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Augusta, Ga Newborn Photographer II Mary Beth’s Photography II Friday Introductions

November 13, 2020

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Happy Friday! It’s been awhile since I introduced myself around here and I thought today would be a good day for it. First things first, my name is Mary Beth Cooper and I am the owner of MaryBeth’s Photography. We’re going to fast forward through my childhood and get right to the good stuff! I went to and graduated from UCF (University of Central Florida) in Orlando with an Early Childhood Degree. As I’ve said before, I’m a lover of learning so I enjoyed my college experience.  It helps me with my business now because I still get to hang out with children and most importantly, it’s where I met my AMAZING husband. We met in between my junior and senior year, we were both on the President’s Leadership Council together. There were activities going on all the time that we could sign up to attend and help out with, so I very cleverly (or I thought I was clever) signed up for all the same events he did. I just wanted to be with him. Come to find out he had no idea what I was doing and just thought, “Cool, Mary Beth is here again.” Happy to report my strategy paid off because we dated for 3 years and then got married!❤️

We were both in education and he’s continued his career path and is currently a 6th grade teacher in Columbia County (can we take a moment to thank all the teachers right now for their tireless work, endless schedule changes, last minute difficulties, learning an entirely new way to teach in days and still finding ways to show up for our kids). I was also a teacher for 5 years out of college and I enjoyed it immensely. Then we had our first child and both my husband and I thought it was important for me to be with our kids. I always wanted to be a mom and was super excited when we made the decision to move up to North Augusta from Orlando. It was a move that gave us the ability for me to stay home with our kids. Every family has a way that works for them and we both knew me being home was what was going to work for us. There are a lot of sacrifices we made to make it work, but we wouldn’t change that decision as I loved being at home with them and it worked for our family.

We have 3 amazing, beautiful, kind, caring intelligent (ok, I’ll stop mom bragging on them now) children. Jackson, our oldest, is in college and he’s studying to be a worship minister at College in Charleston. Peyton, our middle, is a junior in high school and Brenna, the youngest is a freshman in high school. I cannot believe my youngest child is a freshman. I know everyone says this, but time really does fly when you’re having fun, so don’t blink! I am so proud of my kids and feel so lucky I was picked to be their mom. So for all you new moms, moms to be, moms with toddlers holding onto your leg and screaming they want more juice; try to enjoy it, or at least most of it. Because I promise you’ll miss that stage! This stage of motherhood looks different, but it’s just as magical and equally exhausting.❤️

Mary Beth’s Photography started 13 years ago. It kind of fell in my lap when a friend asked if I would take portraits of her 3 children for a surprise for her husband for Valentine’s Day. I had a great time with her kids! Someone in her husband’s office saw the portraits and asked about who their photographer was. My friend encouraged me to think about starting my own business and then my husband jumped right on board with the idea. Thinking back now, my dad started and owned 2 successful businesses so I guess in a way, entrepreneurship runs in my family (my sister also owns her own business). I have always been a dreamer! I jump in first and figure it out later. Which is a great thing and can also be not so great in some circumstances. But, I decided to take a class at Augusta University, went to a lot (I mean, a lot) of photography workshops and invested in a quality camera. I was on my way! And once I started, even through all the challenges (there were lots) and mistakes I made, I never stopped pushing. I had so much support from family and friends and I think that helped me keep going.❤️

In the beginning, I started with a home studio (that was previously our children’s play room) and did lots of portraits outdoors. Then when the business started taking off and really becoming more than a part time job, we took the plunge and built a studio on the back end of our home.  We upgraded my camera again and I attended lots of workshops and took online classes to continue my education (lifetime learner, remember?) and grow as a photographer. After a few more years, I took the leap of faith and opened my studio in a commercial space in downtown North Augusta. This was a very difficult decision and one I went back and forth with for awhile. It seemed like such a huge, somewhat scary, step for me as a professional photographer. My friends and family, especially my husband, were there encouraging me so again, I jumped! It turned about to be one of my most favorite times in my photography career. We were there for 4 years and absolutely loved it! There’s something very special about having an “office” to go to, the separation from family and career was much easier with the studio. But year 3 came and with rent increasing substantially, my husband and I decided to start looking for land to build our dream home and include a separate studio. It made finding land a little challenging because when you’re thinking about your business there are more factors to consider in having a great location. It had to be easy for clients to get to and a professional space my clients were accustomed to at my downtown location. Long story short, we found it! Easy access, beautiful and perfect for both family and business and major perk; it’s on a lake! Little side note; did you know creatives who live near the water are more creative? There’s actually a study on this and I am believer because it’s been true for me. So my commute to work is amazing and I have many gorgeous outdoor spots for portraits. We invested in us, our family and business, and we couldn’t be more happy. We’ve been in the house and studio for a year and half and it’s absolutely perfect for our family. And a major benefit we didn’t see coming was when the pandemic hit, we didn’t have rent to pay.

Now, for a lightning round with a few things about me.

– We have 3 dachshunds (one we got during quarantine, why not right?)
– I have a paisley as my logo because they are classic, beautiful and my favorite
– My favorite season, well seasons, are fall and winter
– I love to wear turtlenecks, another classic (and they’re always in style, even Megan Markle wears them so they have to be in style right?)
– I am a coffee LOVER! Ahh, that first sip is the best. And I really should look into owning stock in Starbucks.
– I love ALL things pumpkin spice (hence why fall is one of my favorite seasons)
– Dark Chocolate is something I simply cannot live without. The Dove chocolate squares are my favorite, probably because I love the quotes.
– Brings me to my next point, I love quotes! I used to love Readers Digest when I was younger for their quote page.
– I am a better baker than cook.
– I should also own stock in Chik-Fil-A because I’m a sweet tea addict (there, I admitted it, that’s the first step right?)
– My husband and I have been married 22 years, so fun! He has been my biggest supporter through this business adventure and I could NOT do this without him (both figuratively and literally because he makes a lot of props for me!)
– My photography style is best described as light and airy. No flashes happening with this girl. My studio is all white, big windows, lots of natural light. I love the way natural light looks and there’s no bulky equipment to haul around
– I absolutely love to teach photography classes. It probably comes from my years as an educator. Combining education and photography is exciting for me! And what’s the point in investing in a nicer camera if you don’t know how to use it!

And that’s my story of me, my family, my business. I am very fortunate to do something I love as a career, but we’ve also worked tirelessly, made sacrifices, gone through the challenges and learned a lot! One of the reasons I love entrepreneurship is you are constantly learning about your business. Whether it be about new photography tools, new editing software or more about business in general, I love to soak up the information! Being an entrepreneur is not easy, but most worthwhile things in life, aren’t easy. So I say if you’re passionate about something, jump in and figure it out later, I promise it will be worth it!

  1. Casey Szocinski says:

    I live a few houses up from you. Really enjoy looking at all your photographs, especially the babies.

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