Today we’d like to introduce you to Grace Jicha.
Grace, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
Art is something I’ve loved since I was young, and creativity is in my DNA. I grew up appreciating imagery and words and dreaming of becoming an author and an illustrator. English and literature was always my favorite subject, and I picked up a camera when I was around eight years old for the first time. Throughout my younger years, I loved photography, but I never thought of it as a way to make money or start a business. It was something I simply enjoyed! I would bring my camera with me to events or out with friends just for fun until in 2016, I got my first paid gig. That’s when I started to realize I could make photography a business.
Things really took off when I moved to Florida in 2017 and began pursuing a Bachelor’s of Science degree in journalism at Southeastern University. I started to learn more about business, marketing and social media – and with that, photography became less of a hobby and more of a job. In my final semester of college, I was interning in social media at a non-profit while running my photography business full time and I am so thankful for the flexibility it has given me! I have the privilege of spending my weekends with couples as they celebrate their engagements and weddings – and I consider it my greatest honor to be there for those moments. I also totally cry happy tears at every wedding I shoot!
Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
Entrepreneurship in its early stages is often wearing a lot of different hats. Unlike a large corporation with multiple departments of people who specialize in different skill sets, entrepreneurs have to become a jack of all trades in the beginning. Learning the legal and financial side of running a business was challenging, but as my business has grown, I’ve been able to hire the pros to really help in those areas!
I also really kickstarted my business within the year of COVID and spent that summer forced into full-time freelance work due to being unemployed. My first months of fully booked weddings were taken away from me, but more importantly, they were taken from my couples – and I had to stay afloat as a business while also doing my best to accommodate my couples during such a tough time. Freelancing full-time during that summer showed me that I really COULD do this if I gave myself the time and space, and it was a huge growing and learning period for me. It also reminded me that one of the biggest perks about running a business is that I’m the boss – and I had the opportunity to extend generosity to my couples during a tough time through waiving rescheduling fees.
Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
My elevator pitch is: “I give carefree couples a personalized and stress-free wedding experience and create untraditional, candid and artistic imagery in a photojournalistic style.” Weddings are my jam and I absolutely love everything about them! From the fast-paced style of the day to decision making on the fly and always being on my toes, it’s what really lights a fire underneath me. I am a big believer in experience over everything, and my number one goal always has been to serve my clients well. To go the extra mile to make not only my couples but the people and family around them feel special on the big day. My photography style is unposed and candid because I believe that people look their best when they are genuinely enjoying each moment of their day. My philosophy is prompting my couples into authentic emotion then creating a more artistic image using light and composition. I always want my wedding images to stand out not only aesthetically but in the way they make people feel as they look back through their gallery.
I’ve also been in the photography business education space for just over a year now offering one-on-one coaching, live training sessions, digital products for wedding pros and weekly free education on my social media and blog. I love helping young businesses grow through tangible instruction and cheering them on!
Can you talk about how you think about risk?
I’m not a big risk-taker, but starting a business, in general, is a bit of a risk. You don’t know the best business practices or how to provide a great client experience. You figure things out along the way and learn as you go. I think well-thought-out risks can bring such great rewards. You never know if an idea will take off if you never try! One of the biggest leaps I’m taking is going full-time in May as a 22-year-old fresh college grad. I feel confident in my decision and excited for what is to come!
- Local weddings start at $2700
- Couples sessions start at $275
- Email: email@example.com
- Website: gracejicha.com
- Instagram: instagram.com/gracejichaphoto
- Facebook: facebook.com/gracejichaa
Images are all by Grace Jicha Creative LLC