Self-Employment ~ Our Story & Changes ~ Chicago Wedding Photographers

We’re feeling pretty legit around these parts – because we’re officially a two desk office now! That’s right! You heard me!    TWO!!   DESKS!



It has been an interesting transition over the years from CTP basically being MY business, to CTP being OUR business… and I couldn’t be happier with the change!

People often ask us how we ended up working together, and what each of us do within the business – and it is kind of a long story if we really get into it – but I’ll do my best to summarize…. (**edited to add after writing this – Clearly I’m terrible at summarizing! haha! But I did my best. At the very least – here is our business story of how we became a husband/wife photography duo running our own business together.)

To start, when James and I first met he managed a camera store in the city, and I was in photography school. I had the artistic vision and knowledge of how to use all my gear, and he had the technical knowledge of all the gear that I was kind of clueless about. I graduated from school and continued to work full-time at the law firm while building my photography business up (which most of you are aware of), and he continued to work at the camera store.

I photographed my first 2 years of weddings by myself (2008 and 2009), and at the tail end of 2009 – 6 months into our marriage – James was laid off from the camera store (thanks to that fabulous recession). He looked for work for quite a while without luck anywhere. (In retrospect – it really was the best thing for our marriage and us to go through those difficulties together, and for James personally because that meant he finally got to complete his dream of going back to finish his college degree!) So James started taking classes at a local city college (because that stuff is expensive when you pay for it yourself people!), and in December 2010 I finally decided to bring James along to shoot with me since I needed some help on wedding days. He already had knowledge of all the gear… I taught him what I knew, rented him a camera, and brought him along (free of charge) to the next 5 or so weddings to get his feet wet and see if this was something he would want to do with me regularly.

I’d say things went pretty great (I was actually a little bothered he was catching some moments I didn’t even see and wondering why I didn’t take the photo myself – haha)… and so I started to have him as an option to “add on” to our wedding packages for 2011 weddings. Then I realized I liked having him there with me so much that I didn’t want to shoot without him anymore and shortly after included him in all of our wedding packages. Best. Decision. Ever.

In September 2011 I quit my job at the law firm and the two of us took this crazy venture full-time together officially. (Scary!!! And AWESOME!!) And over the course of time between then and now – James and I have been working out how we want this business and our life to look. For the most part up until now, James has been the behind the scenes guy because we plan to keep the business “Christy Tyler Photography” and both like it that way. James still goes to school full-time during winters and part-time during busy season, shoots every wedding with me, and on top of that he handles all the “life” stuff (i.e. grocery shopping, cleaning, laundry, car upkeep, errands for the business, Chloe wrangling, keeping me sane, etc). While I handle all the other shoots (& weddings, of course), the official business stuff (accounting, marketing, social media, email correspondence, blog posts, editing, etc), and some house stuff (dishes/vacuuming/occasional cleaning). 🙂

That has worked well for us most of the time – but lately I had been finding I wanted to integrate him more into the day-to-day business stuff… but it was hard to do because he didn’t have anywhere to really call his office, or even have a desk – for that matter. He had a floating desk that found its home anywhere from the dining room table to the kitchen counter – and it just wasn’t cutting it anymore.

So we’re excited that we managed to find the perfect desk to fit in our little office/guest bedroom so that he can feel more a part of the business side of things – and not just the life side of things!!

I cannot even begin to tell you how excited I am with the direction this business has taken and that I get to do it with James by my side every single day. It kind of blows my mind most of the time, actually…. since we never really officially planned any of it. It just kind of happened through a series of events over the years. I forget that other people get up super early, get ready, commute to a job away from their spouse/family, and come home at night…. spending more time with their co-workers than their spouse many times! We are so blessed to get to do this together – and equally blessed that we have managed to not kill each other yet. haha!! (I mean, we are together almost 24/7!)

Seriously though… Ironic enough – I was SO STOKED about James getting this desk and moving into the office officially and then within an hour of having it up we were at each other’s throats. Let’s just say Tuesday wasn’t the best day around the Tyler house … haha! 😉 But if there’s one thing we’ve learned through the years and through the seemingly 1 million changes we’ve been through… It’s that changes take time to adjust to, and that each day you roll with the punches, adjust, communicate, and most importantly respect & love one another – and the rest will work itself out.

So here we are – business partners, life partners, dog parents, and now office-mates! AH!! 😉



(Chloe sleeping on the job again, and James looking oh-so-official & excited! haha!)



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Christy & James are Chicago based but happily travel anywhere in the world that beautiful love stories take them!