Eli's Photography Blog

Shotguns to Surfboards…We’re moving to California!

Posted: October 16th, 2012 | 5 Comments »

California Sunset

October is a pretty special month for Leslie and I. This year on the 5th, we celebrated our 2 year wedding anniversary! It’s really hard to believe that it’s been two years already since we’ve been married. It is true what they say, time flies when your having fun! These two years with my bride have been a blast, of course there have been some tough times as well. I have poured my entire energy into my company and had to learn very quickly what my priorities are and why I was working so hard. October also marks my 3rd full year in business. I know that I am still very young with my business and I have many more goals I would like to achieve, but I am very proud to say that I have made it this far. Leslie has been an amazing partner and support system the entire time. I can honestly say that without her I’m not sure I would still have the same zeal and love for weddings that I’ve had from day one. I absolutely love what I do and cannot imagine doing anything other than photographing weddings. Leslie probably never thought that she would have become such a huge part of our business and now I know that together we make a great team. For that I am extremely thankful and feel very blessed.  We are both so appreciative and fortunate that we have been able to be a part of so many wonderful couples lives. More and more we are seeing how extremely important the role is that we play, as wedding photographers.

For the last 3 years I have operated a successful wedding photography business in Little Rock, pouring all of my time, energy, thoughts, and heart into building a brand with an excellent reputation. Together Leslie and I are now beginning to see the rewards of that hard work. My name as a wedding photographer in Arkansas is known. We have spent lots of advertising dollars in various ways so that our name would be seen and that the many other successful vendors and amazing people in the Central Arkansas would have a chance to see that we intend to stick around and be a big part of this wonderful industry. And now after 3 years, I’m so glad that we did spend the money, but we now see more than ever how important word of mouth is. At least 60% of our brides have been referrals from another past bride or another photographer that has spoken highly of us. This is such a huge compliment to us, nothing lets us know that we are doing are job better than a bride that is so happy with her wedding photos that she is excited and proud to tell all her friends who her wedding photographer was. And for this, Leslie and I want to say thank you once again to all of our amazing couples that have allowed us into their lives. And thank you to every single photographer, friend, and family member who has ever referred a couple to us. We truly would not be where we are today without that support from so many people.

So I guess I should get back to the title of my blog now and let everyone in on our big news. Yes, we are moving to Southern California the first of the year!!

You’re probably thinking why? Why after 3 years of pouring everything into a business that is now just beginning to take off would you relocate to another area and start all over again? Well here’s the short answer … I like a challenge. And now I have someone who will stand next to me and give me the courage I once lacked. The long answer is this:

Leslie and I will continue working under the brand that we have built, Eli Murray Weddings. We will still be working in Little Rock and all of Arkansas. This is still where our family is and still an area that we love. In fact a better term for what we are actually doing is expanding to California, stretching our legs a bit. California is just one stop in our journey through this life together. We may love it and stick around for a long while, or try a new state after learning to surf and trying all the taco choices at Taco Asylum. The truth is, in this mobile/digital day-and-age, business can operate from just about anywhere in the world. Almost all communication is email, text, phone, or Skype now. Of course there are some times which we would need to see our clients face to face, like for engagements, bridal portraits, and the wedding day, haha. The good news is, we will still be maintaining our clients here in Arkansas. As of right now, we have eight weddings on the books in Arkansas for 2013. This means that we will be flying back early and staying a little bit to visit with family and friends for those dates. We still welcome new clients and past clients for meetings or sessions when we are in town. And we will continue to book weddings in Arkansas, as long as our calendar allows. Most of all, we want everyone to know that we are just a plane flight away. So to finish up our 2012 wedding season here in Arkansas we still have a few more weddings and portrait sessions on the books, lots of packing, switching accounts, and all the fun stuff that comes along with moving. I know that new scenery is always good for a visual artist. I know that we will continue to grow as photographers and bring that new excitement to every shoot and wedding that we do. So after our last wedding for the year on December 29th, Leslie and I will be loading the Penske truck and getting on the road to Southern California. We are so excited to be able to tell everyone the news! We welcome any questions that you guys may have. Please leave us some love and wish us luck. Of course doing anything different is a little scary and will definitely be difficult, but we know that with God by our side, lots of hard work, and the continued support from so many, we’ll be just fine. We also want everyone to know that after the new year, if any of our Arkansas friends are ever in So Cal, please let us know. We would love to meet up and show you our new town!

-Eli and Leslie

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WPPI – Epic West Coast Road Trip 2012

Posted: February 9th, 2012 | No Comments »

Today Leslie and I are leaving, headed out for our second annual 2 week Epic Road trip to the west coast. I’m not saying we are going to make a habit of this, but you may remember last years trip. This time we are going with two of our friends. Four photographers packed into a Prius with 4,000 miles of driving ahead of them. Our journey will take us to the Grand Canyon for two days. Then off to the coast. First in Laguna Beach, California for a couple more days, then up the Pacific Coast Highway to San Francisco, where we will stay in “Japan Town”. After a few days in San Fran we head to Las Vegas, Nevada for the largest convention for Wedding Photographers in the United States,  WPPI.  For the next two weeks we will be shooting, driving, blogging, tweeting, facebooking, eating, and some very little sleeping. Sometimes all at the same time, haha, but also soaking in the wonderfully beautiful country as we travel from one location to the next.

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Tuesdays with Eli – Laguna Beach California

Posted: May 31st, 2011 | No Comments »

Here are just a few more of my favorite photos from Leslie and I’s trip to Southern California. These photos were all taken in the city of Laguna Beach. Enjoy!

