Although our websites are separate, and we don’t share our photographs, Jay and I work as a team. We share very similar technical skills – when one of us finds a new technique, we share it with the other… so it’s a constant processes of back and forth learning and sharing. We share ideas and critiques as well – pointing out beautiful subjects and light in the field, and offering suggestions for improving images in post-processing.
On the business side, we each contribute when we have the time. I do a lot of the writing for our eBooks and blog posts (which is why most blog posts are written from my perspective) – but Jay suggests topics for posts and books as often as I come up with them myself. (This post was actually his idea.) I also do most of the creative design for our logos, websites, and eBooks… and I do all the voice-overs for our videos. Jay is more likely to be the one preparing products for e-commerce, adding new functionality to our websites, or fixing problems with the server – though I did spend about five hours fixing my website when it bit the dust after a recent update. :) There’s no clearly defined line – either of us can handle any responsibility… but that’s how it often pans out.
So, when we are handling the business side of things, we are great about sharing responsibilities. It’s the same when we are teaching. We choose our locations together – and then he makes the necessary calls to request paperwork for permits and get the required information. I fill them all out and make sure they get where they need to go – so that when it’s time to head out, everything is in order. Once we’re on-location, we teach side-by-side. Our teaching styles are different – and we have different strengths – but we both feel that having two instructors makes a big difference. Some students learn better from Jay, and some learn better from me… but everyone gets two different perspectives.
When it comes to our photographic styles we’re pretty different. Our creative processes are influenced by our personal styles. Jay prefers high-contrast images with splashes of intense color. I look for clean and simple compositions and I like my colors soft. I like to remove elements in order to simplify an image as much as possible – and Jay tries to include as much as he can. Because our styles are so different, we can often work side-by-side, and still come away with very different images. (Check out our Stand By Me post for examples.)
In business and in “real” life, we compliment one another. Things run (relatively) smoothly because we believe in mutual respect and teamwork. We share a passion for photography, and we’re both incredibly motivated… and at the end of the day, we both love what we do. We each feel lucky to be able to pursue our passion for photography with our closest friend. What more could we ask for?