elizabeth gelineau



Mobile bay area wedding photographer

Celebrating Year 7


June 22, 2019

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My Business Journey

Today I am celebrating seven years in business! Let’s pop a bottle of Prosecco, shall we?! While the last seven years seem to have flown by in some ways, in other ways it seems like it’s been a diligent climb up a mountain. I LOVE owning my own business! It was something I never dreamed for myself. Instead, it dawned on me gradually that I was headed in that direction. I’d watched my dad be a business owner for most of my life, so I guess that spirit of being your own boss sort of seeped into me as well.

Over the past seven years, I think the most frequent question I’ve been asked is where I learned it all. The answer to that question is neither brief, nor simple. In honor of this little business’s birthday, I decided to share a round up of seven of my key influencers. These are the people and experiences who have helped make this business what it is, whether they know it or not!

My Family

My family has been a HUGE support to me from day one. They’ve listened to me ponder blog post ideas, package offerings, and website designs. My parents and sister have been my sounding boards on so many things. They always weigh in with good advice and make me see things from a different perspective. One of my grandparents didn’t live to see me start this business, but the other three did. They were some of my biggest cheerleaders. Memaw was in a nursing home battling what would prove to be a fatal brain tumor the summer I made the decision to give this whole business thing a try. I remember telling her my plans while visiting her one day. Her response was an enthusiastic, “That’s a fine idea!” I think of that conversation every time I celebrate another year in business. Pop used to ask for my bookings report from his nursing home bed. The man was a numbers person to the very end and always pushing me to reach for the stars.

My First Job

Shortly after I graduated from high school, my dad told me he’d secured a job for me. What?! So much for a summer of leisure before starting my college years. That first job happened to be at a local photography studio and we knew one of the owners from church. The company had taken many of my school pictures, including my senior portraits. If you can believe it, I had ZERO interest in photography at that time!!! I worked in the studio doing miscellaneous tasks, including customer service, product packaging, and assisting on photoshoots. That experience in my first job continues to benefit me as a business owner. One of my favorite parts of working at the studio was showing brides-to-be wedding albums when they’d come in to see package options. I was doing bridal consultations never imagining I’d one day be a wedding photographer!

A College Internship

During my junior year at Spring Hill College, I took on an internship in the Marketing & Communications office on campus. The following summer, after I’d taken a photography course, my internship moderator started sending me on photo assignments. There were always a lot of events happening on campus and no full-time photographer on staff. I remember Greg giving me feedback on my photos and advising me to carefully observe a scene, waiting for the right moment before clicking the shutter. I really started to enjoy documenting these events on campus and that early practice in honing my observation skills is something I’m continually thankful for. One of my favorite projects I worked on as an intern was documenting the installation of the new organ in St. Joseph’s Chapel, which had undergone a restoration during my first years at Spring Hill. I actually got to climb inside the organ before it was fully installed to document a lot of the tiny details!

St. Joseph's Chapel on the campus of Spring Hill College in Mobile Alabama at sunset.

Click Pro

I joined an online photography community around the time I decided to start my photography business. I’d been reading the community’s blog for months and had learned so much from it’s posts. It was a community unlike any I’d ever known. People shared their knowledge freely and were willing to give constructive criticism on your work if you asked for feedback. Soon after joining this community I realized I needed to really push myself if I wanted to get my skill set to the next level. I joined a critique group in preparation of applying for the Click Pro program. The day I received my letter that my portfolio scored high enough for acceptance was a very special day. I credit a lot of my growth between 2013 and 2014 to this critique group and Click Pro.

blueberry stained white bowls with blueberries in a separate bowl

Amazing Workshops

I have always loved learning and I guess that’s a good thing because there is ALWAYS something more to learn when it comes to photography. I invested in education from day one. During the early years, the investment was in the form of time. I read books, watched free classes online, and followed many photography blogs. I practiced what I learned and analyzed the results. Then I practiced some more. When I was finally profitable enough to invest in paid workshops, the dilemma was how to decide which courses to invest in. There are so many options! While this post isn’t long enough to document all the workshops I love (we’ll save that for another post!), I can’t share about my business journey without mentioning Katelyn James Photography, Abby Grace Photography, Amy and Jordan Demos, Jeff and Erin Youngren, and Justin and Mary Marantz. These educators are some of the leading photographers in the industry and every single time I’ve invested in learning from them it has been beyond worth the investment!

