Elissa R Photography: Austin, TX & Everywhere

One of the great joys of APW is watching small independent businesses grow from ideas, to all consuming projects, to thriving enterprises. It’s watching the business owners grow into their new roles, and watching APWers help support them by being the world’s best customers (seriously, you all are). So, it’s always a really damn huge deal when a business that has grown up alongside APW reaches a big milestone. It makes me want to coordinate all of us into a confetti throwing line to cover the entrepreneur with celebratory bits of joy. All of which is to say, Elissa R Photography, based out of Austin TX, quit her day job this month, thanks in large part to you guys, and is now devoting herself full time to being one of the world’s most awesome wedding photographers. To celebrate, she’s offering APWers All Over The US one flat package for the rest of 2012. That’s right, she’ll come to you, with joy in her heart.

But instead of me prattling on, I’m going to hand over the reigns of this post to Elissa, and let her tell you the story herself. (Warning: First, you probably want to read this whether or not you’re in the market for a wedding photographer. And second, I read the whole thing with my lip quivering, so there you are.) So now, Elissa:

I’m Elissa, engaged-reader-turned-business-owner who has been reading APW for three years. I started off as a frazzled bride-to-be looking for some sanity in the wedding world, and when I realized that my artistic education was not for naught and that a job in the creative field would make me happy, I started my own wedding photography business and joined APW as a sponsor two years ago.

You know that feeling in your chest that shows up the night before something really exciting is about to happen, and you can’t wait to fall asleep and wake up to this wonderful day that is about to unfold for you? This is how I feel every night. Which is strange, because until about a month ago, I went to bed every night dreading waking up in the morning. For several years I worked a dead-end job under flickering fluorescent lighting in a basement, a job that meant nothing to me except a paycheck and insurance benefits, while I struggled to build my photography business. I was tired and stressed from working two jobs to support my husband and me while he was out of work. You do what you have to do until the fates are kind. When Walt was offered a position at his new company, I wept with relief, then gave my notice. I’ve been a full-time wedding photographer for about three weeks now and every day is a joy.

The thing about working full-time at a job that starves your soul is that you dream about what’s better. About picking up and traveling, and just getting out of that small, restrictive cage. And the thing about working a job that you love, and working for yourself and making up your own rules, is that you can do whatever the hell you want to fulfill your wanderlust. Which is why I’m super excited to offer a special to *APWers outside of Texas* for the first time ever. I have a few open dates left in 2012 and would love to offer this exclusive deal to ALL AWESOME APWERS who do not have a photographer yet for their 2012 weddings. $3400 for me to come shoot your 2012 wedding. That’s me, showing up and shooting my joyful heart out, anywhere in the continental US, for up to 9 hours on your wedding day. That INCLUDES your edited high-res files, all of my travel fees, hotel fees, and rental car fees. You pay $3400 and not a penny more (unless you’d like a second photographer for an additional fee, of course). Do you live outside of that realm? I’m passport-ready and we can negotiate some of those pesky travel expenses. For any 2013 weddings (anywhere), I’d love to offer a 15% discount on any package if you book before August 31, 2012. Just mention that you found me on APW!

But Elissa R Photography isn’t just the world’s most inspiring business success story these days, she’s also a super talented artist, with a phenomenally down-to-earth ethos. Watching her photography blossom over the last few years has been a total joy, and lately I find it almost totally breathtaking to look at her work. How is she capturing those shots? What does it look like inside her brain, that makes this creation possible?

Well, that might be an unanswerable question (“What does it look like in your brain?”) but I did ask Elissa about her artistic philosophy, and she had this to say: “Having been in your shoes, planning a wedding and wondering how in the world to do it sanely, I know what it’s like out there in the scary wedding world. My job, aside from taking beautiful photographs of an important occasion, is to make your life easier. APWers share the same philosophy as I do: they want a drama-free, wonderful, exciting moment in their lives to be treated as such. I can’t believe how amazing every single one of my APW clients has been—just, wonderful, oh-my-goodness-can-I-hug-you, I’m-so-glad-you-get-me kind of relationships. I’m treated like a friend, and more often than not, we stay friends after the wedding too. What it boils down to is this: I love being a part of this community and love being a part of your weddings. I think one of my past clients and now friend, Liz, said it well: ‘Elissa is there for you and your photography as an artist and a previous bride.'”

So ladies and gents, start your engines. Our own Elissa R Photography is now rocking this full time, coming to you all over the US. Let’s make this happen, for her, and most of all, for you.

