be a three season room and transformed it into a really awesome space. I love it, and have been using the heck out of it. It’s much more inviting, relaxing, and reliable than a public space like Starbucks. Plus, there is a really huge benefit to having our own space. Read on below…
We’ve blogged about First Viewings in the past, but in summary we invite the bride and groom (and some family and/or friends if they’d like) back to our studio space when the wedding is over to see their photos for the first time. It’s like a big unveiling, we make a night of it, and relive the wedding day. It’s awesome. We love it, brides and grooms love it, and it is seven thousand times better than mailing off a USB drive and following up with an email. It’s the right way to close out the big adventure we call a wedding. Plus, there’s nothing better than getting to see our couples’ reactions to their photos.
RI Monthly Official Event Photographer/Cinematographer
We were recently tapped by RI Monthly to be their official event photographer and cinematographer. I thought that was pretty cool. I’m looking forward to having a working relationship with such a great publication throughout 2014. We’ll get a chance to document all their events with stills and video. There were lots of people they could have picked, so we’re pretty honored they chose us.
We participated in our first bridal shows this year. Up until 2013, we had never done one. We went crazy and did three – The Southern New England Wedding Expo, The Newport Bridal Show, and The Original Wedding Expo. Jaclyn and myself went to each one and had more fun than we should have. They were really cool experiences and we got to talk to tons of good people. We took those experiences and narrowed down to just doing the Southern New England Bridal Expo in January for 2014. Huge thanks to my dad for helping with logistics (i.e. transporting giant 4×8 sheets of plywood covered in chalkboard paint and then building a room in place at the bridal show venue).
Jess | Lead Photographer
For the first few months of 2013, we were getting inquiries for weddings that we had to turn down because we were already booked on their date. It was killing me to turn people away, and it was disappointing to them to find out we weren’t available. It started to look like the right time to bring another lead photographer on board so we could handle two weddings on the same date.
I had to find the right person who had a similar style, great personality, and loved doing this stuff as much as we did. I came across Jess through one of many countless internet searches. She had just moved to RI from Michigan after graduating from the Hallmark Institute of Photography. She was gearing up to start her own wedding photography business at about the same time as I invited her over to talk. We hit it off pretty quick (well, I hit it off with her, I don’t know how she felt about me) and I was able to convince her to come to the dark side, I mean, join our team. It’s been working out great and I’m loving having Jess around.
Dan | Cinematography
I’ve had the pipe dream of adding cinematography services to Blueflash almost from the very beginning. Initially I had planned on doing it myself, and then quickly realized that 1) I can’t shoot video and photos at the same time, and 2) I’m just a little tiny bit better at stills than I am at video. Just a little bit. I had been waiting for the right person to come along who had the technical ability, the artistic eye, and the editing skills to be able to create the type of wedding films I had in mind.
Enter Dan. Dan joined our team halfway through the year and we started working on ideas and plans for a couple months before launching the cinematography offering to the public. Even though we launched it with only a few months left in 2013, we’ve already produced three wedding films and people are loving it. There are already 11 couples signed up for cinematography in 2014. That’s incredible, and we can’t wait to produce the awesomest wedding film they’ve ever seen. Yes, I said awesomest.
Caleb and Josh | Unsung Bluecube Backup Heroes
We brought Caleb and Josh on board incognito style. Andrew is only one (very good) man, and sometimes there are other things going on in his life that prevent him from being able to bring the Bluecube to the party on certain dates. We needed some other people to be able to make it happen if Andrew couldn’t. I trained Caleb and Josh and it’s been a huge help to have these guys at the ready when needed.
Finn wasn’t the only new baby in 2013. I picked up a Nikon D800 and it continually proves to be an incredible camera. We added iPads, glidecams, DSLR rigs, studio lights, light modifiers, cameras, and all sorts of other stuff. It’s not really about all of that, but it does help us get our job done right.
We had the pleasure of photographing sixteen weddings this year.
We photographed eighteen engagement sessions.
We created three wedding films.
The Bluecube got invited to twenty-one events.
We did eleven non-wedding shoots (mostly family sessions).
I went to New York to photograph two restaurants for a design firm.
To give you an idea of the rapid growth, we are (at the time of writing this post) already booked for over thirty weddings for 2014. For the math challenged, that means we’re already at about double where we were in 2013. It’s so exciting to know that we get to take part in that many wedding days for so many awesome couples. On top of that, there are tons of engagement sessions that will happen, eleven people already signed up for cinema, and the Bluecube got invited to a ton of events already. Hopefully this doesn’t come across as bragging – I’m just so pumped that we get to do what we love for so many people. Simple as that.
With all that said, we’re so psyched for 2014 to get underway. There are some really exciting things up our sleeves for the new year. I can tell you about some of them, and others we’re going to roll out when the time is right.
One new thing that we recently mentioned is Flash Parties. You can read about them in the blog post HERE. I don’t want to rehash it all on this post. Follow the link to check it out.
The second new endeavor is a giant one for us. We’re branching off from the wedding world and leveraging our photojournalistic style to enter into the world of high school senior photos. Yes, you read right, we are on the verge of launching a senior division of Blueflash Photography. This has been in the works for a few months now. I’ve been toiling away at a whole separate website, getting the infrastructure in place, and developing some innovative ways to go at senior photos. This is a huge effort, but after a lot of thinking (and pressuring from some high school age friends), I’ve decided that it makes perfect sense to offer our services to high school seniors.
High schoolers are awesome. Tara and I (and Amanda) work in the youth group at our church with the senior high and we love all those guys and girls. I think it will be a ton of fun to start doing this. Teenagers are energetic, forward thinking, creative, and good people. We want to hang out with them. And take their picture. This is a new division for Blueflash, so for us it’s a pretty big deal. Keep your eye out for the launch of the senior division of Blueflash over the next few months.
The third big thing is still under wraps. All I can say is that we’ve partnered with another really great local business and are working on some things together before we do a public launch. It’s new, different, and we’re excited to work together with this other business that has been serving the RI area for lots of years. That’s all I can say about it right now!
There are other things going on in the Blueflash lab. There’s more ideas kicking around, some are in their infant stages and some are waiting their turn to get rolled out. We’re just getting started. Thanks for coming along for the ride!
This ended up being even longer than I thought it was going to be, and I thought it was going to be pretty long. I feel like I’m giving an Emmy Award acceptance speech. Maybe I’m being over dramatic. I know I said it about ten times throughout this post already, but we love what we do, so it’s really exciting when you see people respond to that.
I am so fortunate to have an awesome team of creative and talented people to work with. Jaclyn, Amanda, and Andrew who didn’t get a mention above because they joined in 2012 – reliable and dedicated people that I can depend on. Thank you guys. Dan and Jess, I already blew your heads up earlier in the post, but thanks for coming on board and producing awesome work. And of course thanks to Tara for letting me out of the house almost every weekend of the year, holding down the Celeste fort, and being an awesome wife and mom.
I have to say a huge thank you to all of you who check out our photos on Facebook when we roll out new sessions, read the blog when we erratically put up new posts, follow our Instagram feed, follow and repin our Pinterest stuff, drop our name to your friends, family, and co-workers when they get engaged or are looking for a photographer, and just say nice stuff to us sometimes.
And last but not least, thank you to the brides and grooms that let us be a part of their wedding, join in their lives at such a critical time, and become friends when it’s all over.
You are all awesome. Have a great New Year.
-Matt and the Blueflash Team