Before I officially moved out of Chicago, I had the opportunity to collaborate with my good friend and amazing photographer, Brad McCree. We had always played around with idea of how incredibly fun it would be to combine both of our passions and spend a day taking dance pictures together in the city. So with my departure coming up so quickly, we decided to do just that. Brad and I spent the entire day playing in the city, going to all of our favorite locations, and discovering new ones. It was a beautiful Chicago day—and it was the perfect way for me to say goodbye to this fantastic city.
There are seriously so many amazing things I could say about Brad—honestly I could go on and on. He has a fantastically loving spirit and his passion for photography clearly radiates through his work. His dedication and drive to pursue his dream is incredibly contagious, and I wanted to showcase this fact even more through an interview I had with him…
What inspired you to start your own business?
I think deep down I’ve always wanted to own a business. When people asked me what I wanted to do with my life at the ripe age of 18, I told them something along the lines of, “I have no idea, but I think I would like to work for myself. And I want to be happy in my career.” Even though it took me a long time to figure it out, I’m on my way to achieving that.
Why photography? What is it about this career choice that drives you?
I’ve always been drawn to photography. I started experimenting with cameras when I was 16. Little did I know, photography was a skill that ran in the family. My grandfather, and his grandfather, were both photographers. My deep love for photography became apparent at the end of my first semester of college. I failed nearly every class. The only class I passed: you guessed it, photography. I was in a film photography class that required me to spend a couple of hours a week in the dark room. While most students spent 4-5 hours per week there, I was averaging closer to 20-30 hours a week. If I wasn’t out shooting, I was in the dark room processing and printing. On the final day of class my professor asked me what I was going to school for. I told her that I wasn’t entirely sure, but the rough plan was to get an MBA. She looked at me and said, “You may want to reconsider your options.” So I did. I started looking into photo school applications, requirements, and degree outlines. I picked one that was absolutely perfect for me at Lansing Community College. They provided the faculty, facilities, and funding that allowed me to grow into the photographer that I am now. I was introduced to many photographers from around the state who make their living by owning their own businesses. I envied what they had, and started chasing that dream.
What has been the most rewarding part of your job?
The most rewarding part of my job is by far my clients. I spend nearly every weekend meeting new people who are madly in love. My partner Lori and I have forced ourselves into this niche market of young couples who are head over heels in love, but can’t necessarily afford the expensive (and experienced) wedding photographer. This has cultivated friendships with nearly every client we have worked with. We still make an effort to spend time with probably 80% of our past clients. And if they live in a different state, then we stay in contact through email and Facebook. Another thing I love about my job is that it allows me to travel (and I get paid for it!) Basically every weekend from May-October I am visiting places all over the Midwest, some new some old. I spend those weekends with people who are experiencing the happiest day of their life. I can’t help but smile the entire time. How many people can say that they have cried tears of joy while working?
What do you see for your business in the future?
It’s hard to say what McCree Photography will be doing in the future. That’s kind of the beauty of it. Maybe we will be international wedding photographers. Maybe we will switch our focus to small business/commercial work. Maybe we will move across the country and try something completely different. I love thinking about the future and all of the possibilities that come with it. Anything can happen!
*If you want to see more of Brad’s amazing work, please visit www.mccreephotography.com/blog
Or check out McCree Photography’s official facebook page!