Epic Month One

"...memorable people, places and experiences stand out because of how they make us feel over time."

- Bernadette Jiwa (author)

One month ago I opened my photography studio in Old Town Alexandria.  I can't believe it's already been a month since the Grand Opening Day Party.

I haven't spent many days in the studio because as an event photographer, it's impossible to keep standard hours when I'm in and out on assignments and studio work is typically by appointment only.  

"I'm ready for a new headshot, do you take walk-ins?" 

Says no one...ever...But I am ready in case that should happen.

Throughout the first weeks of the month I completed numerous events, had several surprise studio visits, a few clients and I even received mail!   

So how was my first month you ask?  Epic!   One of the busiest months all year!

Here is an example of one of the last days in that epic first month:

As I mentioned, my first piece of mail recently arrived in the form of a simple 'thank you' note.  If you've been a recent client of mine, you know I usually mail you a similar note, so imagine my surprise to get one myself!

One of my Veteran Sisters, thanked me for giving her a complimentary headshot during her Military Transition Seminar.  It meant a lot that she researched my website, found the studio address and took the time to hand write an appreciation note.   It set the tone for the rest of what turned into a great day.

Shortly after climbing to cloud nine over a simple piece of mail, I started prepping for my 11:00 am Senior Portrait client.   A young man and his mom were visiting with his cello for indoor and outdoor portraits. I was excited about the opportunity to get creative with my studio lights.

Suddenly, at 10:22, I receive the following text, 

             "I think we're 90 feet from the front of your place."

My good friend Karen, also a Veteran Sister, and her husband, Dimitri, had mentioned the day before that they would stop by in the afternoon to drop off a gift; we had arranged to meet after my morning client, obviously their schedule changed.

Now I could write another entire blog post about this "gift" but the short version is, I asked Karen last March to ask her very talented carpenter-husband, to "design" me (note the word design) a stand for my military retirement shadow box. 

My shadow 'box' is a beautiful but very large display of my military career in the shape of a ship's steering wheel.  It won't easily hang on the wall, which is why I thought Dimitri could probably assist me with a better solution.

By 10:30 that morning, my 'design' literally walked in with Dimitri.  No words can describe how beautiful this masterpiece is, so I'll let you check out the picture below.

Karen and Dimitri left the studio by 10:50, and as you can imagine my adrenaline levels were peaked by the sheer excitement of my shadow box returning with it's beautiful display stand.

By 10:55, in walked in my Senior Portrait client and the rest of my day continued to improve with every click of the camera.  My client's mother sat with us for the first half of the session, observing the chaos of my creativity.  Every now and then I shared a few sneak peeks of the portraits on the camera's LCD with both mom and her Senior.

Top Left: My first Studio Mail; Bottom Left: Karen & Dimitri and the beautiful stand; Right Left: Senior Portrait Client

Bernadette Jiwa (a business author I follow) recently blogged about ways businesses can stand out, she wrote, it's not by being the loudest, or the most visible but sometimes it's simply "by changing how someone feels about themselves in your presence..."    

This statement resonated with every sneak peek I offered; I noticed my Senior's confidence soared while his proud mom watched as we worked together to produce his studio Portraits.

So there you have it, some insights into one of my great studio days during my epic first month.  

Here is the rest of the busy month in pictures (of course!)
First Official Studio Headshot Client

Marietta College, Ohio hires me to feature one of their successful Alums who now works for the Kennedy Center

Working with the USNA Alumni Association

Alexandria Sportsman's Club honors student athletes & hosts Tony McGee for Redskins Night

Two Navy-related surprise visits to the studio

West Point Women's Soccer crushes American University 3-1; My Grand Niece scores!

A busy week of Navy golf, a National Cathedral Concert, a Gala honoring Military Families, a West Point Soccer game, Veteran Headshots, Candid school photos, and a business reception

36 Veterans receive complimentary headshots and business suits in Richmond, VA
Navy Change of Command

Laura Hatcher is a retired Naval Officer, Mother, Harley Rider and Published Professional Photographer located in Northern Virginia.  Her Studio is on 218 North Lee Street, Alexandria, VA 22314

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  1. Laura this IS epic! I am so proud of you and so happy on how well your business and the work you do is going. Your work is a gift!


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