Death Valley

Death Valley

Today I’m sharing the last bit of me and Brendan’s drive across the US! I shared our stops at the Painted Desert and the Grand Canyon a few weeks back, so be sure to take a peek at them if you haven’t already. Death Valley is without a doubt the weirdest and most unsettling place I’ve been to. It’s beautiful, don’t get me wrong, but it’s literally the last place I’d ever want to get stuck or lost. Zero cell service, few people and heat like no other. We arrived a couple hours before sunset and it was 116° – imagine what it was like at high noon! If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to be inside a hair dryer, Death Valley is the place to find out.

Stark white and grey mountains contrasted with a cloudless blue sky and you could literally see for miles. There are a lot of neat stops and vistas in the park, but we opted for Zabriskie Point and the Mesquite Flat Dunes. The sand dunes were my absolute favorite and also kind of bizarre. Brendan had fun jumping off of them though, so it was worth it for a few funny videos :) and some of my favorite pictures. If we ever go back, I’d love to go South to Badwater Basin and be at the lowest point in North America – 282 feet below sea level (and probably terribly hot). There are also these bizarre moving stones in the area? Like I said, Death Valley is a weird place.

And if spending the afternoon in the scorching desert wasn’t enough of an adventure, we drove through a mountain range in the pitch black without cell service or directions to get to a campsite where we could spend the night! Driving across the country was fun, guys :)

Film Processing: PhotoVision

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Emily is a destination film wedding photographer. She loves natural light and is available to travel worldwide.

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Tyler + Connor | Lilly Pulitzer Wedding

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Get ready for one of the most colorful weddings I’ve photographed! While working for Lilly Pulitzer, Tyler has grown to love the fashion brand and its namesake color – hot pink! With the designer in mind, Tyler filled her wedding with everything Lilly – bridesmaids’ dresses, pineapple accents, monograms and lots of pink. Lilly patterns adorned the groomsmen’s ties, seating chart and almost everywhere in between. A Southern Soiree did an amazing job making this Lilly Pulitzer paradise come to life, matching Tyler’s love for Lilly and Connor’s love for golf. At the end of the night, guests were treated to a table full of little gifts ranging from chocolate to pineapple bottle openers to golf tees. It truly was a day filled with this sweet couple’s favorite things.

The colors we had Tyler’s engagement and bridal sessions were some of favorite, so it was no surprise that we had beautiful light at her wedding. I love how this film came back and hope that these images take you back to sunny summer days!

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Photography: Emily March Photography | Event Design & Planning: A Southern Soiree | Venue: The Umstead Hotel & Spa| Florals: The English Garden | Rental Company: CE Rental | Wedding Dress: Vera Wang | Bridesmaids’ Dresses: Lilly Pulitzer | Hair & Makeup: The Glosserie | Film Processing: PhotoVision

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Emily is a destination film wedding photographer. She loves natural light and is available to travel worldwide.

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September Goals

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Truly, I think August may have been the fastest month in history. Between family visiting twice, shooting a wedding and organizing/finishing up a big styled shoot, the past 31 days flew by! My business celebrated it’s 5th birthday a couple weeks before I turned 26. I spent a week in North Carolina and saw so many of my favorite people. We explored our little town and fell in love even more with our area of California. I’m not sure I’ll ever tire of tasting wine on the weekends :) September looks like it’ll slow things down a bit, which I am very excited about. I feel like our life has been pretty nonstop recently with something big just around the corner, but there’s no big plans and very few travels in September. I’m pretty excited for a month of normalcy, weekends at home and settling even more into our new life.

So here what I’d like to accomplish with all this time!

No. 1 Photograph a wonderfully sweet couple get married at one of my favorite venues in Richmond. Can’t wait to shoot at Tuckahoe Plantation again! I absolutely love this venue – the history, the gardens, the open space. It’ll be my third time shooting here, but I don’t think I’ll ever tire of Tuckahoe.

