I’m Scott. I’m your average 41 year old guy from Upstate NY who currently helps people become paid photographers. I consider myself one of the luckiest guys on earth.
I’m not a millionaire that lives in a 5,000 square foot house or owns a house on the ocean. What I do have is a beautiful wife, 3 awesome kids (2 girls and 1 boy), amazing friends and family and a line of work that allows me to make my own hours. I get to work with my Wife every single day and I love it. We are a super team that has strengths that compliment each others talents.
Here’s Our Story
I use to be in the construction field working 60+ hours per week. Lisa was a stay at home Mom who was raising our first daughter (Alexis who is now 16 and graduating next year). That’s soooo crazy to me.
We were living the American dream as we thought. We had a cute 2 bedroom home, a great family, a Golden Retriever dog and a great marriage. I worked and provided a decent living and Lisa was doing a great job being a stay at home mom.
Then…one day I felt I was never home to enjoy all my hard work and the family I loved so much. I sat down with Lisa and said…there’s got to be an easier way. I started looking in the newspaper for a 9 to 5 job. Being in construction wasn’t only hard on my body, but my hours were as awful as well.
I would start everyday at 6:00 AM and maybe get done by 6:00 PM. That’s if the job was completed. Most of the time I would work until 8:00 PM or even 9:00 PM and then get up and do it all over again. That gets old quick…but I did it for over 10 years.
I should also mention that while working my regular job, I was building our new home. I know…it’s Crazy! I look back and wonder how the heck I had time. But…I did it. I worked weekends and at late nights….sometimes until 1:00 AM in the morning to get our new home built. It was worth it…but I’m not sure I would do it again.
Let’s Open A Portrait Studio
So…Lisa said to me one afternoon “Let’s Open A Portrait Studio”?
Ok…let me back up for a minute. Lisa has always loved photography. She never had any schooling or proper training, but she had an eye for it. She could take a disposable camera and get great shots that people would constantly rave about.
At first when she suggested this I said “What do we know about professional photography?”
But…I did remember a women in our town who was doing exactly what Lisa wanted to do. She was working out of her garage and she was always booked. Actually, Lisa’s cousin had her kids pictures taken there and showed them to us. Lisa looked at me and said…we can do this.
So…I said maybe we should look into this and start taking pictures for friends and family. I then spent many late nights researching equipment and what was needed to actually make this happen. There wasn’t as much on the internet as there is now. I even went and talked to a pro camera guru that totally confused me, but that’s another story.
Keep in mind…Digital Cameras were not even being used for professional photography at this point. We bought our first camera at our local pro lab. It was the Nikon 90s 35mm body with a 28mm to 105mm AF lens. They also sold us a small lighting kit and 1 gray muslin backdrop. I think we spent like $5,000 for this basic set up. We put this on a credit card and hoped it was gonna work.
Now we had everything we needed to create professional portraits (so we thought), but we had no idea how to use the camera or lights. Boy…were we in trouble
I spent every minute I had playing with the camera…reading the manual and taking test shots in our living room studio. This was so hard because we were using film and when we wanted to see the results, we had to get our film developed. It’s so much easier now to test set ups and new ideas.
The Turning Point
Now…fast forward about 18 months, we had worked hard getting our name out there. We did Free sessions for friends and family to get our portfolio built and get the word out about our studio. It worked!
After only 18 months…I decided to build a small 12′ x 20′ in our basement for our new clients. Our phone was ringing and we were approaching the Holiday Season. We had so many appointments booked in the month of October, I made a huge decision. I decided to give my 2 week notice to my boss. The one thing I didn’t mention is that I worked for my Father and his partner, so this was not an easy thing to do.
But…My Father was happy for me, his business partner…Not So Much! I was the head guy there running about 6 construction crews that always got the job done. They depended on me to make things run smoothly. So…I did feel bad about leaving. But…I needed to do what was right for me and my family.
As of November 1996…I was officially on my own.
Lisa and I were scared to death, but excited at the time. Over the next several years we continued to grow our studio and brand in our local area. We always stayed booked and had waiting lists around the Holiday and Summer months. We were making a nice income and doing it all working from home.
The Next Chapter…NPB Was Born!
Then…one day I had another thought. It was kinda like the day Lisa suggested we start a photography business. I said…let’s help other people start their own photography business. Let’s share our experiences with others on how we created a business from scratch.
But…once again. I knew nothing about the internet or blogging. I didn’t even know how to post a youtube video. So…first I started writing what we could offer others. What questions did we have that weren’t answered or what did we struggle with when starting our photography studio.
Then I posted my first youtube video and posted my first blog post. That’s when NewPortraitBiz was born. Over the next few years we published tons of Free lessons and created a pretty large following. Once we had people asking us to teach them…we developed our first course called “NPB Business Plan” that walked people through how to start a photography business.
We have since developed a variety of courses in different areas that work on helping people become better photographers and marketers. You can see our current line of courses here.
Over the next 12 months the word started to spread in the photography community. NPB Business course was selling and support questions needed to be answered daily. This was extremely difficult to balance our own photography business and our new online business.
Now…The Next Big Decision
We had to decide to either slow down our online business or our portrait studio. We just couldn’t do both and continue to do a good job. At the time, Lisa was pregnant with our 3rd child (Kayla). You’ll see her picture on this blog quite a bit. We needed to make a decision.
So…with Kayla on the way…we decided to take some time off from our studio so we could spend time with her and focus on our online students and blog readers. Now…Kayla is 4 years old and we don’t know how we could do both. We will always have our studio open for a select few clients…but not to the public. Our main focus now is to help as many people across the globe as possible.
Let me just say that none of this would have ever been possible, unless we took a chance. I owe it all to my lovely wife Lisa, for pushing me to take that chance and trusting in myself. I never would have thought I would have been a professional photographer or someone who teaches 1,000’s of people all over the world…thanks to this blog and the internet.
Lisa and I would like to thank each and everyone of you that visits our blog and allows us to help you pursue your photography passion. If you put your mind to it and focus…we have no doubt You Can Do It Too! Trust me…we are no different than you. We just followed our dream and passion.
Here’s to your success!
See ya on the blog!
~ Scott & Lisa