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Happy Mother's Day!

Posted: May 8th, 2011 | 1 Comment »

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Ashley + Stephen – Southern Engagement Portraits

Posted: May 5th, 2011 | No Comments »

Ashley and Stephen are two of the sweetest people I have ever photographed. I absolutely cannot wait for their wedding in September! Leslie and I had such a good time taking their engagement photos around the southern backroads of Arkansas. Ashley has lived in this area her whole life and so she was very comfortable in this environment. Stephen being from Louisiana, I thought the swamps were pretty fitting for their backdrop. Congrats you guys! Enjoy!

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Tuesdays with Eli – Laguna Beach, CA

Posted: May 3rd, 2011 | 1 Comment »

Okay, so I know that I’ve missed a few Tuesdays with Eli’s, but I’m trying to get back on track and I’ve got some catching up to do. Here’s a couple of my favorite photos from Leslie and I’s “Epic West Coast Road Trip” we took back in February. Laguna Beach is probably one of our favorite places to visit. We loved it here. The beaches here are amazing, the weather is fantastic (even in February), and the whole town in filled with art and creatives. Definitely a location I wouldn’t mind working in… Let me know if any of you Arkansas Brides want to plan a destination wedding and need a photographer who knows the area, haha. Enjoy!

Just an old couple that I saw walking the beach together. I thought it was cool the way they walking in unison. I hope this is what Leslie and I will someday resemble.

Just us, doing our thing.

I love this woman.

Leslie snapped this photo of some kid running on the beach. There was actually a playground right across the beach, what a cool area for a kid!

This is probably one of my favorite images. Not sure why, but I love this frame. From the looks of it, you may think that Laguna is retirement community, but there were lots of young professionals there. I guess this beach was just favored by the older crowd, haha.

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Tuesdays with Eli – Somewhere Near Palm Springs

Posted: April 26th, 2011 | 2 Comments »

So I know it’s cutting pretty close to the end of Tuesday, but with all these crazy weather warnings, my productivity has been interrupted. So with the last few minutes before Tuesday is over, I wanted to share a couple photos from Leslie and I’s “Epic West Coast Roadtrip”.
These were taken somewhere near Palm Springs California. It was really windy here. Enjoy!

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Epic West Coast Road Trip

Posted: February 2nd, 2011 | 3 Comments »

For the last couple months Leslie and I have been preparing for one crazy awesome two week road trip out West. Leslie and I are certainly not new to the idea of making long drives. We’ve both made our fair share of day trips behind the wheel. I think we’ve made enough tracks on the highway to earn the title “Road Warriors”. When we were  dating and living in separate states, if we wanted to see each other we  had to drive. I never really thought to much about it. I just knew that I wanted to see my girl, so I drove…..This drive though, is different. This road trip we make together, not to just get a chance to see each other, but to see each other in new exciting places. To grow together, laugh together, experience together, and spend a whole lot of time together in our little car, haha. Leslie knows that I have always had a love for the West. I’ve been dying to take her there since we first started dating.
The whole trip is a combination of lots of different stops. We’re taking two weeks to make this trip and I can tell you it will be non-stop action. We’ll leave from Little Rock February 12th. Our first stop is Albuquerque New Mexico, after that we’re headed strait for the coast. I will be meeting with a super cool couple that has booked me for their wedding in Temecula, California in May. We actually haven’t met each other in person yet, so I’m really excited to finally meet them both! While we’re there, we’ll shoot their engagement photos in Costa Mesa and Laguna Beach. We’ll spend a couple nights there before leaving for Palm Springs. There are so many amazing locations, I wish we could make them all, but we have to pick and choose.

After Palm Springs we are headed up I62 and stopping in Joshua Tree and Twentynine Palms. Taking photos along the way, we’ll make our way to Mohave Vally and then stay a few days with my brother. I visited him around this same time last year. I came to visit my brother and also attend WPPI, which will be Leslie and I’s next stop. WPPI is a huge convention for wedding and portrait photographers. It’s a pretty huge deal for lots of photographers. I know, last year I got a lot from it, so I made it my goal to make it again this year.  Our last stop, on the way back is gonna be the Grand Canyon. This is one of those things that I’ve always wanted to see and I feel extremely blessed to have the opportunity. I’m super excited about this trip, I can’t wait to share some images with you guys!

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”             -Mark Twain

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Tuesdays with Eli – Holiday Traditions

Posted: November 30th, 2010 | 1 Comment »

‘Tis the season! This is our first Christmas as a married couple together and we are excited. After having Thanksgiving dinner with my parents, grandma, and sister, Leslie and I decided that we wanted to start our own family tradition of picking out and cutting down our own tree. We made a trip to Motley’s Tree Farm for the day and this is what happened. Enjoy and Happy Holidays!!

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Tuesdays with Eli – Photobooths!

Posted: November 2nd, 2010 | No Comments »

Leslie and I decided to set up a photobooth at our reception last weekend. I have never done one of these before so I wasn’t sure what I was in for or what to expect. It tuned out to be one of my most favorite things that we did. I still need to perfect the set up, but I’m still super happy with all the funny photos we got from it! Maybe I’ll should start offering this with my wedding packages, huh? Here are just a few of my favorites, there were so many great ones! If you don’t see a photo that you took please check here. You can also download a copy of the images there.
Also huge thanks to the staff at Next Level Events! These guys were super awesome at our wedding reception, they took care of everything for us and had the best service!

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