No. 2 Finalize the design of and hopefully launch my new website! I had hoped to go live with it a couple weeks ago, but, alas, technology and I don’t always get along. Hopefully September will provide smoother sailing on the tech side of things and more clarity as I make a few more design choices. I can’t wait to show what I’ve been working on!

No. 3 Start a new exercise routine here in Santa Rosa! Exercise is typically the first thing to go out the window whenever my day-to-day routine is disrupted. It’s pretty safe to say the moving across the country was and continues to be a big transition, so my consistency with running has gone out the window. I’m hoping to get back into shape this month and be more disciplined in building runs and workouts into my weekly schedule.

No. 4 Refinish my desk and finish unpacking/decorating our office. This has been on my list for a long time, but this month might be the first month I’ll actually be able to do it! I have quite a bit of furniture I’d like to refinish, but my desk is the most pressing since it determines a few other office furniture purchases that I haven’t been able to make yet. Thus, I have a lot of office stuff laying on the floor and still in boxes!

 And life according to Instagram! Celebrated 5 years of business, bought my new favorite shirt/expressed my love for gardening and flowers in my apparel, organized and photographed an amazing styled shoot and celebrated my 26th birthday by sleeping in late and seeing all my favorite people :)

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Emily is a destination film wedding photographer. She loves natural light and is available to travel worldwide.

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5 Years

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Half a decade. 1825 days. 5 years. It’s absolutely insane to me that I’ve had this little business for that long! Often I don’t even feel like I’m old enough to have a company that’s 5 years old. I started Emily March Photography the summer before my senior year of college at UNC. I was sitting on the big yellow couch in my living room when I decided that this was what I wanted to do. I had tossed around the idea for months, but part of me still felt like it was crazy. Start a business?? I’m 20 years old. I don’t know the first thing about running a business! But after years of being the girl with the camera and 6 months interning for Southern Weddings, I just knew that this was it. Nothing had quite captivated the hopeless romantic in me like wedding photography. It was the perfect marriage (not apologizing for the pun) of what I loved.

So, sitting on my couch, I thought “Heck, I’ll never know if I never try.” So I did the only thing I could think of to get a client – I posted an ad on Craigslist. Yes, guys. Craigslist. The chance that I was wearing pajamas for this momentous occasion is 100%. I remember picking all my favorite pictures. Scenes of Italy from study abroad. Portraits of my friend in Paris. Snapshots of campus. And – I kid you not – 20 minutes later I got an email from a girl named Jessica asking me to photograph her wedding in the Outer Banks the following May. It was one of the fastest answers to prayer I’ve ever gotten.

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I wanted everything – my contract, licensing, business – to be legitimate. I made my first logo on Microsoft Word and built a little (awfully designed) website to show off my pictures. I met with a lawyer to draw up the paperwork to file for an LLC, and on August 18, 2011 I signed my name on the dotted line. Emily March Photography was born. The following summer I photographed Jessica and four other couple’s weddings. It still amazes me to this day that each of those couples booked me knowing that I have never shot a wedding before!

In the years that followed I poured my heart and soul into Emily March Photography. I paid my entrepreneur’s dues and worked 3 jobs at one point so that I could invest every penny my photography earned back into my business. I read books about leadership, entrepreneurship, photography and dreaming big. I did my best to exercise self-control. When I saw a lens or camera or workshop that I wanted, I saved my money, and I’m insanely proud that in 5 years, I’ve never had even $1 in debt. To this day, I think that’s one of the best things I ever did for my business. I took every wedding and session I could get my hands on and never said “no” to a single opportunity that came my way. Take head shots for my neighbor in the grassy lawn by our apartment’s parking lot? YES. I practiced, practiced, practiced. When I couldn’t ever get an engagement ring in focus, I spent an hour in my driveway photographing one of my rings until I finally got the picture I wanted. I battled intense discontentment at times and struggled with comparison. I started sharing my monthly goals to hold myself accountable, and with time I was able to check those goals off one by one. Then, one day in April of 2014, I checked off one of my biggest – go full time with my business. Brendan knows firsthand how much we wrested with that decision and its risks, but I can say with purest confidence that it was one of the best decisions I ever made. The first two months after I quit my other job were two of the highest grossing months my business has ever seen, and I’m sure that was the Lord’s way of saying “See! I told you it would be fine!”

