MEET | Meghan Gorman | Meghan Marie Studio
One of the best things about the event planning industry is the amazing vendors we get to work with! These people are some of the most creative and kind people you will meet. Each month in our Meet Spotlight we introduce you to some of these creative entrepreneurs. In this series, we will get to know a little about the businesses these entrepreneurs have created and what drives them to be successful.
Tell me a little about Meghan Marie Studio. When or how did it start?
I have been in the photography business for about 5 years. The way I got into photography isn't super glamorous or exciting. It was something I was doing as a hobby and I finally came to crossroads. I needed to decide if this was just a hobby or something more. I think that is a crossroads where a lot of creatives find themselves! Things were starting to evolve and I needed to decide what I wanted.
Once I made the decision that I was going to pursue photography seriously, I found that I needed to define my purpose. I didn’t want to be “just” a wedding photographer. I knew it was bigger than that. Having someone ask me to document their wedding is a huge honor and responsibility. So I decided that if I was going to do this there would be three things I focus on: 1) relationship, 2) value of photography, and 3) marriage. Relationship meaning connecting with and building a relationship with my clients, which is so important to helping them feel comfortable and secure. Taking the time to talk with my clients and really invest in the relationship is key. The value of photography is emphasized to allow couples to understand the importance it holds outside of their wedding day. Everyone has a phone and the ability to take a picture, so it is easy to forget the value of a photographer who not only know what their doing technically, but who understands the impact their work will have in later years. We are capturing those moments that you will come back to for years to come and will survive you and contribute to your legacy. Finally, marriage is recognized with large importance as I vow to couples to be another friend in the community they have supporting them in this step of their lives. I’m not a perfect spouse by any means (who is!?), but I do want to intentionally talk about marriage and what I have learned, not only through my own experiences, but from mentors, studies, and tools I’ve come in contact with. Sharing marriage counseling books and doing my unveiling at a marriage counselor's office allows me to help break the stigma behind marriage books and tools and how they are to be used when things are good as well as bad. I want couples to have a positive memory tied to these tools if they need to pursue them as a resource down the road.
What motivated you to start your business?
As I said, the thing that motivated me to get more passionate about photography was when I started to see it as more than pictures and see it as a calling. There was a moment in my life where I felt guided to this career path, after many years of fighting it, and that pushed me to pursue it full time. Once I allowed myself to indulge in to their photography industry, life evolved with it. I’m married now and have two boys and I can’t imagine doing something else.
What do you wish people knew about photography?
There are two big myths that I wish to debunk or help set the record straight on. The first has to do with the value of photography. Again, we live in a day and age where everyone has a camera but people often forget how powerful and important certain moments are. I heard this quote from Ben Hartley, of Styled Story & Creative, that completely changed my perspective to how I approach photography: “You never know the value of a photograph, until it’s all you have left.” Let that sink in. With wedding celebrations being the one rare occasion where all of one’s friends and family are in attendance, why would you leave the rare, intimate moments shared by your friends and family to be captured by just anyone? Why would you ask someone who was “just” a wedding photographer, or someone just gaining experience, or someone like Uncle Bob who happened to buy a “nice” camera? You want those moments to be special and done by someone who understands how to capture and portray the intimacy and closeness of the moments. Someone you’ve connected with on a professional, but also personal level.
Second, I wish I could help people understand the power of print! Today, most everything sits on our hard drive or a computer. I tell my couples all the time, I don’t want someone to invest money in a wedding photographer and then leave everything on a hard drive. Not everyone knows how to care for a hard drive. What if something happens to that hard drive and those photos are gone? Plus no one is going to ask you to pull up Facebook and show off your pictures. But they will grab your album off a coffee table and flip through it. Or glance at the pictures on the wall. Printed pictures allow conversations to start. I have seen this first hand in my own life! My grandma has a picture of her in her wedding dress in her living room. I asked her about it one day and I learned so many special details. If I hadn’t seen it I wouldn't have asked! There is something so powerful about printed pictures.
What has been the best thing about opening your own business?
One of the greatest things about owning my own business is defining my purpose and finding myself. I am a mother of two and that can be very time consuming. It is easy to lose your identity when you become a mother. You are no longer called by your first name. It is “oh you are John’s mom.” Which is amazing. Don’t get me wrong. I love being a mom. But it isn’t the only thing I am. Having my own business has allowed me to be called Meghan again. It also gives me an outlet to be creative. It has helped me find my purpose and to be more confident in who I am. And I mean a purpose greater than just growing my own business. I have gotten to learn more about marriage and help others as they being their journey. Early on I sat down and had to ask myself - why am I doing this? And that is when that larger purpose came out. It is bigger than me, it is bigger than the wedding day, it is about marriage!
What has been the hardest thing about opening your own business?
How lonely it is being your own boss. My husband works for a company and has his work buddies, a community. Same with others that go into an office. They have people they interact with. For me, I show up on the wedding day to shoot, then edit for hours on end by myself. I think there is also generally a lack of opportunity to network for small businesses. That is why I’m so thankful for groups like Dayton Tuesday and social networks that connect entrepreneurs.
Where would you like your business to be in 3 years?
In three years, I really just want to continue serving amazing couples. I want to continue to have couples that trust me creatively to capture their special moments. Who make my job feel more like fun than work! I’d like to also better serve central Ohio and those in the wedding/creative industries. l do a lot of work in northern Ohio, which is amazing because that is where I’m originally from. But I’d love to start doing more work in Dayton, Columbus, and Cincinnati since that is where I live now.
What is the most important thing you have learned as an entrepreneur?
It takes a village! You can’t do this on your own. Even though you might own your own business, you need other people. You need other points of view and opinions from trusted colleagues. When I make a business decision, I always get input from multiple people. They are other photographers or fellow entrepreneurs who have been where I am. I am forever thankful for that community people.
What do you do on your days off?
I am the laziest ever (laughs). Weekends are scarce for wedding photographers, so when I have some time off, I take advantage. With having my husband and two kids, I try to spend quality time with them and do something completely silly, like going on hikes, hitting a community festival, or visiting friends and family. If I get the chance to be sans children, I enjoy getting drinks with my friends (Riesling is my go to wine of choice), playing with make-up (you should SEE how much lipstick I have!), or couchin’ it with a huge bowl of popcorn (Gilmore Girl’s. Always).