Hey future brides! My name is Shane Ephraims professional photographer & owner of Vanity Image, iv been a photographer for over 11 years photographing mainly wedding but i actually started out editing photos way before actually taking them.
The first time i thought editing was truly amazing was when i restored a very old & damaged photo for my mum. I was about 15 at the time & my mum seen what i was doing with photos on my computer & she gave me a very old photo of her late sister who she missed very deeply. The photo was in black & white & had been sitting in my mothers wallet battling the elements for many many years, it was one of the only photos my mum had left of her sister, one of the only things she had left from her.
My mum gave me this photo & i felt very responsible, she had held on to the photo for so many years the face was barely visible, half of her face was missing, the colours were going green & it was literally falling apart in my hands.
I guess i knew how much the photo meant to my mum & i couldn’t believe she trusted me with it after all i was that kid who at 4 had shorted the electricity out by sticking a spoon into the electricity socket, who found a can of paint when i was 5 & painted all over the house walls (such a young artist), i was the teenager who pulled apart my mums cameras when i was a kid to make a flashing classroom prank & the adult who dated all the crazy girls… but il leave my wife out of this post HAH!!
I scanned the tiny passport sized photo to a massive file on my computer, i could see the fine texture.. little hairs on my computer screen. I worked on the photo for many hours & put back its original colours.. or close to it, i blew it up as big as i could on my consumer printer & gave it to my mum & she held it in her hands and cried in front of me.. i cant explain how it felt it just added something to my heart.. something that wasn’t there before, il always remember how important photos can be & now so many years down the track i realize it even more.
Now days i don’t restore many images, i focus on making new memories. I started doing portrait work when i was younger of mainly woman & children.. things that were beautiful to me, i did my first wedding for free & to tell you the truth i was in way over my head. I made so many mistakes & was totally unprepared.
After my first wedding i never wanted to shoot another wedding again, i did a 12 hour wedding basically without a break, they had me stand in the kitchen to have some dinner & i was exhausted after it, id taken more then 1500 images on my crummy point & shoot camera i had at the time & i felt i totally messed it up, i was so upset with the results & i truly thought it was impossible to have done any better.
For the next few years i stuck to photography were i could be in control but after a while i felt i wasn’t challenged anymore & since i had so much beautiful portraiture in combination with beautiful artworks from many years of retouching a friend desperately wanted me to photograph there wedding. This time i was much more prepared & i did a lot better, i even made the bride very happy & her satisfaction was what made me feel good enough to keep going even though in my heart i wanted to do a lot better.
At the time i was working at a pick packing warehouse making above $1000 per week & for a nobody like me at the time i was happy with the income but i was surrounded with unhappy people, they really got me down & i couldn’t take it.. i knew i deserved much better. I then set it my goal to be the best photographer i could be, i booked about 5 wedding from $200 – $1200 with people who were following my work online at the time & while still working my day job i put all my money together & brought the best camera i could afford at the time.
When i booked my first real string of weddings the couples were judging me from my work at the time, photos id made from basically point & shoot cameras, cameras that could not have produced good photos consistently however i invested the money in proper equipment & by the time there wedding came i had some semi professional equipment & did a better job then they had paid me for or expected… i felt very good about this.. i felt i had given them exceptional value & felt i was on the right track.
Quit my job
I guess the word got out as i had quite a few inquiries that year & after my first real year photographing around 10 weddings i booked another 15 ranging from $600 – $1200 for the following year. I spent the money on new equipment again & i quit my full time job on a whim that id study full time & become a much better photographer and business manager. I attended a number of courses however by that stage i didn’t feel they were teaching me anything new.
Well to cut a long story short.. when i married my wife Sali i created my own branding as Shane Ephraims Photography & spent more then 100k on my career in a few years while struggling in our new home. We lived in a small house under our landlords & we spent nearly every dime we received from every bride on my photography business, everything from the best canon Lenses, canon camera bodies, studio & portable lighting equipment, scanner, printer, computers & much much more all the while trying to support my wife finishing off her accounting studies.. i even traded in my baby (my car at the time not a real baby!!) traded it in for a more suitable car known today as the bride mobile!
A little success
Some years later my business was booming with more then 20 weddings being booked in the $3500 – $5500 range not just on photography however now we were selling beautiful wedding albums, slideshow, pre wedding & much much more.
My wife has been working in accounting for a while now & also photographing weddings on weekends, her brother Akram has also become a fine photographer & i have trained many other photographers so they can work with us as we were having more then 30 weddings being booked every year for a few years.
Last year we booked around 46 weddings! I took our first bookings for each date & if we had an inquire after that we welcomed the bride to book my wife or other photographers & i have done the “developing” of the files so they have a photographer trained by myself & images developed by myself so a consistent result every time. (i will explain our development process from RAW files in another post so subscribe & stay tuned) All in all i photographed 26 weddings personally last year & i photographed more then 15 pre weddings amongst other events, portrait shoots & commercial fashion catalogs etc.. if its sounds like a lot.. it was & especially when you put your heart into every one of them.
A little to much success!
Last year was shear madness, under all the pressure we danced with couples at the end of the receptions (when liquor had gotten the best of them), we laughed as they laughed at silly things so bent on all the thick emotion in the air, we cried at there speeches when they cried because other family members were missing & we knew the stories because we were close to the couples, we cried when the big brother that was always to proud… at last gave his little brother a big hug & cried on his shoulder, we ran around behind the scenes & made sure everything went perfect.. we did our 110% best but most of all we created probably close to a hundred thousands beautiful images that will be looked at 100s of thousands of times through hundreds of years to come.
Addition of video
In the past few years we have been investing in a new interest of ours… video.
As we have made our way from photographing very humble weddings (just like our own) to much larger weddings we have had more inquiries wanting a full service with photography & video. So in good Shane Ephraims fashion i invested over 100k in top video equipment, not only that but i invested countless hours in studding the latest techniques for video production & i gave very big discounts for couples wanting video for there weddings until we have the quality that has become expected from our brand.
A growing team is formed
So with my wife, Akram, Raymond & our other photographers photographing our weddings & with us also filming weddings i had to change our business name! Over the years i have photographed for many designers & dress wholesalers & had plenty of experience with fashion. I wanted more then a name for my business, i wanted something brides would be proud to be associated with i want to put the glamour, the fashion the excitement in weddings. I wanted a brand which when spoken about would make other brides envious!! I’m probably being ridiculous but as Marilyn Monroe said “Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius and it’s better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.” I’ll never be as perfect as i want to be but im dam sure going to give it my best shot.
This week my wife quit her full time accounting career because Vanity Image is growing in success, we want more then the best this year & its all hands on deck. I’ve nearly finished this blog amongst many other things that were put on the back burner to handle so many weddings last year. We have booked more then 15 weddings for video alone & the team will be doing a lot of behind the scenes stuff with me and Sali as well as music videos & promotions for us & other vendors. It is going to be the best year in my career & i sit here at 2am because i cant sleep… i am way to excited, i feel like this is a dream finally coming true after so many years. Goodnight & thank you for reading to this point WOW! I’ll try keep it short next time? Sorry I’m not much of a writer!!
We will be booking only 2 more weddings for this year to complete the 24 bookings i have set as a guide, 2013 is nearly full already & we have even booked some crazy brides booked for 2014! I’m looking forward to creating more videos, photographing some beautiful weddings this year with some top brides & i cant wait to see what next year will bring!