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

Author: | Filed under: personal, tuesdays with eli | Tags: , , , ,

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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Our Wedding Video!! – St. Thomas, Virgin Islands

Posted: October 24th, 2010 | 7 Comments »

When Leslie and I came back from our wedding in the Virgin Islands we were so crazy anxious to see our photos and video; we knew that our guys Collin Hughes, Matt Brue, and Spencer Combs had a real challenge on their hands with the weather. What should have been a super easy, beautiful beach wedding… turned out to be a monsoon on an island, haha. But we still couldn’t wait to see em’ and expected very rainy wedding video/photos. Of course would have loved it all the same, because it was our wedding, no matter how much rain there was it was beautiful to us….. However, when Matt sent us the trailer to our video, Leslie and I were completely blown away!!! I dimmed the lights, cranked up the volume on my computer, and Leslie sat in my lap. We waited for the video to fully download and then pressed play. From the very first frame, our jaws were on the floor.  We must have watched it like 50 times that night!!! I can honestly say that I am still in shock, can’t believe that he captured our wedding with such detail and made us feel like we were reliving the day. I really can’t explain how Matt made this happen, all I know is if you need a wedding video, he’s your man!

Eli + Leslie // St. Thomas, VI from capture studios on Vimeo.

After our mind was completely blown by the video, then the photos started rolling in. Leslie and I were THRILLED!! Can’t tell you guys how happy we were to have picked photographers that we were comfortable with. My only advice that I have for new brides-to-be out there is to find the photographer that matches you. There are lots of super talented photographers out there. I personally know several, but the best decision that we made for our wedding was picking a photographer(s) that we had fun with. They made us feel at ease and worked their butts off the whole time. I have tons of respect for all of my brides and I promise to give you my all on your wedding day. I want you to feel the same way that Leslie and I did on ours. I vow to do everything I can to make your photos beautiful and unforgettable. We have so many photos that we absolutely love, but here are just a couple for you guys!! Enjoy! Don’t I have a beautiful bride?!

St. Thomas Sunset

Silhouette Kiss at Sunset
Leslie getting ready
Eli writing vows
Virgin Islands Teal Water
Eli in wedding suit
Eli Murray Destination Wedding Photos
Leslie Murray Wedding
sugar bay resort wedding venue
Wyndham Sugar Bay Resort Wedding

Eli Murray Destination Wedding
Eli and Leslie Wedding Day
Palm Trees
St. Thomas Destination Wedding
Eli and Leslie Wedding Photos

Author: | Filed under: personal, weddings | Tags: , , , , ,

To Grandma's House We Go

Posted: February 12th, 2010 | 1 Comment »

So last weekend Leslie and I made the trip up to Nashville, TN to visit her Grandparents and have a birthday dinner for her older sister. Buford and Nell are will have been married for 60 years in July and have lived happily in there home for the last 37. While I was there Nell was determined to make sure that I left her home stuffed. I piled my plate full of some wonderful southern home cooking, but she still wanted to make sure that I had all that I could eat and then some, haha. Nell & Buford are wonderful host’s and I’m already looking forward to our next visit!  Also, I can check off #18 from my goals of 2010. I tried a southern red beet for the first time…”different.”

After dinner, we decided to go outside and grab a couple shots out in the snow. Enjoy the photos!

Brick Home

Brick Home

Kissing Grandparents

Kissing Grandparents

Grandparent Portrait

Grandparent Portrait

Backyard Snow

Backyard Snow

Author: | Filed under: families, personal, portraits | Tags: , ,

Tuesday's with Eli – Roadtrips

Posted: February 9th, 2010 | 1 Comment »

I have always loved road trips.  For one thing I do some of my best thinking on the road. All the distractions of the “day to day life” are taken away when you only have one simple task to do…Drive. Because I had dated Leslie for 3 years long distance, I got pretty used to long drives. I really only need a couple things to make me happy on a road trip: Plain sunflower seeds, bottle water, possibly a Rockstar Energy drink, and if it’s a really long drive… an audio book. These simple things make all the difference to me if I’m driving by myself. However, if I have a driving partner, that is something else. This weekend Leslie and I took a roadtrip to Nashville, Tennessee, her hometown. We we going there for her sister’s birthday dinner at her grandparent’ house. The weather was really nice the whole weekend, just a bit chilly, but made for a super pretty drive most the way. I was major excited to listen to my new audiobook “Never Eat Alone” by Keith Ferrazzi, and the 11 hour drive was a perfect fit. I’m glad Leslie didn’t mind either. As long as the narrator has a non-annoying voice we’re good, haha. It was a good book, I definitely recommend it to anyone wanting to get a little better at networking, and not in an artificial way, but in a genuine making friends and lasting connections kinda way. My friend Geoff Duncan recommended it to me, and I’m sure glad he did. Now I say pay it forward!

Here’s a quick little photos Leslie grabbed on the drive. Have a great week!

Eli

Road Trip Sunset

Road Trip Sunset

Author: | Filed under: personal, tuesdays with eli | Tags: , , ,

Tuesdays with Eli – Fun in the Snow!

