AS LONG AS I'VE GOT MY SUIT AND TIE...
We get to be a part of some pretty cool things with this job. Traveling, meeting new people, and photographing amazing moments never really gets old. I feel like I spend so much time these days just humbled by the experiences and shocked that I get to call this work. Truth be told it’s a pretty big task trying to take your name and turn it into a brand. Some of the greatest artists and business people in history have gone simply by their name. Ralph Lauren and Versace, Picasso and Donald Trump. All people who have shaped their culture and their industries and all people who have branded their name.
If I’m honest I stumbled into that very decision. To become my name was something that seemed fairly easy early on and then as business grew I had the choice to make. Should I stick to my name, or grow into something more generic? I decided that regardless of how many people were on my team, how many incredible minds and talents stood beside me I knew that as long as my company was my name I wouldn’t let the quality ever slip. I have too much invested. But that’s where my education in branding came in. I realized then that everything is a part of a brand. A haircut, a style of dress, even a cologne can be a part of a brand. The way you speak, or type, or see the world and especially the way the world speaks about and sees you are all things that go into the company of you. I do have a point I promise. I’ve undergone a masterclass in the last 10 years of learning who I am and how the world around me interprets that as a part of my company.
What I’ve learned can be summed up really simply : a little bit of a humility mixed with a little bit of ambition is a powerful thing. We live in a world were confidence is key but all too often to be confident seems to mean leaving being humble behind. For me I feel humbled daily by the talent around me. Humbled by the people who follow my work. Humbled by the support for my career and my family by people who have nothing invested in us other than just wanting us to succeed. It’s humbling living a life where you’re living your dream and people are supporting you in it but then comes the confidence to continue to push. I have so many things I’ve yet to accomplish and so many goals for myself that I can envision myself reaching but I’m not quite there yet. I know myself pretty well and I’m pretty blessed to have a team of friends who stand along with me all branded by the same name and an amazing wife who keeps me focused and directed every step of the way. My brand is simple but it’s all encompassing. We’re not just guys in suits, not just adventure photographer, not even just photographers. We’re not just people who love weddings, people who love love, or even people who take too many photos. We’re a brand, a lifestyle, a collective decision to live life in a way that allows us to enjoy every step. See though my brand is Miles Witt Boyer - it’s also the Photographic Collective and for 10 years I’ve been searching for a company that understand how complex this business is and help us express it.
This isn’t just a relentless plug. If you’ve been watching us for the last few weeks you’ve probably seen the announcement but we’re so honored and excited to have joined the LowePro Storyteller’s team. This first blog post about our experience with them isn’t about selling the bag, it’s about bragging on a company who is paying attention. The video above, and the photos below are all about one line of bags YES but what’s important to us isn’t selling our souls for advertising - it’s having an outlet and another company who supports our brand. I’ve been shooting weddings for about 10 years give or take. Roughly 300 beautiful weddings and my style has changed a lot over the years. Early on when I was shooting for about $1000 for about 1000 hours I didn’t quite understand the importance of who I was in the moment. I don’t mean to say I’m important - I mean to say that how people see me on a wedding day is. The trust that comes from the clients and the vulnerability all while trying to blend in with the guests isn’t an easy task. Couple that with Summers in the south and black t-shirts seem like the easy answer. But before long I realized that I wanted to look like I cared. I started with a shirt and tie but ended up in a full suit at every wedding. Yes my feet are killing me after a long day of climbing and jumping in loafers and yes sometimes my tie is so tight I want to throw it in the trash but it began to matter to me that my clients saw me as present for them. Relevant for them. So we suit up.
It’s been about 5 years now of searching for a bag that could suit up with me. I carry a ton of equipment on a wedding day and whether I’m traveling into a wedding, flying across the country, or just down the street I’ve gotten sick of carrying a bag that looks like something that old newspaper photographer would carry. The big chunky bags don’t fit right. The $1000 leather bags don’t hold up. And then Lowepro calls and says “We want you to check out the Echelon line”. SOLD. I think Delyn said it best in a post on Instagram a few days ago but I’ll paraphrase. The “echelon” lifestyle is something that takes complete commitment. It’s business and pleasure. It’s elegant and classic and stylish but not loud. I don’t wear a suit because I want attention, I wear a suit because it’s a classic way of saying “I’m taking my job seriously.” I could go into these bags for ages and talk about all the specs. I could do a review and talk about the price or I could say simply what matters.
We’re a photography company not an ad agency. I’m not here to sell you gear or convince you that you can’t live without equipment. But I have learned some amazing lessons along the way getting to where we are. One of those is this : In every industry the masses seem to bicker amongst themselves for mediocrity. It’s as if we’re all ok being just good enough. I’m not going to say I’m better than anybody but I will admit that I’m willing to work harder than most. I love my company, love my team, and love that I got the chance to try out a system of bags that was designed exactly for photographers like me. Not snotty, not arrogant, not stuffy, simply ambitious and excited about the opportunity for success. Thanks for keeping up with us - every little ounce of success we get is some completely due to all of you and we’re so grateful.