We’re excited to introduce you to the always interesting and insightful Tori Markel. We hope you’ll enjoy our conversation with Tori below.
Tori, thanks for joining us, excited to have you contributing your stories and insights. Alright, so we’d love to hear about how you got your first client or customer. What’s the story?
I have been casually photographing friends and family for years. Even in high school I would take photos of my friends and use them for projects, in my first year of college I would take some couple photos of my friends and some of the families I worked with at my restaurant job. I also took family photos for one of my mom’s friends, and 4 years later I actually am photographing both of her daughters’ weddings this year! When I moved to Tucson, I had to start from ground zero. I knew no one here and so I went on all the community facebook pages and buy/sell/trade pages and posted that I was building my portfolio and was doing sessions for low prices to get practice in. My first actual client that I did not know came from one of the community pages and I took photos of her and her dog. We actually ended up staying friends and we would work together on weddings!
Tori, before we move on to more of these sorts of questions, can you take some time to bring our readers up to speed on you and what you do?
So I am 24 years old, I started this business 4 years ago when I was 20. I bought my first used full frame DSLR with a college loan. I did not know that this business would take me where it has. First thing I did was invested in a mentorship with Caitlyn Jennings from Wilder West Elopements and she showed me the ropes of the business. I took to social media to start sharing my photos and used hashtags to get more into the industry. I learned so much in my first year of business about what I wanted it to be about. I HUSTLED that first year. At the time I was working a full time job, going to college online full time, and trying to get my business off the ground. I barely slept, maybe 4 hours a night to get everything done. After my first year, I was able to go full time to replace my job.
Growing up, I have always loved love. I don’t know how else to put it. I always watched rom coms, read romance books, and I always had Pinterest boards for my dream wedding. It has definitely changed over the years. But I also love people, I love being around people and hearing their stories and showing up for people as a support. It is why I got my degree in Hospitality Management because I knew no matter my career I wanted to be around people. I can say full-heartedly I am doing what I am passionate about and I work hard on making sure each of my clients have a great experience and that I am here for them. I put my time and effort in creating guides for wedding planning outside of just the photography aspect, and on wedding day or session day, I am always there to help. I have pursued many things in my life including cosmo school and I can tell you that has come in handy many times on wedding day. I love that I am there to help them on one of the best (and stressful) days of their life. I pour my heart into every wedding, and do my best to be a listening ear, advocate, guide, and a person to be dancing with them on the dance floor. I truly love everything about what I do.
As far as what my company (and me) what I want to portray is that no matter what your day looks like, what your booking me for, and what we are capturing, is that it is a memorable experience. That we are having fun out in the middle of nowhere doing fun poses. We are capturing authentic moments to remember for a lifetime. For my company we are inclusive and all love is welcome here and is CELEBRATED. I have taken the time to practice and be able to work with all kinds of couples to make sure they are captured like anyone else. I am about loving everyone and stand for everyone to be celebrated.
I am currently going through a rebrand right now, so my whole brand is all about “till death do us part” and the idea of that you found your love and you are celebrating forever. I think one of my key things, is that your wedding day should be about you two and how you want to celebrate it. I am just here to capture those memories.
How did you build your audience on social media?
I wish I could tell you there is a set way for this. But consistently posting also my followers love when I am personal on my stories and I am able to share about my life and show things outside of photography. Engaging with people and making them feel like they are apart of your life. I love posting and being on my stories talking about my life! But consistency and interaction! :) And the magic of hashtags.
How’d you build such a strong reputation within your market?
One of my biggest ways of building my reputation was being me. I also think that referrals has been one of my keys ways of getting more weddings and spreading my name around. Be the person you want to work with, be the person they need you to be. Be yourself, and be KIND. I have always been about community. I think it is important to be the person you want to work with and spread positivity no matter where you go. Be real!
- Instagram: https://www.
- Facebook: https://www.
- Website: www.torikreckmanphoto.com
Tori Markel Photo