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Check Out Greg Hernandez’s Story

Hi Greg, thanks for joining us today. We’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
Photography has always been a part of my life. My father, among many other interesting things, was a photographer and so was my step-father, so as children, my siblings and I always had a camera in our faces. VMP started out as a school project in high school in Miami. At first, it was just a cool name and logo for school film projects and creative ideas. And I didn’t do much with it. I met my wife while working for the theme parks in college, and in fairytale fashion, I followed her home to the mid-west. In my first few months there, I couldn’t find a job, so I started doing local photoshoots for some extra money and shortly afterward got hired part-time by a local portrait studio. After we got married, we decided to move back to Florida to start our lives. I was able to get a job working theme park photography (Disney’s Photopass) with Disney and spent the next few years working in different photography departments with Disney, including sports, Disney Events, and Fairytale Weddings. Throughout, I was still working on the VMP Photography brand and doing shoots and weddings on the side. In 2014, the time and pressure of two opposite Disney schedules and two small children were becoming difficult, so I walked away from Disney, and that’s when VMP Photography became my full-time job. We’ve been going strong ever since. Over the years, we’ve been able to build a great business. My wife, Maria, has become my business partner as well as my second shooter, and we’ve created a network of friends, clients, and colleagues that has made this the best job in the world.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back, would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
When I first left Disney in 2014, it was terrifying. I didn’t have a full schedule of shoots lined up and we didn’t have very much savings, so being determined to figure that out along the way. That was the first one, and there have been plenty along the way. In 2015 I had my first major hard drive crash and lost some data so that’s how I discovered how important redundant backups were. In 2016 on a shoot in San Francisco, my flight had been delayed, so I didn’t have time to go to my hotel drop of my things before heading to a meeting. When I got out of the meeting, my rental car had been broken into and all of my gear (as well as my clothes) had been stolen. I didn’t have the right insurance at the time so that was a really costly mistake. I had to borrow gear from a local photographer, who was also a close friend to get my shoots done for that trip. There have been lots of hurdles and many pitfalls, but even still, the good and positive experiences vastly outweigh the bad ones. I’ve learned a lot along the way and try to pay it forward to others who are learning and starting their own businesses.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
The most important part of our business model is building relationships with our clients, with our partners, with everyone that we have the pleasure of associating with. The goal is for that connection to translate into our work and our art. If we’re shooting portraits or weddings or babies or actor headshots or live music or whatever it is, it’s important for us to make it personal. I think that the level of intimacy and personality present in our work comes from really making an effort to connect with what we do. If you talk with our wedding clients, I think they’ll agree. As photographers, we get to be there with the entire family, and we had the opportunity to become part of the family. We can make the guests and the wedding party forget that we’re working and the photos we take are natural and organic and real and people really connect with that. The method and style aren’t for everyone and we understand that, but it works really well for us and our clients seem to really appreciate it.

So maybe we end on discussing what matters most to you and why?
I think that what matters the most is to be really honest with what we do. I’m not talking about photoshop or image manipulation because those things are part of the job and they have their place in the art and in the market. What I’m saying is that we want to help people look and feel their very best and have a great experience when working with us. We want them to continue to work with us in the future. So we try to build a positive working relationship where we exceed expectations and deliver a quality product. Whether it’s weddings, or Portraiture or Entertainment and press photos, the thing that we always try to accomplish is to produce is an honest and high quality representation of our clients and our work.

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Image Credits
VMP Photography

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1 Comment

  1. Robert Wayne Blanton

    December 3, 2020 at 12:45 am

    Hi! Thanks for sharing. I have always admired you and your professionalism. And now I admire you and your wonderful family. We may not agree on everything, but I have always looked at people for their character, and that is something you have plenty of. That–and card tricks!

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