Today we’d like to introduce you to Merrisa Court.
Merrisa, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
My interest in photography has always been there. As a little girl I’d constantly be taking pictures on disposable cameras of leaves, twigs, bugs and of the landscapes around me. When I was in high school I met my husband Nick. He bought me my first point and shoot camera, a Kodak, and I remember taking it everywhere I went. On trips with the marching band, family vacations, and just around the neighborhood, it wasn’t until I had this little camera that I began to explore with taking photos of people. My heart was very much still in-love with landscapes, and details of nature however.
So in my senior year of high school I decided to take a photography class. In that class we learned the science behind film cameras and the dark room, as well as editing for color and exposure. This class altered the path I thought I was going to take. At the time I was very interested in pursuing either music, writing, or meteorology as a career. I got into schools such as Endicott, UMass Amherst & Dartmouth, and The University of Maine Orono. But I chose to attend The New England Institute of Art in Brookline for Photography.
There I was able to learn the science behind digital photography and the many different options there were to making it a career for myself. In my last few semesters I felt like I learned the most. I learned how to operate Adobe Lightroom (which is a KEY component in my workflow) and the importance of different lenses, as well as always giving every project you are assigned 110%. I also took an event photography class where I got to see what it was like to photograph events, in particular, weddings. This class is what set this course for me. I instantly fell in-love!
After graduating in 2013 with my Bachelors of Science degree in Photography my husband and I moved back to the Cape. Unfortunately, I kind of left the camera in the closet and didn’t pursue it for a few years. I worked a dead end job and became very unhappy with where my life was. So I quit that job, got a better day job that allowed me to work on photography on the weekends and after work on the week days. I upgraded my equipment (that took my work to an all-new level) and was able to build a portfolio for more and more potential bookings. In 2017 I had to take 2 months off in September and October from my day job to work the 10 weddings I had accumulated! In 2 months I photographed 10 weddings! I couldn’t believe it! Was this even real?!
Everything was finally falling into place. When I went back to work in November I was happy I had a job I can rely on for a paycheck to pay all the bills in the winter. However, the Friday before Christmas, they let me go. I was devastated. I was there for almost 2 years, and I loved the work I was doing.
For Christmas, my husband got me a new camera, the Nikon D750. This camera took my work to an even higher level! I took losing my job, getting a new camera, and the start of a new year as a sign. I sat in my home office all winter and worked harder than I ever have worked before. Winter time is the slow season so I made sure I was constantly marketing, I rebranded my business, and I photographed anything I could get my hands on. I was posting every day on Instagram/Facebook, posting on Craigslist, and taking classes to better my knowledge on the business side of running Merrisa Caroline Photography.
So here I am today, working full time as a professional photographer and I couldn’t be any happier than I already am. Recently I was able to add my husband in as my second photographer as well as my head videographer. He’s been there every step of the way and I honestly couldn’t have done it without his support. Together we have 30 weddings this season and are so grateful for every one of them!
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
It has been a semi-bumpy road. I’d call it a dirt road with a few pot holes. I gained a bunch of weight while at college because I’m a stress eater and a perfectionist. I had to make sure my projects were going to achieve the best grades possible. Balancing a job and attending an art school full time was difficult financially. We had to take out a loan from school to help pay for rent and other bills so there’s a massive amount of school debt we have to deal with now. But I was able to lose the weight when I went back home after college, and I’m working my dream job now!
So let’s switch gears a bit and go into the Merrisa Caroline Photography story. Tell us more about the business.
I am a wedding, lifestyle, and portrait photographer. I specialize in documentary style photos. I call myself a fly on the wall or wedding ninja. I try to take the least obtrusive approach to photographing your wedding day. I like to tell it as it happening. Capturing real, raw emotions as well as details of the wedding day in ways others may not have seen it is my ultimate goal. Same for lifestyle and portrait sessions.
I am most proud of doing this with my husband. The husband and wife team just brings it to an all new level personally, and professionally. I can see that my couples can relate when Nick is there with me. It almost creates a more relaxed setting for everyone. Because I am 100% an introvert (wanna be extrovert) and it helps to have a familiar face with me.
Other than everything I said above, what sets me apart is how much I care. I’m not saying other photographers don’t care, it’s just when I get an inquiry or an email from a client, I feel like I NEED to respond immediately. I just want to be there whenever, wherever for my clients. So my immediate responses to pretty much everyone is what I’d day sets me apart other than the goal to capture things in ways people normally wouldn’t see them. You should see me when I can’t respond, stress ball!
Has luck played a meaningful role in your life and business?
I am lucky in the sense that my family has taken on a good chunk of my student loan debt. I am also lucky to have the support of my parents, siblings, husband, family, and friends. Taking on photography as a career is absurd to most but they’ve never doubted me, never questioned me, and has always supported me.
Bad luck, such as losing my day job right before Christmas was secretly a blessing in disguise. Because that happened, I was able to jump full time into doing photography “for real.” It was full steam ahead!
- Popular Wedding Photo Package (2018/2019): $3,600
- Popular Wedding Video Package (2018/2019): $1,700
- Lifestyle & Portrait Packages: $200-$400
- Address: 1146 Route 134
South Dennis, MA 02660
- Website: www.merrisacaroline.com
- Phone: 508-360-2810
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/merrisacarolinephotography/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/merrisacarolinephotography/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/merrisacaroline
- Yelp: https://www.yelp.com/biz/merrisa-caroline-photography-dennis
- Other: THE KNOT: https://www.theknot.com/marketplace/merrisa-caroline-photography-south-dennis-ma-1070307
- WEDDING WIRE: https://www.weddingwire.com/biz/merrisa-caroline-photography-south-dennis/cdd8b7674066a1f3.html
All photos have been captured by me, Merrisa of Merrisa Caroline Photography