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Fast forward to today and I can see that this business has given me so much more than I ever imagined. There are people I would have never met and experiences that I would have never had if this business didn’t exist. It’s fun looking at these behind the scenes pictures (nearly all of them cell phone pictures, naturally) and recalling all the stories and people (most notably Morgan and Tiffany) that were a part of them. I almost cried from happiness when a couple brought their new puppy to their wedding. I was actually a part of the greatest reception entrance I’ve had a couple do – I was on the pontoon with them as the sailed up to a cheering crowd of family and friends! Yes, it was awesome.

There are things I’ve learned that I would have probably never thought about if I didn’t start this business. I know WAY more about small business tax code and write offs than I honestly care to know. I know how to manage a team and lead them in a way the gets the job done and allows them to have fun while doing so. I’ve learned how to stand my ground, fight for what is best for my business and couples and not allow what other people are doing or think dictate my direction. I learned how to take a leap of faith and trust that my hard work would pay off and that the Lord would provide for us. I’ve learned to shoot in a medium that many people don’t even realize still exists. Being a small business owner has allowed me to take on so many different roles besides photographer. I’ve filled the shoes of marketer, social media manager, accountant, negotiator, bookkeeper, coder, and designer. And, if I’m being honest, when I started 5 years ago, I had NO CLUE I’d have to own those titles at one time or another.

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It’s amazing to me just how much this decision has changed my life. Yes, it gave me a job I love, and I’ve met amazing people along the way, but Brendan always says one of the first things that made him want to get to know me was that I owned a business. I’m sure my witty charm and unparalleled good looks would have caught him anyway ;) but I love knowing that this business played even the tiniest role in our story. It’s been an incredible blessing for our marriage since then, giving me full control of my schedule to be flexible for him and providing an income that sustained us perfectly through medical school.

And truly, I never could have done this without him. Sure, I started this business on my own, but he has supported me in every way possible since day one. From second shooting (even when it was very inconvenient for him) to looking through the scans from a recent shoot as I gush over them to hearing out all my ideas. He’s held me accountable and challenged me when I was being lazy. He’s been my #1 fan who snaps me out of any insecurity or doubt, bolsters my confidence and encourages me to chase after my goals.

Photo by Emily March Photography // www.emilymarchphotography.com

So, cheers to 5 years! I’m grateful for every single one of them and even more grateful for the people who made them possible. I’m grateful for the countless couples I’ve had the privilege to photograph and get to know. I’m grateful for the rich community of photographers I’ve called friends, who have helped me in a pinch, given great advice and have taught me how to be the best photographer I can be. I’m grateful for my parents who didn’t scoff when I told them as a college senior that I’d rather start a business than get a normal job or go to grad school like everyone else. And, most importantly, I’m grateful that the Lord not only gave me this talent, but also gave me my dream job. Photography has always been one of my greatest passions, but to see it become so much more than that is truly one of the greatest gifts I’ve been given.

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Emily is a destination film wedding photographer. She loves natural light and is available to travel worldwide.

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August 18, 2016 - 1:24 pm

Beth - Congrats, Em – this is awesome! Cheering you on from the East Coast :)

August 18, 2016 - 3:42 pm

Abby - I just got so weirdly emotional reading this! Love ya and your awesome business!

September 2, 2016 - 11:27 am

September Goals » Emily March Photography | International Destination Wedding Photographer - […] life according to Instagram! Celebrated 5 years of business, bought my new favorite shirt/expressed my love for gardening and flowers in my apparel, organized […]

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