Hi there! We're Luke and Cat, and we're so happy you're here. We hope you'll stay a while! We’re a husband and wife wedding photographer team based in Houston, Texas. Ranchers-turned-photographers, our world is our Craftsman-style farmhouse, coffee in the kitchen, Edison lights on the back porch, and a pair of English bulldogs who are the stars in our sky. Read more...

The Secret Ingredient

May 1, 2015 / For Photographers

If you've ever been to a church potluck supper, you know two things: 1) there is some mighty fine cookin' to be had and 2) there is an undercurrent of fierce competition.  About three years ago, we attended our first potluck at our new church.  We proudly brought a Sugar Cream Pie, the official pie of Luke's home state of Indiana, hoping to impress our new church family.  Little did we know that we'd just brought a butter knife to a gun fight!

You see, Miss Janie, the reigning pie queen, makes a chocolate pie that is so amazing, it wins the annual pie contest every year; so coveted, it fetched $155 at the last bake sale; so incredible, everyone knows you don't even think about getting a plate of ham, potato salad and baked beans until you've stood in line for, and set aside, a slice of her pie.

Rich and creamy and light all at the same time, this chocolate pie had a haunting taste. What was the secret ingredient? Luke had to know. He begged Miss Janie for the recipe. At first, she was reluctant to give it out (that extra special ingredient needed to remain a secret, especially in our conservative community!), but Luke assured her that he would respect the recipe and only make it at home. No longer able to resist Luke's charms (who can?), and certain that she would be free of a potluck copycat, Miss Janie shared the recipe.

Luke set to work, making it his mission to replicate Miss Janie's pie.  He followed the directions to the letter, measuring each cup, tablespoon and teaspoon exactly.  And that darn pie wouldn't set.  It tasted great, but had the consistency of a thick soup.  After several failed attempts, Luke went to Miss Janie for more advice.  Come to find out, she doesn't measure her tablespoons of flour precisely; she uses heaping tablespoons.  Luke should have been nearly doubling the amount of flour he was putting in that pie!

Now that he knows exactly what to do, will his chocolate pie be just like Miss Janie's?  Probably not.  Will Miss Janie be worse off because someone knows how to duplicate her recipe?  No again.  Martha Stewart or Ina Garten do not suffer because they went on television and gave away all of their secrets -- au contraire!  Their empires have flourished precisely because they shared their best techniques and recipes.

You see, recipes are just a blueprint.  They are a starting point.  The skill, experience, and special touch of the cook, count for more than the formula.  Which brings us to photography….

Should photographers share their tips, ideas and techniques? Or should they guard them carefully like a secret family recipe? 

Many people in our industry seem to come at this question from a place of scarcity: "I make my living from these ideas, and I can't afford to give them away to my competition!  What if they steal all of my business?" 

A quick Google search revealed that 2.3 million couples wed every year in the United States. That breaks down to nearly 6,200 weddings a day.  Let's say there are 50,000 US-based wedding photographers--this would mean that each photographer gets to shoot 46 weddings per year.  We only choose to shoot 15 weddings per year, so somebody already has extras! 



The Take Aways:


  • Givers Gain: We seek to learn from others, so shouldn’t we help others learn too? We don't just feel honored, we feel duty-bound to share our knowledge and experience because other pros once shared with us. Yes, we've grown as a result of their teachings. But guess what? So have they! We maintain strong relationships with our early mentors to this day, and now, we even partner with them on certain business ventures.

  • Collaboration, Not Competition: The more goodwill you share in your community, the more powerful both you and the community will be. When photographers work in a spirit of collaboration rather than competition, everyone wins. We can all up our respective games, attract more business, and yes, charge more. Plus, we'd rather be respected as generous, giving photographers than be known as stingy, secretive ones.

