Jamie Hayes and Mary Fisk-Taylor attribute the success of their studio (Hayes and Fisk the Art of Photography) to their sound management and business skills combined with their love and passion for photography. Their commitment to creating priceless portraits and wedding albums has earned them an extremely loyal clientele, as well as a sterling reputation in the state of Virginia. Their business savvy and creative marketing concepts have enabled them to establish an extremely profitable and fulfilling portrait and wedding gallery. They have also expanded their business by opening a secondary studio that specializes in both boutique events and high school senior portraits.
1. Tell us something about your business and how long you have been a professional photographer?
Jamie has been in the business of photography almost his whole life. He opened the Richmond home based-studio 17 years ago with a dream of creating beautiful portraits and making enough money to be his own boss. The concept has always been to create timeless wall portraits, wedding albums and images of families, children and couples that they will surely cherish forever. Mary came on board with him in 1995, when her daughter was born. Combining their talents they created a leading photography and business team in their market area, industry and beyond. They have always strived to provide custom design in their work and full service. Being the visual historian to their clients is the best thing in the world and they believe that their portrait and wedding style can be a bit traditional but more importantly it is timeless.
2. What equipment do you use?
We love our Canon Cameras and lenses! We also use Profoto strobes, Larson Soft boxes, Tamrac camera bags, and Induro tripods.
3. Where are you located?
4. What type of photography do you like to create?
Jamie definitely prefers glamour photography. It is truly his very favorite. He loves to photograph women and loves the challenge of creating a beautiful image that they fall in love with. Mary prefers high school seniors. She loves to create images of teens that really represent their personality, attitude, and personal style.
5. Price range of events.
We are a small boutique studio that truly specializes in custom designed portraits and higher end full service weddings. Our average family or child’s portrait sales are around $3,500 and our weddings are at about a $7,200 average.
6. When did you notice you had a passion for photography?
Jamie saved his mother’s S&H Green Stamps and bought his first camera at age 12! It was a Kodak camera with a flashcube extender. His love of photography goes all the way back to then. He photographed his first wedding at age 15 and had to get a ride to and from the event! He has always loved and been passionate about photography as an art and a business. He wanted to be his own boss and create portraits that he was proud of. His dreams came true in 1994 when he opened his first studio. Mary came on board a bit after that. Even though she had always loved taking pictures she had never considered photography as a career. She loved the business and marketing side of photography and soon found her place with Jamie. In 2000, Mary started photographing at the studio and soon found her own niche with both clients and style.
7. What is unique to what you do or what you offer?
I certainly think that our style and photographic “eye” is unique and special. Nobody can truly copy what we do and how we choose to photograph a client. But the customer service and eye to detail is what truly sets us apart in our market.
8. Most awkward moment during an event?
We were photographing a wedding and the videographer was someone that we did not know. He was from out of town and honestly kind of obnoxious. During the first dance I looked over and noticed that his fly was not all the way up and his shirttail was sticking out of his zipper. Everyone was noticing and looking and I was mortified for him, but secretly I think it was karma getting him back. The father of the groom finally clued him in to the zipper situation after the dances were over.
9. What is the scariest thing that ever happened during a shoot?
We almost always use additive lighting outdoors. So it is never fun to have a strobe with a soft box on it fly over. It makes a terrible thud and it is frankly just a sickening feeling. However, when you are on the beach and it falls over into the water and proceeds to make hissing, popping, and electrifying noises in front of your clients it is scary, awkward, and expensive!
10. Best advice that you’ve been given in your photography career?
Take this information, make it your own and then give it back to the industry. Believing and living this mantra is truly the best way to live.
11. Best advice that you could give someone else that is pursuing a photography career?
Some of the best ideas that you see and find out there need to be left on the table. Be true and authentic to yourself, your business, your product lines, and your brand name.
12. Best moment of your photography career?
The most rewarding time for both of us is on the rare, but special occasions that we can create or offer portraits to a family member of a lost relative. This is always so hard and it hurts so much, but to receive the notes and thank you messages from clients telling us how special, remarkable, and priceless it is to have pictures of their family members, friends, and colleagues means more than any award or degree. However, we are both very proud to be recipients of the PPA Master of Photography degree. And, Mary thinks that it is pretty awesome that both of her kids think she is a great mom and a smart businesswoman!
13. How many sessions/events do you do each year?
About 300 sessions and 18 weddings.
14. Have you changed anything to adjust in the current economic times?
We have definitely had to make some adjustments and changes to our marketing plan. We increased our partnership marketing and tried to reach out to more and more small businesses in our area that catered to like-minded clientele. We also decided to add on an associate line of weddings that were a bit more budget friendly and offered more limited products.
15. Describe your shooting style.
Our portraiture tends to be a bit more traditional. Our main product line is definitely wall portraits that are on canvas or even have been brush oiled. So we tend to keep our portraits simple both in background, clothing, and overall mood. Simple but sophisticated that is what we shoot for (literally!). Our weddings do have a bit more range to them. Jamie tends to lean toward more orchestrated or directed portraits and even coverage whereas Mary has more of an advertorial or modern spin on weddings.
You can connect with Jamie and Mary through the following website and social media sites: