This week, Molliner Photography turned 8! Eight years filled with God’s goodness. Most people know that I went to school for architecture and started this business while pulling all-nighters in the studio. Never did I imagine that what began as a side hobby would end up being my full-time, dream job. Actually, the Lord built something so much better than my wildest dreams! Eight years ago, this girl was filled with so much doubt and insecurity and He silenced it all with His faithfulness. If I could encourage you to do one thing with your life: Dream with the Lord. Vision cast and ask Him to lead you. I promise His ways will surpass any limits that you have for yourself. His dreams for you are so much better than the ones you’re dreaming up! Trust me! I was a girl pursuing a career in architecture until God intervened with a completely different plan and dream altogether! I’m so glad He did!
Thank you to everyone who cheered me on from day one and everyone who is standing by my side now. A special shout out to my wonderful team. So much of this job has your fingerprints all over it. I am so blessed to celebrate this with each of you.
Each year has been filled with exciting moments, unexpected gifts, hardships, lessons that we didn’t realize needed to be learned and the most beautiful wins. I am extremely grateful for every single moment. Every client who trusted us to tell their story. Every undeserved grace. Every new friendship that bloomed. Every dream that the Lord brought to fruition. Every lesson or hardship that caused us to look fully to Christ as our satisfaction and ultimate hope. Here are a few memories, lessons and behind the scenes fun from the last eight years.
Happy 8th anniversary, Molliner Photography. You’ve been so life-giving.
- The company began by shooting grad pictures and engagements for classmates in architecture school. Since I primarily shoot weddings now, I consider the actual MP birthday in December, when a classmate who really believed in me asked me to shoot a family member’s wedding. We photographed it together and I was so nervous. I felt like such a fraud! I had NO idea what I was doing, but she assured me that anything I gave would be a gift. We both survived!
- Shot my first wedding by myself (as in no second shooter). My mom assisted me. By assisted, I mean she followed me around as I left behind lenses, lens caps, and even my purse at one point. My equipment rental for this wedding cost more than I charged the couple! Basically, I paid to shoot my first wedding on my own. Lolz
- Wayne and I got married! He became my first official hire ;) Not only was he the CFO and second shooter, but also a professional boutonniere handler, diet coke runner, dad-joke teller and friend to every groom and groomsmen. He worked full time and yet he so willingly gave his free time to me and this business. He came alongside me IN EVERY SINGLE WAY IMAGINABLE.
- Second shot my first wedding with my dear friend, Katie, from KT Crabb Photography. She took me under her wing and began mentoring me in wedding photography. She is a big reason I am celebrating 8 years. Her friendship and hand in my life continues to be such a gift.
- Traveled to Vegas with my friend Katie and another photographer to attend WPPI, my first photo conference. I completely fangirled over getting to meet Kallima Photography and Jasmine Star. Imagine a teenage girl meeting Justin Bieber…it was that kind of fangirling.
- Saved up my paychecks (thank you to all of the clients who booked me for portraits and engagements in 2011) and purchased my first professional camera. Goodbye crop frame camera!
- Before shooting weddings, I would pray for help and divine inspiration. I would pray out of dependence on Christ. After getting my first professional camera, I immediately felt self-dependent and put so much trust in my equipment. I remember the first wedding after getting my camera, I purposely didn’t pray, because I thought I was “all set”. During that same wedding, my brand new camera stopped working and I had to use my backup crop sensor camera (I suggest another professional camera as backup). Thankfully, the images still turned out beautiful (by the grace of God), but I felt very strongly that I needed to rely on Jesus first, then my ability or equipment. It all comes from Him, so I always need Him.
- Started a wedding tradition of joining my brides on the dance floor. Towards the end of the reception, I put down my camera and get out on the dance floor with them for one song. This was that first time. (Future brides: get ready!)
- By Spring of 2013, I went FULL-TIME with Molliner Photography. The Lord had given confirmation, provision, and so much peace. It was time to take that leap of faith that He was leading me to. It was easy to feel so much freedom in jumping, trusting in Him.
- Shot and planned (alongside Ashley, who is now on the team) a hot air balloon styled shoot! Oh my goodness all of the hours of crafting and crazy ideas. But the best thing that came out of that shoot was my friendship with Ashley.
- My first publication! Our Fly Away with Me styled shoot was printed in the NCF Bride magazine! This was such a sweet moment! So surreal to see my pictures printed.
