Author: Jordan Powers
In my previous post, I talked about our community and how impactful the connections we make can be. Often times the conversations we have are about the present state of our businesses or certain challenges we might be running into. As we are getting closer to the PFRE Conference I am starting to realize that, even though I have had some really impactful relationships, I don’t really know anyone’s origin stories. Origin stories are always great conversation pieces. They really help to get to know people at a deeper level. It humanizes us. Today, I thought I would share mine and hopefully encourage you all to share yours so that we can all start to get to know each other a little better.
I have always been on the creative side of things. I used to draw and paint and do other various kinds of art, but I also had a very logical side to me which made it hard sometimes to conceptualize things. My drawings and paintings tended to lean more toward replicating whatever it was that I saw in front of me whether it be a still life, a portrait, a landscape, etc.
It wasn’t until 2005 that I finally discovered photography which turned out to be the perfect medium for me as it allowed me to capture things as I saw them and edit them as far as my creativity would allow me. I would shoot anything that I could; landscapes, street photography, macro, night photography... anything that helped me to learn the camera and all the different techniques that you could use to make creative images.
Another thing about me is that I have always been entrepreneurial. Ever since I was a kid I have always looked for ways to turn my hobby into a business so the minute I understood how to take a photo, I was already thinking about ways in which I could make money with the camera. As most of us do, I began photographing weddings and portraits and the occasional commercial job.
in 2009, we relocated to another state 12 hours away with my day job. While the move alone was both stressful and exciting, the real challenge was that we had 16 weddings booked for the next year and a half in Ohio and other destinations. That meant 16 road trips from Minnesota to Ohio in the course of 1 1/2 years. That is 384 hours of driving just to photograph weddings. It probably goes without saying, but after about 3 or 4 trips in, I was done shooting weddings.
A few years later, we were looking to purchase our first home. I noticed that all of the photos of the houses in the area were just really bad and we couldn’t really get a good sense of what our options were in the area. Unfortunately, that was causing us to overlook some really nice homes. I was explaining this problem to our agent and just asked out of curiosity if he had ever considered using professional photos for his listings. The thought had honestly never crossed his mind so I offered to shoot a few for him and he has hired me for every single listing since.
I had never really considered photographing real estate before so I wasn’t entirely sure how to approach it. I had all of the equipment I needed and was about 6 years into being a professional so I was fairly confident I could pull it off. Just in case, I did a quick search online for real estate photography and stumbled across this blog. I didn’t do a ton of reading back into the archives, but the articles that just happened to be available around June/July of 2011 were enough to help me understand that my verticals needed to be straight and that this was, in fact, a legitimate business endeavor to pursue.
Since then, my business has seen a steady growth year after year. Now, 8 years into this, I have expanded into a 100 mile radius offering a range of services and have one other photographer who shoots for me. I am now at the point where I am only photographing a couple of higher-end homes each week and the rest of my time is spent working on growing my architecture photography business and other ventures.
What is your origin story? How did you get started in this business and how has it grown?