Brand Story: Caitlin and Luke of Caitlin and Luke Photography | The Preset Market

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Brand Story

Brand Story: Caitlin and Luke of Caitlin and Luke Photography

Brand Story

Brand Story: Caitlin and Luke of Caitlin and Luke Photography

Welcome to the Brand Story Series at The Preset Market — a blog series created to showcase unique stories and lessons learned from diverse small business owners from all over the world. To share your story, click here! Today, we are so excited to introduce you to Caitlin and Luke of Caitlin and Luke Photography!

Caitlin and Luke of Caitlin and Luke Photography, featured by The Preset Market Brand Story Series

Please tell us about yourself and your small business.

“We are Caitlin and Luke, a husband and wife wedding photography team and educators based in Illinois! We primarily serve joyful, classic brides all across the Midwest during one of the most special seasons of their entire life, and we also love pouring into other wedding photographers as we teach them how to be MORE than just photographers! Caitlin started our business in high school, and on a leap of faith, we rebranded as a husband and wife team and took our business full time just 6 months before we got married. We were just two 20 and 22 college students when we made that decision, and we never looked back! Through years of hard work and tons of prayer, our business grew to surpass the wildest dreams of those two engaged college students, and we LOVE the small business life!”

If you were giving advice to a new business owner, what 3 lessons would you share for getting started?

  1. Don’t be afraid of hard work. This one sounds simple, but truly — be willing to do the hard things that no one else wants to do! Showing up day after day and doing those hard things that most people would avoid will pay off over time! Figure out what those things are, and then go do them over and over again. Along with not being afraid of hard work, we’d recommend figuring out when, where and how you work best and maximizing on that! For example, for us, that’s early in the morning, showered and dressed for the day, working in our designated office… it’s just what’s always worked best for us! Figure out your personal recipe for how you work hard the BEST, and run with it.
  2. Focus on people. START with people! We firmly believe that without people, business just doesn’t matter, so in any business endeavor we work towards, we prioritize how to take care of the people we’re serving to the best of our abilities! We focus on loving people well, whether it’s prospective clients, booked clients, vendors, other photographers, our students, or even wedding guests or people we interact with on social media. The response our business has gotten to us choosing to simply be kind is shocking- so don’t underestimate the power of care and kindness even in the business world!
  3. REST! Your business is not worth your mental, physical or relational well-being! We decided early that our marriage and own family would always remain the priority and that if we ever felt like that balance was off, something would have to change. Work hard, but don’t sacrifice your precious relationships for the sake of your dreams. Work hard, but take care of yourself- your business and your people need you at your best. Work hard, but slow down and take breaks… we ALWAYS see a return on the time we spend resting and refueling! Build those habits when you’re first starting out!

List 3 business decisions, investments, or people who have made the biggest difference in your small business success.

  1. Delegation and outsourcing. We’re firm believers that we do not have to be the ones doing EVERYTHING for our business! We aim to focus on only doing the things that we must be the ones doing for our company. For example, we work with two virtual assistants and a private editor to allow us to focus our valuable work time on the tasks that we have to be the ones doing, and our business has grown astronomically as a result! As a business owner, it’s so hard to relinquish control, but finding someone you trust and who can do the task as well as or better and faster than you is an absolute game-changer. Outsourcing has ALWAYS paid off for us, because we’ve been able to grow with that freed up time. Lastly, remember that outsourcing isn’t just limited to your business- outsourcing and delegating things like grocery shopping {we love grocery delivery!}, lawn care and house cleaning, and more all gain you valuable time to either work more or REST and spend time with your loved ones!
  2. A professional brand. Hands down, one of the single best and most profitable decisions we’ve ever made as a business was investing in a professional brand, and we waited far too long to pursue one! Our only regret is not investing in a professional, custom brand years earlier. We were so busy working hard and chasing our goals that we never slowed down long enough to pursue this one thing, but we can only imagine where we would be now if we’d prioritized investing in a professional brand instead of DIY-ing it ourselves. We cannot stress this one enough!
  3. Education. Let’s face it — education is typically expensive, but it’s for good reason! We are big believers in choosing to never stop growing in all aspects of life and business, and we never want to get comfortable as business owners! Whether it’s investing in workshops, mentoring, courses, a mastermind, or even prioritizing reading business books and listening to podcasts, focusing on continuing education as business owners has paid off tremendously.

Share a fun fact with us!

“A fun fact a lot of people don’t know about our business involves our Cockapoo, Oliver, who we lovingly refer to as our business’ mascot! Caitlin had been wanting a puppy for years, and Luke finally agreed that we could get one the first year we booked 30 weddings. Let’s just say we had that puppy by the end of that same year… Caitlin was so motivated!! So, thanks to our sweet 30 couples that year for letting us get Oliver! 😉

To close, one of Luke’s favorite quotes says, “A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.” — John Augustus Shedd. We can still remember him writing that quote on a whiteboard in our first apartment’s office as we started to navigate business as a young married couple. This quote will forever remind us of the year we decided to take the leap and go full time, and it still challenges us to continue pursuing our dreams today!”

Follow along with Caitlin and Luke on Instagram!

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