We had the good fortune of connecting with Patty Norman and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Patty, what habits do you feel play an important role in your life?
After photographing my first wedding, there was almost like this moment of clarity in regards what I wanted my life to look like and the direction I wanted to head in. So when I knew I wanted to photograph weddings, I knew it would be important to immerse myself in the wedding industry language, learn marketing, learn how to actually run a successful wedding day, learn the legalities of the business and how to properly communicate with clients. So everyday for almost 6 months I spent between 4-5 hours at coffee shops, reading about wedding photography, watching YouTube videos on how to pose clients, I listened to Instagram lives, and followed people on social media I aspired to be like. All this was done after work, when I was tired, and could have easily gone home to rest, I instead forced myself into an environment where I had no choice but to succeed. You know they say Fake it till you Make it, well I did it all.
Can you give our readers an introduction to your business? Maybe you can share a bit about what you do and what sets you apart from others?
Days before my junior year of college started, I unexpectedly lost my mother. Loosing her shook my entire world. I fell into deep depression, and was hardly surviving my day to day. I began to question my life, and it was months after I knew that I did not want to be a teacher. Life was just too short to do something I did not love. But I also had no idea what I wanted to do. I made it my mission to finish college and take a year off from pursuing anything seriously until I knew what direction I wanted to go. I graduated May of 2015 from Western Michigan University. After I decided to work at the university bookstore as a Team Lead. It was the very next year that my best friends asked me to photograph their wedding, after that one thing led to the next, and I knew that somehow I needed to continue to photograph weddings. So for the next 8 months I worked hard to build a business. I continued to work my 9-5 while making time after to work on my dreams. I went from photographing 1 wedding in 2016 to photographing 13 in 2017, ultimately leading me to leaving my desk job, getting married, and moving to a new city. In 2018 I photographed 25 weddings, and in 2019 I photographed 29 weddings, 2020 I was able to photograph 24 weddings even in a pandemic. And as of December 2020 I am fully booked for 2021 with 30 weddings on my calendar. Getting to where I am today was not easy, there was heartbreak, failures, mistakes and times where I wanted to give up, but I truly believe that my desire for more and my drive to do something I loved led me to where I am today. I have been able to niche down and focus on weddings and not have to take on a ton of extra work that I am not passionate about.
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 am from Kalamazoo, Michigan and if I were to take someone out we would go to Water Street Coffee Joint in downtown Kalamazoo, followed by lunch at Crows Nest, and we would take a trip to WMU for a walk on main campus and east campus. And dinner would be take out tacos from Los Brothers.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I want to dedicate my Shoutout to my mother who is no longer with me. She was the person who helped me purchase my first camera and who always believed I would be a professional photographer long before ever did. Her love for life, the little moments are what I attest to my success. Secondly, my now husband, Ruben Norman. At the time of creating this business, him and I were best friends, and in times I wanted to quit, he always spoke positive affirmations over me and reminded me why I started. At lastly I also mentioned learning from so many wonderful entrepreneurs that I aspired to be like, one who really inspired me is Jasmine Star (https://jasminestar.com/) I learned so much from her YouTube Chanel, and her Instagram.