In 2008, Kevin and I were still in college, still figuring life out, and still getting to know each other. We were naive and new which was an incredible advantage; because just did. Didn’t ask questions, it was get ’em or got ’em. We didn’t know what this photography thing would be. We knew it was fun, exciting and creative. Kevin introduced me to so much back then. How to shoot. How to make a website. How to make a logo in Microsoft Word. How to put all kinds of filters on a photo lol.
Well, we’ve evolved so much since then and now we’re just a bit wiser and yes, quite a bit older. I still remember when our clients were older than us, so we acted older. Now our clients are younger than us; what a trip.
In our journey, we’ve struggled to really understand the meaning of a team. You see, doing what we do is a very solitary job. Even I, who was the closest to Kevin, saw that he was very alone doing this. And I was alone doing that. From the moment you wake up to your phone; you’re checking it for the last email your client sent you. And your first instinct is to answer; not kiss your wife, not brush your teeth, not use the restroom, nope, it’s: answer the email.
Don’t get us wrong, it’s an amazing life; you can have complete control. You can choose who you want to work with. You can choose when you want to wake up or go sleep. You can choose to take 10 breaks in a day. You can take full advantage of your time. But, when your financial security depends entirely on you making the right decisions both big and small; you learn to prioritize anything that will lead to making more money.
“It’s for the business” becomes your mantra and as the years pass you learn to build the habits of a hustler, a business-first mindset, and a drive to make your bottom line increase. All great things! In the same vein, it also created habits of fear-based thinking: how come they didn’t book us? Are we marketing enough? Why is Facebook changing again? Why can’t I reach anyone on Instagram? How do I run this company when I’m supposed to be an artist? How do find the right people if so many aren’t as talented as me? LOL, that last one is hilarious.
So for many years, the balance got a little skewed. There are many facets of running a business with our spouse. One of them is team-building. No matter how you spin it; you cannot do this alone. I’m so proud that while the team members that moved through our company either staying long or short term; gave us an opportunity to grow and learn to appreciate each other beyond the dollar value of them and this business. Money did drive us, maybe a bit too much before. But that imbalance was necessary. In our younger years, Kevin was unstoppable in his quest to support himself, his mother and myself in the beginning. It’s why we even have the ability to look back. Not too many small businesses have the opportunity to have years and phases to look upon for lessons and patterns to discern from.
So now in our 10th year of business, we have some work to do; but Kevin is not alone anymore. I am here; I am finally here too. For us the marriage of business happened first; then the marriage of us happened second. However we tried, the business’s priority was hard to escape. But we had unconsciously agreed to that structure and are finding that the balance is within us to create better habits now. We’ll never be equally or evenly balanced. Honestly, the business will likely always get the most of our time; but that’s the tradeoff of a small business owner. And we’re okay with that!
The real question is how can we make the best of this wonderful opportunity to capture people’s love stories? The answer lied within the right people. We can build a team to help us with the load and have as much fun doing it. I’m so happy to introduce our new Kevin Le Vu Photography team.
With both the Master and Lead programs of KLV, we can offer more and provide a work environment for ourselves the ones that join us something more balanced and tell more love stories that not only have the vision of one, but many. This small, but tight crew was built on so much trial and error; ups and dare I saw surrender to the process. With Jonathan leaving as our primary second photographer and lead of our little side project Bells and Laces Photography; another rising star came into view: Jenna.
After wishing Jonathan off to his new adventures; Jenna had been steadily working hard and showing off much talent in the space of second shooting with us and other photographers. She came to be the Lead for our Lead Program garnering much praise from those that worked with her.
At this point, we had new Primary Second Photographers Khoa and Tuan join our ranks. With a new year upon us and a fresh new team to take on the new couples of this next wave of wedding trends, we’re excited to see what the whole team can produce.
It was Yo-Yo Ma who said, “the music is in between the notes”.
Kevin and I are so proud to introduce the new portfolio of our team here: http://kevinlevu.com