Small Business Stories: Olivia Strohm Photography
I'm so excited to start off a new series on the Evernew blog by interviewing this sweet friend. Ben and I were so blessed to have Olivia as our wedding photographer, and we will always treasure not only her work, but her kindness, friendship, and joy. I'm continually learning from her – she's one of the most grounded and genuine photographers I've ever met. I can't wait for you to hear more of her story!
So listen up if you're a fellow photographer, if you're frustrated with the Instagram game, or if you're curious how your faith might shape your business.
Without further ado...
Tell us a bit about YOU!
I'm Olivia! I'm a 25-year-old photographer living life just outside Portland with my husband, Jesse. I grew up with an amazing fam on a little lake just outside of Seattle – and then moved to Spokane for college. I bought a camera my first year there and started taking photos of my gal pals and the rest is history – I fell in love with taking photos of people and giving them that photo that makes them feel like a million bucks. Right now Jess and I are settling into our new home, I'm shooting weddings + working on a workshop for lady photographers all about how to run a Godly business and how to honor and be like Jesus in our industry and on the job.
Something quirky about me? I am obsessed with the show Survivor and secretly want to apply. I guess it's not a secret anymore ;).
What led you to start your own business?
I have realized lately I am kind of an overly ambitious person...I have a dream and I go for it. Even if it fails (which many dreams of mine have.) But my senior year of college as people were starting to get engaged, they started asking me to shoot their weddings, + I was like OKAY! My business fell into my lap. I look back and I see God's hand in all of it. He's been faithfully helping me along the way...even when I didn't realize it at the time.
Has this business been what you expected + hoped? What have been some of the transitions your business has taken?
My biz has been an adventure. It has had so many ups and downs I might as well be on a perpetual rollercoaster. I think I expected it to be hard, but in those hard things I've experienced personal growth that I never, ever expected to gain...for which I am grateful. Transitions my business has taken...well, I'd say I am no longer the 40 weddings a year type of girl haha. I did the whole busy every weekend thing and now I cherish those Saturdays and Sundays off during the summer like they are made of pure, sweet gold.
What's something you wish you'd known when you were just starting?
So freaking much. But I'd have to say I wish I would've known that it is okay to not be busy all the time. It is tempting to feel like I'm not shooting enough / traveling enough but this is a JOB -- and it is okay to work from 8am-5pm and leave work at work.
What is your biggest frustration with the creative industry?
I'm sure everyone who knows me knows I've got a bone to pick with Instagram. Big surprise :). I just really have a hard time with the whole thing. Yes, I am grateful for the way it so easily brings people together, I do love sharing my art with the world, I don't judge people who love Instagram and I am NOT A HATER! But man, the minute that we let a NUMBER negatively dictate how we view ourselves + how we view our God given, uniquely beautiful gifts? Not okay with that. Not going to stand for that. And I don't want to be a part of that. I want creatives every where to LOVE what they can do. To LOVE what they can make. Not dislike what they do, or be envious of what other people make. We all are doing our best, we all have unique gifts. We're enough. We are all talented. I want that to really sink into each of our hearts but it's hard when the world tells you a higher number = more successful / talented. Picture someone with ONE follower on Instagram...but they are providing well for their family / loving on their couples and capturing their personalities / feeding their creative soul and living joyfully. And then flash forward to someone with ___k Instagram followers....saying no to couples right and left because they don't fit their "style" which results to not making enough to support themselves / being too worried about how their couples interact for their Instagram feeds that they don't truly get to know their couples / starving their creative soul by feeling the need to replicate what the world is responding well to and being miserable when they don't get the same response for their efforts. Which would you rather be? I am only saying this out of experience because I was that second person. Now, I am working every day to become the person I wrote about first. And by the GRACE of God - it's happening.
What is your greatest source of encouragement + inspiration?
JESUS. Hands down. I cannot tell you how influential God's word is to my life and my business. Every morning + throughout the day God gives me the encouragement I need to keep going. Jesus is changing my priorities to fit his GREAT ones. My source of inspiration comes from my deep desire for my couples to LOVE, even if it just one photo, to LOOOOVE that image with their whole heart and feel something every time they look at it. My inspiration comes from Jesus' servant-like example. I am here to serve my couples. Not the other way around!
How do you define success in your life and business?
If I'm being honest, maybe about a year ago success to me was how many weddings I shot a year / how many Instagram followers I had because I didn't really understand or grasp that just because you're popular, doesn't necessarily mean you're successful. Now, success to me is treating my couples with love + kindness, cultivating a spirit and mindset of thankfulness to God + giving glory to His name, making sure I have time for my family and community, + booking enough weddings to contribute to my family so we can provide for our future babies and be able to give generously.