- We traveled to Austin for our first out-of-state wedding. Laura + Chris’s wedding officially started MP’s destination weddings and it also began my obsession with Jo’s coffee. Yumz.
- Ended the year by shooting at one of my bucket list venues, the stunning Bella Collina. This venue is a gorgeous little piece of Italy near Orlando.
- The post-wedding gas station hot dog celebration began! I LOVE hot dogs, especially gas station hot dogs! Wayne and I end all of our weddings by grabbing a hot dog on our way home. (Clarification: Wayne does not get a hot dog. He’s most likely to get an energy drink and some sunflower seeds).
- This was my most challenging year in the business simply because I accepted every wedding that came our way. We shot 38 weddings that year and pushed ourselves past the point of exhaustion. While professionally it was a great year, personally we were struggling. This was the year I learned how to set boundaries in business. In order to serve with our best, we have to honor our time and rest. After this year, we learned to limit the number of weddings we shoot.
- We brought Tori on as our Office Manager! While we didn’t know each other deeply yet, she chose to carry me through a hard season. This girl has the most beautiful servant’s heart. She is the backbone of this company and does it all. ALL. The year she started, she carried me emotionally, carried this company logistically and literally carried Ethan in between (he was born her first year at MP). And all of that carrying hasn’t stopped.
- Prior to Ethan’s arrival, the MP office was located in a TINY bedroom in our house. With Ethan’s due date approaching, Wayne and my father-in-law built my new office by enclosing some of the space in our garage. The old office was to become E-man’s nursery.
- Ethan was born in the Spring! Our future third shooter ;) The Lord really taught me to slow down in this season. He wanted to show me how to adjust to motherhood and how I could honor Him with a balanced work and personal life.
- Bucket list item checked off! One of our weddings was featured on the Southern Weddings blog! This Ocala National Forest wedding was one of my favorites! After the wedding ended, the couple invited their guests (and us!) to camp in the forest with them! So memorable!
- Nikki + Zach’s wedding, one of my favorites of 2016, was printed in The Knot magazine with a 5-spread feature. I felt like a little girl running to every Publix and Target until I could find a copy.
- Ashley joined the team as Content + Creative Director! She had been cheering me on since the first day I met her. She was team Ingrid first, team Molliner Photography second. As a friend, she makes a great effort to bring out the best in me and through her role. Before her, I hardly made time to share my heart on the blog. She strategizes and helps me make room for it (this blog post was her idea!). Also, adding her that year allowed me to focus more on shooting, editing and developing client relationships. It has also allowed us to invest in our personal lives, by bringing freedom and better boundaries with work hours.
- A dream of mine was fulfilled as I had a film mentor session with my friend Emily, from The Ganeys. She invited me to join her on multiple shoots, all the while encouraging and coaching me as I learned to shoot in film! The day we met began a close friendship, as we applaud each other in work and life. She invited me into her life professionally and personally, with arms wide open, teaching me that love has no walls. This industry-turned-personal relationship was a turning point in my heart.
- I purchased my first film camera later that year and that officially began my deep love. This began the learning process of slowing down to be more intentional with every shot taken.
- I traveled to the Las Vegas desert to photograph an elaborate elopement styled shoot that was hosted by Sophie Kaye Photography and Julian N. Photography. I’m so grateful that this shoot gave me the freedom to create content for myself and for the ways I was stretched.
- I also traveled to San Francisco to shoot a wedding and a couple of engagement sessions! It was a dream! I invited my friend, Emily, from The Ganeys, to assist me and it really filled my tank. We worked like a TEAM, so in sync. The landscapes and the quality time was good for my soul.
- After much thought and prayer, we opened up an Associate Photographer position. The process was one that really tested my faithfulness to the Lord and the direction I knew He was leading me in. Multiple times since we hired Kim the Lord has AGAIN confirmed that she was His choice for our team! Every moment was WORTH IT. The Lord was so worthy of every second and minute and hour waited. In January, we will officially be introducing Kim and her precious family to you all! We are really excited!
- Belle Lumiere is a film exclusive publication and it offers awards at the end of each year. We became finalists for TWO awards (still living in shock). Incredibly humbled to end the year running against some of the best in the industry as we are finalists for Emerging Film Photographer of the Year and Image of the Year (in color).