If you had told us 10 years ago when we first started calling ourselves Sacramento Wedding Photographers that in 10 years’ time we would have photographed nearly 100 weddings, been awarded the Wedding Wire Couples Choice award twice, and would still be going strong even in the midst of a global pandemic, we would’ve thought you were crazy. And yet, here we are! The past 10 years have been quite the wild ride but we’ve grown so much, as photographers, business owners, and people. Come with us for a trip down memory lane and read all about our humble beginnings, where our original business name came from, and how one moment changed our lives forever.
In 2010, Dani and I were both starting our Sophomore year of college. We really hadn’t picked a major yet and were trying to knock out as many general ed classes as we could without being too overwhelmed. You see, we had graduated just two years earlier, right smack dab in the middle of the last great recession. It was tough trying to find a job that would hire someone fresh out of high school with almost no experience.
Since graduation, Dani’s passion for photography had continued to grow and after becoming frustrated with job hunting, she began to look into ways to make that passion work for her. Meanwhile, I was still clueless. Graphic design had been a kind of passion of mine for a few years, but I had no idea how to turn that into a career, and I certainly didn’t know if I wanted to. But being best friends, we share everything and it wasn’t long before Dani’s love of photography had infected me. We had decided to make a calendar using our own photos as a fun gift for our parents and for ourselves. After an afternoon of fun, and way too much laughing, I had caught the photography bug.
In the late summer of 2010, in August to be exact, an employer finally took a chance on us. It wasn’t the plan to be hired by the same company, but it just happened to work out that way. We ended up being hired to work as parking lot attendants at Thunder Valley Casino for their summer concert series. It wasn’t the most glamorous job, but we weren’t going to complain about a paycheck. Honestly, it was awful. We were so grateful to be working, we had forgotten that it would be in a parking garage… during the hottest part of the year… It was so bad that after one particularly long weekend, Dani ended up getting a pretty severe case of heat sickness. It was not fun.
It was around this same time that one of Dani’s friends had started to ask about us doing the photos for her wedding. She had been engaged, on a budget, and knew that we were “into photography”, so why not?! To say we were excited was an understatement. In September, we photographed her engagement photos and that’s when we started to realize we might be on to something…
After a dismal couple of months working at the parking garage, their concert series had ended and so did our contracts. Disappointed with our experiences and the job market we started to research the wedding photography industry. It was crazy! We had no idea that there was a whole community of people that did this for a living. Looking back now, it seems a little silly that we never thought about it. After reading so many guides about how to start a business and what kind of documents to file, taxes to pay, etc. we knew we had to pick a name before we could file anything. At the time, we were working with another friend so there were 3 of us. Since we didn’t want to favor any one over the others, rather than use our names, we started to think of other options. We were just joking around when Dani had said “aww snap!” as a response to a joke and it was like a lightbulb went off for all 3 of us. We thought we were being clever and cute, little did we know at the time there were A LOT of other photography business with that name out there. But after some extensive google-ing, we couldn’t find one in our area so it was settled! We’d go by Oh Snap! Photography. We got to work filling our paperwork to make it legal, and in December, we photographed our first wedding.
We. Were. Hooked! It was so exhausting but we had so much fun. It was indescribable to not only celebrate with this couple and their family, but to capture memories that would hang on their walls, be printed in albums, and serve as a reminder of their first moments as husband and wife. We laughed with them, we cried with them (happy tears of course), and we left with our hearts so full and our souls fulfilled. But there was one moment that truly changed our lives that came after the wedding day.
After we had edited the photos it was time to show them off to the couple! We met them at their apartment, our cheap little laptop loaded up with their CD of images, and as we scrolled through their images together the bride started to cry. As we flipped one image to the next, she cried telling us how much she loved them and how we made her feel and look beautiful.
That was it. As we sat on her couch and cried with her, we knew we had found our calling. We knew we wanted to do this for a living. Not only make a career for ourselves but to make a real difference in other people’s lives, even if it was just for one family or couple at a time.
Having grown to where we are now, it feels so strange to think back on where we got our start and to remember just how little we knew about what we were doing. It was going to be an uphill battle, but that was a challenge we were so ready to tackle! We hit the ground running and in 2011, we had a plan to make this business take off…
But to read that story you’ll have to come back for part 2! In the meantime, enjoy these photos from our first ever wedding!
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