We had the good fortune of connecting with Traci Edwards and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Traci, we’d love to hear about how you approach risk and risk-taking
I never look at risk as risk. I always say I am taking a chance. I have always been a chance taker, moving all over the United States for work and then opening my own business. The biggest chance I took was moving into a 1989 van last year on my own. I wanted to live in a van so I could travel easier and cheaper to build a portfolio for my business all over the western part of the United States. I am very close with my aunt and when speaking with her about the choice she said do it! She told me a story about my grandfather, who I never got to meet and in his lifetime was the only successful person in our family. She said one day when she asked him about his success and how he built the farm up and businesses on top of it he said it was all just taking a chance. So I did it. I think if we view choices as risk there is a fear attached. A lot of times starting a new business is a huge risk. Any money you spend to hopefully get it to become successful can be a huge risk. When those choices pay off though it is so rewarding. That old van only lasted me 8 months with problems all along the journey, but I got to build a beautiful portfolio in Oregon, California, Washington, Arizona, Utah and beyond. I now have four times the bookings I did last year!
What should our readers know about your business?
My business is an elopement photography company, Adventure & Vow. I am so excited, this is my first year with significant growth and profit. The hard work I have put into starting my business is paying off, if I can manage through covid-19! It has not been an easy journey, but it has taught me so much about myself and about business/marketing. The biggest thing has been learning how to put into words my brand and marketing. I have never been good with works, even more so when it comes to selling something. Reading books on marketing and soaking in everything around you marketing wise has helped me a lot. Patience has been key and never giving up. To me the most important thing is the experience my couples have the day of their elopement. To me being an elopement photographer is way more than being a photographer, its about helping couples plan the most connective day in their lives together, watch them share emotive moments and become a unity. Adventure elopements are pure magical, it’s a wedding day where the couple gets married in the most them way possible. I love capturing the moments and creating stunning images for my couples of them in these amazing landscapes, but without the experience they share together on this day it wouldn’t be the same. I really value helping them plan, getting to know them, being their guide and friend the day of and then helping them relive the moments with the images.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
I live in the Sedona area of Arizona. If I have friends come to town there are literally endless things I would want to show them. First we would start in Sedona and spend probably at least two or three days hiking some of the classic trails in the area and then some of the harder trails. Maybe we would even go rock climbing since there are a few good routes here for beginners. We would definitely have to eat at the Coffee Pot Cafe for breakfast and grab dinner and a drink at the Javelina Cantina. Then we would take a road trip to see the Grand Canyon and a few of my favorite spots on the Hopi Reservation near Tuba City. Camp out there for a night to wake up in the morning to head to Page, Arizona. After spending a day at the slot canyons we would take a long dirt road down the the rim of the lake to camp that night. Before they flew home we would have to spend a few days in the Phoenix area! I can not pass up taking someone to The Mission in Old Town Scottsdale, a view of the sunset at the Salt River. If they were up for more hiking we would head into the Superstitions for even more adventuring!
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I started my business with the background of having my BFA in Photography and working as a studio manager and first assistant to a commercial photographer for 3 years. I thought this would be enough experience to help me build my business to where I wanted to be. Starting something from the ground is a whole other ball game than already running a successful business I learned quickly. I read things online, did one on one mentoring and joined business groups, but nothing was getting me where I needed to be in the elopement world. Then I joined Maddie Mae’s Wanderlust & Wedding Photographer’s Facebook Group. I started learning little things from the community there. My biggest growth started when I went to the Adventure’s workshop put on by Maddie and Abbi Hearne. I left with way more knowledge than I had ever had about the industry, marketing and with a stack of books to read. One book Maddie recommended was “Find Your Why” and I can honestly say that booked changed my entire outlook on my life as a person and my business. It helped give me purpose which in turn helped me in marketing. Since doing Maddie’s class I also signed up for her online class, The Elopement Academy. I learned even deeper how to do SEO, marketing, branding, and the streamline of my job. I am forever thankful for her knowledge and the community she has created in our industry.
All photos taken by Adventure & Vow. My Portrait was taken by Terri Attridge