I was recently asked to be a ‘Featured Photographer’ on a webpage and I figured I would post what I wrote here because I think that if you’re on the website then you deserve to learn about me and how I work. So, here it goes…
I’m Rebecca Cook, Owner and head photographer of ENV Photography based out of Ohio. I’m 21 years old, married to my high school sweetheart, Mr. Jon (my little clients like to call him) and mother to my beautiful, wonderful daughter, Lacie who is two. Not only am I a photographer, wife, mom and business woman, but I am also a cosmetologist. If I ever get a slight chance that I get to take a break or can’t sleep, I also play guitar and sing… Sounds like a ton right? haha Well it is but I love every minute of it. I will die knowing not one minute of my life was wasted to laziness!
After I tell people what I have already told you, I get asked the question, ‘Well, which did you start first? How did you start photography and then all your other hobbies? Well, first came my love of guitar and singing… ever since I was two. But shortly afterward came the cosmetology side when I was 10 and my sister was 7 and I told her to hold still and let me curl her hair to look like Shirley Temple… BUT, every time I dolled my sister up, I NEEDED to give her a photo shoot. I got out my mom’s Polaroid (yeah, the one with the instant picture) and I started posing my sister. She would get so mad at me because I didn’t want to stop taking pictures of her. I think that is where my love started. After that, I didn’t ever have access to a camera. I never got one for Christmas or birthday even though I always asked but life got tough for my family for a bit so I understood. I never let my love for photography stop. Since I couldn’t take pictures, I always looked at them for hours online. I was addicted. I loved how beautiful pastel pink bokeh looked behind a stack of old books with some old pearls dripping over them or just how someone captured the love between people so well.
About my Camera history… I got my first camera when I was 16, for my birthday I got a pink poloroid point and shoot and I broke it the day I had it haha but then my mom and aunt bought me a blue kodiak and for about two years, I kept that little point and shoot and photographed everything I could. Finally, when I was 20 and six months after starting my photography business, my husband was wonderful enough to get a loan and buy a Canon Rebel T3. I believe he really saw a talent in me. He really believed I could make something of my passion. He knew it made me happy. Man, I still love and use the T3. I bought a Canon Rebel XSI too. I’ve saved and bought so many lenses (I’m addicted to my 50mm right now!) lighting equipment and props since then… our whole garage is FULL! Now, I feel I am starting to make an impact and name for myself in my small town of Mount Vernon Ohio.
I started my business as part time. It first started because someone messaged me on facebook and said ‘I love the pictures you take! Can you take some engagement pictures for me?’ and I was like YEAH! OFCOURSE! I was overjoyed that my pictures were somehow likable enough for someone else to want me take photographs for them. It may sound stupid, but the name of my business came on a whim. I knew after starting to get clients, I needed to establish my photographs with a name. She my little 4 month old daughter was playing with an old Verizon ‘ENV’ phone and I was thought, ‘Hey, I like the sound of that. ENV is short, simple, memorable and that was a really good phone for me! haha I loved that phone!’ so I gave it a shot and it’s worked. It’s so easy for people to remember and say quickly. It was truly a blessing how the name fell into my lap!
Over time, I’ve had to decide how I want my business to be defined. I feel like my business is such a one of a kind thing in Knox County. I provide the ABSOLUTE best that I can to my clients and I want to give them a one of a kind experience. I have always had a mission of being affordable yet give the best I can. I was a 19 year old mom that couldn’t afford a $300 newborn session and my baby missed out on that but I want others to have what I didn’t. My pricing and prints are completely different from what I’ve ever seen. It has similarities to other photographers in the area but the experience is so different. As for my photography, I love a clean, pure, emotional picture. I don’t like to ‘fake’ too much or over edit. I love to give them images of how they are naturally. I call my posing ‘loose posing’. It’s something I’ve came up with on my own. I don’t want to give away too much but I will say this, I don’t want them stiff and too posed, but I want them to be collaborated in an organized fashion… if that makes sense?