From Abby I learned how to manage the wedding day and how to stay organized. I purchased her course shortly after I began second shooting weddings and it really influenced how I approached wedding days when I started lead shooting. Katelyn took something I found intimidating (learning Lightroom!) and made it a piece of cake. She also taught me how to streamline my workflow and how to refine my shooting style. I signed up for a business course with Amy and Jordan Demos around the time I rebranded and changed my business name to Elizabeth Gelineau Photography. To say I took this course at the perfect time is a massive understatement! Jeff and Erin Youngren taught me to dig deep. My coaching calls with them were game-changing! Finally, Justin and Mary Marantz taught me how to use and LOVE my flash! I never dreamed I’d love that little box of artificial light, but this husband and wife duo taught me to use it in a way that matches my style.

My Clients

My clients have taught me so much in these last seven years. The trust they put in me pushes me to do my absolute best. With each shoot I learn something new. My work has grown as a result of those who have stepped in front of my camera. Owning a business has its fair share of challenges, but it is also very rewarding. To every single person who has trusted me with their memories over the past seven years, I thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Photographer Friendships

Back in 2014 I didn’t know a single other local photographer. I knew of other photographers in Mobile, Alabama, but I didn’t know them personally. We weren’t hanging out and having coffee. To think about that BLOWS MY MIND because I have so many dear friends in my life today that are fellow photographers and videographers in our Gulf Coast area! I met each of them through different circumstances over a span of about 18 months. I went from knowing zero local photographers to knowing many in a very short period of time! Looking back, it seems funny that I didn’t know any other photographers for my first two years in business. I can’t imagine not having these friendships be part of my life! My conversations with all of these friends have helped me grow as a photographer and business owner. We’ve been sounding boards for each other, we’ve photographed things together, and we’ve celebrated each other’s successes. Community over competition might be a popular hashtag, but it’s also the reality of each of these friendships. Friends, you know who you are (pictured or not) and I hope you know how much I appreciate each of you!

Let’s Celebrate with a Giveaway!

Who doesn’t love birthday presents?! In celebration of my business’s 7th birthday, I’m giving away some of my favorite things! Yay! Be sure to follow me on Instagram for seven days of giveaways beginning Sunday, June 23rd through Saturday, June 29th! Don’t have Instagram? Comment below for a chance to win one of the drawings!

  1. Chelsea Lawrence says:

    Happy 7 years! Love your work!! You made our wedding day memories so special and worry free. I know we will be contacting you in the coming year for some more work! 🙂

  2. Melissa says:

    Great post! Happy Birthday!

  3. Lindsey Stiegler says:

    Great post, Elizabeth!! We have enjoyed getting to know you as a friend but we also LOVE working with you! You are an absolute DREAM to work with!! Happy Anniversary and cheers to many more wonderful years!

    • Elizabeth Gelineau says:

      Thank you so much!!! I LOVE working with y’all also! Thank you for being part of our week of birthday giveaways!

  4. Elizabeth Garrett says:

    Happy 7 years! I still look back at our wedding and engagement pictures and am so in love!! We loved having you as our photographer and am so excited for you to shoot my sister’s wedding next year!

  5. Dalton Garrett says:

    Congratulations on 7 years!

  6. Allyson DeMouy says:

    Woo Happy 7 years Boss!! I can’t wait to witness 7 more!
    Also, love the selfie of the “Dream Team”!

  7. Morgan Allinder says:

    Happy 7 Years! I love working events along side you with Jenna Laine Weddings! You and your team have such talent and such a joy for what you do! Cheers to your accomplishments and the many to come!

  8. Marlee says:

    Happy happy 7 years!! 🎂

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I'm Elizabeth and I'm so happy you're here. This blog a journal of the latest here at Elizabeth Gelineau Photography. Stay a while and say hello!

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