  • I'll Have What She's Having: When people eat one slice of Miss Janie's famous chocolate pie, they clamor for more. It probably costs her only $5-6 to make a pie, yet people are willing to pay $155 just to take one home! She developed the recipe, she did the work, and she put it out there for people to enjoy. Is chocolate pie original? No. But is her chocolate pie special? Oh, yeah. Let's face it folks--there is nothing original about the nuts and bolts of our profession. A photographer’s real value comes down to one thing:

  • You're the Secret Ingredient: There is only one Martha, one Ina, one Miss Janie, and one Luke and Cat (well, technically, there are two of us, but you know what we mean!) The secret ingredient in your business is you. We can all use the same equipment, the same editing software, the same processing companies, but your photos won't look like ours, and ours won't look like yours. Now, isn’t that delicious?

Lovely Meringues & Chocolate Pies,

Luke & Cat

View Comments
Sharing is the Best!
We love your comments! We thoroughly enjoy reading what people have to say. So join our community and chime in by adding your comment below.

George Ranch Wedding: Audrey and Philip

Apr 30, 2015 / Weddings

A cold and rainy day didn't hold any of us back from a fantastic wedding celebration for Audrey and Phillip at the historic George Ranch in Richmond. This wedding utilized the many different buildings and areas of George Ranch, with the evening culminating in the dance hall with so much fun dancing to the musical stylings of The Royal Dukes. Audrey and Philip, thank you for letting us share in your day! 

Long Bouquets & Chinchilla Shrugs,

Luke & Cat 

Canon 5D Mark III / Canon 24-70 mm 2.8 / Canon 50 mm 1.2 / Canon 85 mm 1.2
Canon 70-200 mm 2.8 / Canon 100 mm 2.8 Macro / Canon Speedlight 580EXII
Download Our Gear List • Sign Up To Receive our Free Newsletter For Photographers

View Comments
Sharing is the Best!
We love your comments! We thoroughly enjoy reading what people have to say. So join our community and chime in by adding your comment below.

Home Sweet Hot

Apr 28, 2015 / Our Life

Sunday night we were working on our weekly routine of church, lunch with our family afterwards, then home to change in to our comfy clothes before heading over to our friends' house for our Sunday afternoon tradition of playing the marble game and watching Game of Thrones.

After a wonderful evening with our friends, we were turning out of our friends' driveway when my phone alerted me that I'd received a message from our neighbor who lives across the street. As I read her words, a nervous ball formed in the pit of my stomach:

"Do y'all have power? We don't."

As we turned right into our own driveway, I could tell by the looks of our house that we didn't have power. When we unlocked the door to go inside, the stuffy, dark, un-airconditioned world of our house with no electricity greeted us.

After reporting the outage we decided to make the best of it and just try to go to sleep. As I laid my head on the pillow, I thought about the comforts of my normal sleeping environment that I have taken for granted:  the ceiling fan above our bed with the annoying rattle we can't quite find out how to stop, the air conditioner set on a chilly 67°, my own personal fan on my side of the bed. If you haven't followed the clues, we like to sleep cold.

I had a plan to help stay cool. Of course, we would be sleeping on top of the covers. I was trying to stay as still as possible as to not move around and get hot. I was saving the 'cool side' of my pillow for the exact moment where I'd become too hot to continue.

But if I'm being honest, I was hot and miserable.

I tried to remind myself of the hotel we stayed in last fall in Indianapolis with a faulty air conditioner. As if I were giving a pep talk to myself, I thought, "That room was warmer than this, and you made it all night." If I could only go to sleep, when I woke up, surely the power would be back on.

Around 1:15 AM, I opened my eyes to the cool blue glow of the DoTerra oil diffuser that's on Luke's nightstand. First thing I thought was... AIR CONDITIONING! It had only gotten warmer since I'd managed to fall asleep. On cue, Luke jumped out of bed and went to turn the AC on as well as turn off a few lights we didn't even realize we'd left on.

As he crawled into bed, I giddily said, "I'm so glad it's going to cool off in here. It's like a sauna! What did the thermostat say it had gotten up to in here?"

He dryly answered: 71 degrees. 

Did I mention I have a tendency to over react?

Lights Are On & Crisis Is Averted,

Luke & Cat


View Comments
Sharing is the Best!
We love your comments! We thoroughly enjoy reading what people have to say. So join our community and chime in by adding your comment below.
1 of 113Next Page