Dirty Dishes Mixed with lenses: How Married Photo Teams Make It Work
Since 2008, Aaron and I have worked together as a photo team and we’ve been married for 3 of those years. Together we run Newell Jones + Jones Photography out of Denver, Colorado and we primarily shoot weddings.
We absolutely love working together, and couldn’t be happier about getting to see new places and experience new things together. But blending marriage and business can bring up some interesting dynamics and topics. Discussions about who left the mess in the kitchen for the hundredth time to who is shooting with what lens start to merge, and business finance talks get co-mingled with trips to the grocery store.
Since we want both our marriage and business to be a success, we have to regularly think about how to make each endeavor the best they can be, both independently and together.
We know we’re not alone in managing this unique situation, so we reached out to some of our favorite fellow husband and wife photography teams to get their take on how they successfully blend their personal and business relationships.
What is the most rewarding and the most challenging aspect of working together?
All three photo teams that we interviewed agreed that the best part of working together is just that, getting to work together. Max Wanger said, “… to be able to share so much with each other is priceless. Since we’re always so busy, it can be hard to take a step back and remember to take time for ourselves and be a married couple as opposed to business partners.” T.J. (of Brooke Courtney) said, “…we can disagree as co-workers, so we have to make an effort to not take that personally and to not make it a ‘thing’ in our marriage.” And The Mullers said, “…with any passion-driven career, the gears are always turning and we are always discussing branding, business decisions, gear purchases, etc.”
Was there anything that surprised you about working with your spouse?
The Mullers said they were surprised at how quickly they adapted to specific roles. “…There wasn’t ever a time when we said ‘Okay, I’ll take notes and you talk about this’ or ‘I’ll get detail shots while you take family formals.’ Everything has fallen into place. Wedding photography can be stressful but we have each other’s back.”
What’s the biggest tip you could give other married photo teams? Was there anything you learned the hard way?
Max Wanger suggests: “Find a balance. Communicate. Plan date nights that have absolutely nothing to do with work. One thing we learned the hard way was how to properly set-up and run a business together. It all happened so quickly that we had very little balance for the first couple years. Now, we do our best to work fairly regular hours during the day and take time for ourselves at night. It’s not always possible, but we’re trying!”
TJ (of Brooke Courtney) suggests: “The biggest tip I would give to married photo teams is to enjoy your life. It is really easy to get caught up in the business and the amount of money you are making or need to make. It’s easy to get stressed about it all. One of the things I love so much about Brooke is how steady she is, and how much she just enjoys the ride. Over the past four years I’ve really learned that from her.”
The Mullers report that: “Finances are hands down the most stressful part of running a business, so really learn the business part.”
We talked with:
- Based in Los Angeles, California, Max and Margaux Wanger of Max Wanger Photography. They have worked together for 4 years and have been married for 2.
- Out of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, Brooke and T.J., who run Brooke Courtney Photography. They have worked together for 4 years and have been married for 4.
- From Omaha, Nebraska, Daniel and Lauren Muller are The Mullers. They have worked together for 2 years and have been married for a year.