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Million dollar Studio: Wedding Photographers Share Business Blueprint

by Kristina

Wedding photography wasn’t always the plan for founders of Forged in the North, a successful collective studio based in NY. What started as architects with cameras turned into professional wedding photographers with a million dollar studio. Today, they are recognized as some of the best wedding photographers in the world by Brides Magazine. 

Here’s their million dollar blueprint: polish your craft, set a foundation, build genuine relationships, collaborate, master management, and have ongoing vision.  

1. Polish Your Craft

Imagine buying a camera to take photos of architecture only to unexpectedly start taking photos for a family friend’s wedding. That’s exactly how Ryan and Heidi began their journey. Their love for architecture was not left behind in their new photography pursuit – it was incorporated. 
The first wise investment the couple made was in the actual craft of photography. It sounds so simple and it really is. By laser focusing on taking photos from their unique perspective, the couple built a solid portfolio reflecting the artistry behind the lens. Ryan says “it took a lot of hard work, time and intentional focus, but we prioritized getting better every day. We are still learning new techniques everyday.” They took every opportunity big or small to expand their horizons like traveling to New Zealand, Russia, and France to shoot. 

2. Set a foundation 

Creativity is only a fraction of what makes a wedding photography biz work. Think of mastering the client experience as building a business on a solid foundation. Every wedding photographer should have a seamless workflow even when booking shoots to practice. The couple uses an all in one CRM for photographers to schedule, book, send contracts, invoices, and client questionaries in one place. 
A proper CRM is so crucial to taking your business to the next level and Bloom does this handily.
-Ryan and Heidi, founders of Forged in the North

3. Build Genuine Relationships

Never underestimate the power of kindness, helping, and building genuine relationships. This is another wise investment Ryan and Heidi made early on. They believe in the simplicity of good business karma: do good unto others and it will come back to you! 
By treating vendors, clients, and fellow wedding photographers as friends they wanted to help, their reputation and hard work did not go unnoticed in their community. With years of consistent wedding shoots, they were receiving hundreds of inquiries. The couple was ready for something that would change their business forever. Forged in the North was born.

4. Collaborate

Partnering with fellow creatives is one of the most rewarding and wise decisions Ryan and Heidi made. As inquiries poured in, the team expanded and Forged in the North was born. They collaborated with talented East Coast based photographers and cinematographers to succeed together. They are truly the dream team as they collectively book and shoot 150+ weddings a year.

“We are a club of like-minded artists all cut from the same creative cloth. Collaborating and challenging each other for the sake of our craft and for the couples we are privileged to work with.”

5. Manage Workflows 

With over a hundred bookings and a team of ten creatives, Ryan and Heidi were definitely not relying on spreadsheets to manage it all. Mastering management is not only a wise business move, it’s essential. For years, Bloom.io keeps the wedding business working for them, so they spend less time managing and more time behind the lens. 
This is the lifeblood of our business. Task managers, workflows, contracts, pricing, automation – it has it all. -Ryan and Heidi, founders of Forged in the North

6. Ongoing Vision

This million dollar blueprint wouldn’t be complete without ongoing vision. The true reward for the founders is this: lifelong client relationships, creating with like-minded artists, and inspiring creatives to succeed. 
Image credits: All photos by Ryan and Heidi Browne 

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