We had the good fortune of connecting with Chad Sanders and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Chad, what is the most important factor behind your success?
What is the most important factor behind your success / the success of your brand? The most important factor behind my success as a photographer is the pure sense of joy I get from taking photos. Although I work as a full-time wedding photographer, my work doesn’t feel like a job. I get so engulfed in the fun of the creative problem solving that is involved with making great images. I forget about the pressure of capturing my client’s most memorable moments. I whole heartedly believe we are most successful when pursuing our passions. Success is inevitable when you truly enjoy what you do.
Please tell us more about your career. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
I first became interested in photography 8 years ago. Prior to becoming a photographer, I was a DJ at a night club. Becoming a photographer was accidental. I had no intentions of taking photos. I walked into a photography studio and became impressed with the fancy lighting and camera equipment. I am a nerd. I am obsessed with technology. Once I realized I wanted to seriously study photography, I sold all of my DJ equipment to purchase a Canon 7D dslr camera, a 50mm 1.4 lens, and a speedlite flash. I then began immersing myself in learning portrait photography by watching YouTube videos. Yes, I went to YouTube university for photography. I used my beautiful daughter and best friend, D as test subjects. I got my first paid photography client in 2013. We had an awesome, family photoshoot. I began posting my work on Facebook daily, and then started receiving more photography gigs. Once I was hired to shoot my first wedding, I became serious about photography and began to focus on wedding photography. Transitioning from being a club DJ to becoming a wedding photographer was no easy feat. It took many years for people to view me seriously in the photography realm because of my past as a DJ. I had to work hard at branding myself as a professional photographer by consistently posting my work and making sure I presented myself professionally online. Eventually people caught on, and I became highly regarded as a wedding photographer. One of the most significant lessons that I’ve learned throughout my journey was the importance of slowing down, and attention to detail. Like many photographers, I made many mistakes at the beginning of my career. I’ve learned to be patient, and not try to jump head first into situations that allow little room for error. I’ve also learned the value of the work, we as photographers provide and began pricing according to industry standards. As with any field, when you first enter the career you don’t quite have a sense of pricing properly. Pricing is important not only because of the revenue aspect. Your pricing creates a sense of how you value your work, which influences how potential clients will view your work. When you price according to your value, your clients will feel confident in your ability to exceed their expectations.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’d take a friend to The Rustic for dinner and to listen to a live band. They have great barbecue and an awesome atmosphere. I would also take them to the Houston Improv for a good comedy show.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Allen Jones, my mentor, has contributed greatly to my personal growth and professional success. Allen has taught me how to present myself as a man, communicate effectively, to be an amazing photographer, and how to manage a business. I am very grateful for his support and guidance, to which has afforded me many great opportunities. Most importantly, he has taught me that true success is in helping others become successful.
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