Posted: February 2nd, 2010 | 5 Comments »

Yesterday I blogged about the engagement portraits I took of Danielle & Jordan on Saturday. I told you guys that if they didn’t want to get out because of the weather, I was gonna be stupid and get out anyways just to shoot some portraits of Leslie & I in the snow. But because Danielle & Jordan were such awesome sports, they wanted to shoot their engagements, plus shoot some of Leslie and I too. I have to say, I really liked the idea because shooting my own portraits with a tripod and remote is not the easiest thing to do. I was a little reluctant at first though, I didn’t want to make my clients work for me, haha, but Leslie didn’t mind. She always wants great shots of the two of us. She thinks that we don’t have enough photos together because I’m always behind the camera.  So, after I did some photos of Danielle and Jordan, I showed them some of the basics on working my camera and they were ready to go! After I looked at a few of their photos, I was shocked. I better watch out, because Danielle & Jordan may be the next dream team photographers to take my job. Leslie was ecstatic, she couldn’t stop talking about how great the photos were. It was a lot of fun shooting in the snowy environment, but it sure was different letting my clients photograph me.
So there you go, my second “Tuesday’s with Eli” post and I’m already getting my clients to shoot for me, haha. Stick around, who knows what what craziness I’ll have next week.

These first few I shot of Leslie before we met up with Danielle & Jordan.

Arkansas Portrait Photographer

Arkansas Portrait Photographer

Arkansas snow portraits

Arkansas snow portraits

Eli Murray

Eli Murray

Couple Portraits

Couple Portraits

Snow Portraits

Snow Portraits

Happy couple

Happy couple

elimurray photography

elimurray photography

Seriously aren’t these great. Leave Danielle & Jordan some love and let them know what you think of their skills.

Author: | Filed under: personal, portraits, tuesdays with eli | Tags: , ,

My Proposal Story….(the way I remember it)

Posted: January 12th, 2010 | 7 Comments »

This blog is just a bit overdue. I proposed to Leslie Harding, my girlfriend of three years on December 16, 2009. Here is our story.

I guess before I take you right to the proposal night, I’ll give you a little history of about us. December 16th 2006, I was hired to shoot Brad & Rachel Bate’s wedding. I had zero connections with Rachel before I met her, after that night, things changed. Rachel and Brad are both from Arkansas, however not all of their wedding party was. They both attended Harding University in Searcy where Rachel met and became suite-mates with Leslie. Leslie was born in Texas, raised in Nashville Tennessee and only choose Harding because of the name. Just kidding. I think she decided to go to Harding because it’s a great school, either way…I’m sure glad that she did, because if she had gone anywhere else we may have never met each other. Leslie and Rachel were suite-mates for one year, and I guess they hit it off pretty good because when Rachel decided to get married in December, she asked Leslie if she would be a brides maid in her wedding. The story gets better I promise, and like I said I’m sure glad certain things happened the way they did.

So, December 16, 2006 my best friend and I were gearing up for what I thought was just another wedding. The day started off fairly normal, bridal prep, ceremony, formal pictures, and then the reception… this is when the night got a little different for me.  Now when Leslie tells you the story, it started with the rehearsal. She spotted me the day before and in her words “had her eye on me”.  Not to say that I didn’t even see her, but I wasn’t exactly there to pick up chicks. Haha. Those who know my fiance’ know she is a go-getter, and once again. I’m sure glad she is, because if she didn’t take the initiative that night to let me know she was interested, then I may have not written this blog post. Long story short, as the reception went on, Leslie and I talked in between shots. I gave her my number and it went from there. We dated long distance for two and a half years. While she lived in Nashville, then Memphis, and now here in Little Rock.

Proposal night: December 16, 2009 the date we first met 3 years ago. This took a little bit of sly workings because Leslie somehow always seems to know when I’m up to something. I did have help too. My friend Geoff Duncan drove up to take the photos and help with lighting the candles. Flynn Smith who worked inside the Pavilion in the Park helped me get in after hours and let me move some things around for the set up. Brad and Rachel had their reception here in the Pavilion in the Park, so I figured that would be a great place to do it. Geoff and I started setting up the candles and rose pedals while Leslie was still working. After she got off, I left to go pick her up. I told her I wanted to take her out to eat for our “anniversary” but first stop by “our place” for nostalgia and I also told her there was a geocache hidden there and we could try to find that. I planted a geocache with a fake ring, a love note, and a photo of us. After she found it and she was still in a state of confusion I brought her inside where the flowers and candles were ready.  I did my thing and she said Yes of course!

We did a quick little photo shoot with Geoff, and then joined my entire family and some close friends who were waiting for us at dinner. Funny thing was, they thought I was throwing Leslie a surprise birthday party. Haha, so it was a very surprising evening. I guess that’s the way I roll when I propose.  Thanks everyone for reading all of this. Enjoy the photos! Sorry ladies I’m off the market.   -Leslie, I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life with you. I love you, Eli.

Candles and Roses

Candles and Roses

Real Proposal

Real Proposal

She said yes

She said yes

Little Rock Proposal

Little Rock Proposal

Engagement Ring

Engagement Ring

Kiss

Kiss

Author: | Filed under: engagements, personal, portraits | Tags: , ,