Staff Picks

[Read comment policy before commenting]

  • Emily

    Bueller White (the bowtied dog above) and his newly-married parents happily support, endorse and love Elissa R and her fantastic photography! I encourage any and all future marrieds to go with Elissa for their photography; she is an amazing and invigorating person as well as a wonderfully talented photographer. Our photos turned out better than I could have imagined, even after all the husband’s stress about having his photo taken. I consider Elissa a friend after our time together and I’m so glad I can : )

    • Kayla

      That picture with your dog is my favorite wedding picture of all time! It’s so great it hurts my brain.

    • Aww thank you, Emily!
      For what it’s worth (to anyone else reading this), Emily came to me talking about “Firefly” and puggles so I knew that we were going to be a great match :)

  • Way to go Elissa! Do the damn thing!

  • I’ve had the joy of meeting Elissa twice in person and the pleasure of working with her once. She is incredibly talented (obviously) but also really personable and fun to be around :-) Hire her!!

    • Thank you so much for being so awesome all the time, Emilia! I feel the love :)

  • YAAAAAAAAAYYYYYYYYYY!!!!!! I love Elissa! And I met her back when she was still an APW reader and not yet a sponsor, so watching her grow her business from the ground up over the past few years has been AMAZING. I am so unbelievably happy for her – because it is pretty damn clear this woman is talented and my goodness – this is what she is meant to be doing FULL TIME! So hire her! Maybe even someone hire her for a Chicago wedding, yes? That way she can come here and I can finally meet her in person!!!! :)

    • Yes Yes YES I second this! Hire here in Illinois because she is such a rockstar- I want to meet her so I can soak up her endless enthusiasm and positive energy. Love her!

    • And when I get to Chicago, I am going to go TOUCH THE BEAN.

  • YAY ELISSA!! Speaking as someone who emailed her a hyper-manic exclamation mark-ridden email about Law and Order SVU while begging her to shoot my wedding last week, I can certify that she is AWESOME. And pretty chill, even when our conversation is interrupted by a parade of smoking romanians, german shepherds, and my kid. Which is pretty damn impressive, cause they frazzle me. ELISSA I LOVE YOU ALREADY!!

  • Elissa is my Texan twin and I looooooove her.

    • And one day we will hang out, stuff ourselves with Canadian candies, and watch Buffy together.

  • Elissa is amazing! She is absolutely not lying about becoming your friend in addition to your photographer during your engagement and wedding. I’m so happy we found Elissa here on APW (she pretty much saved our wedding), proud to call her my friend and super excited that she’s coming to Houston this weekend to do an anniversary shoot for us. I think maybe it’s my new goal in life to come up with new reasons to keep hiring her every year. YAY ELISSA!

    • Rachelle was one of the first people who took a chance on me and I will always adore her for that. I’m so glad we got to be friends!! (And that you always comment such nice things about me when my name pops up on the internet!) <3

  • I have so much love for Elissa! She is synonymous with APW businesses to me, and gave me the final push I needed to join the wonderful vendor community here. Watching both her talent and business grow over the last few years has been inspirational. I’m really hoping some California brides will take up the travel offer so I will get to hang out with Elissa too!

    • Aww thank you, Jess! <3
      And yessss, I hope a California couple inquires, since it's been about 8 years since I've been anywhere on the west coast and I miss it! I'd love to meet you in person someday!

  • “The thing about working full-time at a job that starves your soul is that you dream about what’s better. About picking up and traveling, and just getting out of that small, restrictive cage. ”

    This is how I feel everyday trying to run our small side business and keeping a boring job for the paycheck and benefits. Ellissa, congratulations and lots of confetti to you!! Mazel tov!

    • Thank you!!
      Wow, I’m really feeling the love from everyone today. Warm fuzzies.

  • JEM

    The first picture ALONE is enough to book her.

    • I love that photo too. <3
      Thank you!

  • V

    Aw, Elissa, that’s awesome! Congratulations :)

  • Moz

    I can’t believe you’ve only just gone full time, these are BEAUTIFUL. Especially love the top photo.

    All the best.

    • Thank you!

    • meg

      Oh, well, I mean she’s been a serious photographer for ages now. But there is nothing like supporting a whole family on your own to put off that full time move. Yayyyy Elissa!

      • Moz

        Oh for sure – I’m a part time vendor myself, after all. I’m just so happy for you that you’ve been able to make the move now, your photos are just exquisite.

        Please don’t think I was equating part time with not being serious, that was not my intention AT ALL.

  • oohhh!!! what a sweet dog :X:X:X