TO the Feathered Arrow blog. I'M Kari! A WEDDING PLANNER, PODCAST HOST, BIZ EDUCATOR, AND A LOVER OF COFFEE, ALL THINGS OUTDOORS + A SUCKER FOR A GOOD LOVE STORY.
Welcome back to The Local Table Podcast, friends! Today we have a very special guest: Grace Troutman, owner of Grace T Photography. I have been such a huge fan of Grace’s work for awhile. (Fun fact: Grace and I are from the same state and went to the same college!) So, one day I decided to just email her and ask her to be on the podcast and she responded with enthusiasm right away! I’m excited to share some of her wisdom on expanding your business and staying authentic within your brand to help attract your ideal clients and ideal work. Grace shares her strategies, wisdom and how to show up in your business and on Instagram. She also shares about how to invest in yourself so clients will invest in you.
Based in Iowa, Grace is a Midwest and destination wedding and elopement photographer, as well as a business educator. She grew up in the Midwest but fled to the West Coast with her hus-babe, Kyle, as soon as they graduated college. They have adventurous souls and knew they needed to see more than just the rolling hills and corn fields of Iowa. So, they packed up and moved to California and promised each other they would live a life full of adventurous Saturdays and lazy Sundays. After 2 years, and countless California burritos, Iowa called them back home and she’s been expanding her business ever since.
Now they’re living their best life in the Midwest and traveling every chance they get. They also have a tiny adventure partner; their daughter, Pfeifer Grey, and they love to take her wherever they go. Grace still has a deep love for the West Coast and beyond, and spends her free time traveling to her favorite spots. For example, Big Sur, Hawaii, and Colorado.
Grace’s own marriage is what inspires her the most. She and Kyle are just two silly kids who love to make memories in epic places. They spend too much time “ooh”ing and “aah”ing over the cutest baby ever made (theirs, of course) and they keep each other on their toes with big dreams and sometimes spontaneous life decisions. She believes marriage is something sacred and special, and documenting love stories is something incredible that she gets the privilege of doing.
Grace is based in Des Moines, Iowa but absolutely loves to travel! She’s shot weddings all the way from Hawaii to bridal sessions in Ireland, to engagement sessions across the ocean in Iceland.
Grace started her company Grace T Photography almost 5 years ago. Originally, she started in Iowa, but then moved to California for about 2 years. After that, she moved back to Iowa and has been growing her business ever since.
Grace’s passion for photography began in high school, but she didn’t major in photography in college, at first. Grace’s first choice in a major was in Drawing but she quickly switched to Photography and Marketing. After college, she began her company Grace T Photography in Iowa, and then moved to Arizona, and California before settling back home in Iowa. It’s been 5 years of business and it’s been growing ever since!
Originally, Grace didn’t envision being a wedding photographer, and wanted to focus on marketing. She worked for a post processing company in California and was floored by how incredible the photos were, and wanted them to be hers. She began 2nd shooting in Los Angeles, and after starting her own business Instagram and other social accounts, people in Iowa began flying her back to take their wedding photos.
Additionally, Grace was expanding her business to destination wedding photography. Her first few destination weddings were for friends, which helped solidify her destination portfolio. She made it a goal to shoot destination weddings yearly. Sometimes she would book a trip without a shoot planned, and advertise that she was going to be in the area and find clients. Whenever she’s in a location, she tries to shoot as much as possible.
Grace started sharing about her hardships on her personal Instagram and realized that account was starting to gain traction. Once she combined her personal and business page, and started to really show up as her authentic self, her business page blew up.
Being as authentic as she can on her social profiles allows her to connect with people. She can send correspondence with clients and not have to worry she’s not being “professional enough”.
Grace’s advice for being authentic, instead of posing like you’re being authentic:
Grace started the education side of her business after 2 years of starting her company. She received so many messages from other entrepreneurs asking how to get started as a photographer with the camera settings, etc. She would set coffee meetings with people and then realized she could make money offering this advice. So, Grace began offering mentoring sessions that vary from sit-downs to half-day shoot sessions. She also offers workshops for any budding photographers.
For Grace, education is the most important part of growing your craft and business. (She wishes someone told her younger self to invest in education early). However, education can start small. At first she started just educating clients because she wanted to build a portfolio of a certain aesthetic. Then eventually, she began offering education to photographers. Grace’s advice: don’t be afraid to start small and grow from there! Figure out where is the need and what are the questions your followers are asking you? What problem can you solve?
Also, if you need help expanding your business, I want to share a platform that I love to use for my business and personal life! The one project management system that I swear by to keep my business afloat and running smoothly is HoneyBook. It makes running my business so easy and I can set up workflows for all my clients from the initial inquiry to contracts and payments! Who doesn’t want to get paid while they sleep!? I wouldn’t survive in my business without this project management system and you can get in on it now too! Just use the link here to sign up and get 50% off your first year or just head to https://bit.ly/fahoneybook to get your deal!