I don’t think there is a specific thing that I am inspired by in my work. I know there is always room for improvement but at this moment, I love how my look works. I always change up posing and such but I like the style of my photography. I will say that I LOVE trying new projects! My husband and I just tried painting with sparklers and we had SOO much fun! I am trying to work on photographing star trails but haven’t had much luck at it. I really want to get it right though. I honestly wont stop until I get it right! haha.
In the end, I will say this… My business has not always been successful. It was not always a calendar of fully booked weeks and wonderful clients. It’s been hell to make this business what it is. Although I love my clients and my work, I’ve had alot of hardships. I have taught myself everything I know…. I MEAN EVERYTHING. I bought a DSLR one day and said ‘Ok, I’ll start by learning the buttons and go from there.’ The same goes for photoshop… I cried many nights over Photoshop because of how frustrating it was! I’ve even had friends take my ideas (down to my pricing) and try to replicate this one thing that is mine… that ruined a good friendship that I am still sad to see how that all fell apart. I’ve had people write false reviews online and other photographers be mean to me. But honestly, I just keep my focus on my love for photography.
At the end of the day, when I lay my head down at night, I say to myself ‘I could have 10 clients or 100 clients and it would make no difference. I love them all the same and I’m happy to have what I have. As long as I did my best today, It’s going to be ok.’ I now run this business full time. It’s a huge part of my life and my clients deserve all the attention I can give them! I make sure to put a personal interest into each and every person. I make sure that I remember their lives and that when I see them in public, I don’t just give a friendly wave or mention ask ‘When are you going to get pictures next?’… I play games with their children, make them laugh, ask how their parents are, I ask them if school and work is going well. My clients don’t give a damn about my business if it’s just presented as a business. My clients care that I care about them. It’s not even a fake for me either. I know alot of people try to put on a front of caring but I truly do! I can tell you right now that one family I recently photographed broke away from the Amish community and told me about the Amish way of life during their session, I can tell you that one of my clients is a very little baby that has a heart condition and his mother is among one of the strongest people I know… I even know the last time that baby went in for a heart cath.
My clients, they are my world. I tell them on facebook atleast once a week. They are my family and I love them to the moon and back. I know the clients that are fully committed to me, the ones that tell everyone they can about my services. They are some of my most favorite people in the world. They have heard this a thousand times and I am sure they are sick of hearing it but I will never be able to thank them enough for giving me what I have. I was just this young, 19 year old girl who had this hopeless dream of giving people beautiful pictures… not knowing a thing about a DSLR camera or Photoshop. Now I’ve become ‘ENV’ or “Ms. Becka’ or ‘OUR photographer’ and it warms my heart. I wanted to make sure I ended my story on the subject of them because it all started with them and I know they will read this. I want them to know I will always give them the credit.
Thank you all so much for allowing me to be a guest blogger and thank you to everyone who reads this. I hope it somehow brought you inspiration. If you would love to be apart of ENV Photography and get updates on my work, please feel free to follow me at http://www.envphotography.com or ‘Like’ my page on facebook at http://www.facebook.com/envphotography I am also on pinterest which is pinterest.com/BeckaAtENV
Special shout out to the following people for the following reasons:
1. Jesus Christ, thank you so much for giving me a talent (I was worried you forgot to give me one! haha) and for blessing me with amazing people.
2. Thank you to my family. Thank you Aunt Mary for talking me through ideas and comforting me when I was going through rough times and wanted to give up. To my husband, Thank you for coming to every session and always carrying the heavy props. Thank you to my siblings for telling your friends about senior pictures, helping with sessions, and giving me new ideas. I love when you guys help me. Thank you to my mom and dad (Julie and Don) for always asking about my work, giving your opinion, telling your friends about my work and sharing all my photography stuff on facebook. To all of my family, thank you for believing in me. Thank you all for working your lives around my business.
3. To Mr. Nick Henderson, we may be on separate coasts but you mean so much to me. Thank you for answering me even when it’s 2am your time, just to answer my questions. You always seem to have the right advice. Thank you for being an ”unofficial’ mentor to me. Thank you for always being honest but always encouraging. You have been such a big help to me.
4. My clients and supporters, you will forever be my favorite people. You have no reason to love me and my business but you do. For that, I am eternally thankful. You’ve given me a reason to love my career.