Courtney Geist | Photographer + Videographer | Geist House Photo + Film
This month I’m introducing one of my favorite videographers in the industry, Courtney Geist with Geist House Photo + Film. Courtney is ridiculously skilled at her craft. What she touches literally turns to gold. I’ve had the pleasure of working with Courtney on a few styled photoshoots and she never ceases to amaze me.
At our most recent shootout, Courtney brought her drone for aerial footage and I cannot wait to see the final product.
Courtney has a lot to share with you so I’m going to keep this intro short and sweet.
Enjoy her story below.
Tell us about yourself – where are you from and what did you wish to be when you grew up?
Well, to start I’m Courtney Geist. I graduated in 2018 from Seton Hall University (Go Pirates!) where I received a degree in Graphic Design + Advertising. I pursued a career as an Art Director at a small advertising firm in New Jersey post-graduation until June of 2019. Since then, I’ve started my wedding photo and film company and have moved to my current location Menands, NY which is a small town just outside the state capital.
Growing up, I always knew I wanted to be an artist but just didn’t know what kind of artist I wanted to be. For a while though, I thought I wanted to be an actress. As a kid, I participated in theatre camps, auditioned for roles in school plays and I would watch movies and try to memorize the scenes so I could practice acting them out. It wasn’t until I got into my teen years that I realized that acting wasn’t really meant for me. Instead, I grew an appreciation for those who worked behind the camera and that’s kind of what kick started my love for photography and film.
What brought you to where you are today?
If we’re being completely honest here, I have to say it is because of my parents. My Mom and Dad have taught me everything I know and have instilled the work ethic, love, passion and dedication I needed to make my business what it is today and where it is going to be. They inspire me everyday with their overwhelming support and love they have for me to pursue my dreams. What do you do professionally?
I am the owner of my wedding film and photo company, Geist House Photo + Film and more recently, became a contract wedding videographer for Tolman Media. I also on occasion do some freelance graphic design work as well!
What is the number one struggle you find in owning and running your business?
I would say my biggest struggle has been finding a balance between my personal life and my business life. I am very passionate about what I do. There are some days where I spend 12+ hours working and others where I don’t touch my work. I’ve been a hard worker my whole life and for me, I struggle with trying to work without burning myself out and not allowing myself to feel guilty when I take time off. It’s a delicate balance, but I am learning. I have good days and bad days but every day, I am slowly getting better.
What does a day in the studio (or life of a videographer) look like?
A typical day for me is answering emails and inquiries, studying wedding films, searching for music for my future projects, checking in on my couples, updating my social media calendar and/or my website and of course, editing and delivering films!
What do you spend the majority of your days doing?
When I am not working and with Covid-19 + social distancing in place, I’ve been really focusing on getting outside and exploring my natural surroundings. I am not only getting the sunshine and physical activity I need but it has been super inspiring for me as well. I’ve grown a deeper appreciation for nature and how it’s played a significant role in my creativity and overall mental health. I do some of my best thinking + problem solving while I’m out on a walk through the trails near my house.
What year did you start your business and how long did it take you to acquire a consistent client base?
I officially started Geist House Photo + Film in May of 2019 but didn’t go full time until about June 2019. Since I’m only about a year in, I can’t quite say I have a consistent client base yet but with another year or so under my belt, I know I will. Luckily, word of mouth and actively participating in wedding group pages on social media have played a big role in acquiring my clients.
What do you do to stay involved in the community?
For me, my community is the other creatives + vendors I stay in touch and collaborate with. I’m a big believer in being a hype woman for everyone in your industry, especially in the photo + video world. If a client inquires about a date that I am already booked for or if they’re in need of any recommendations, I always, always, always pass along my people’s information for the inquiry. At the end of the day, we are only going to benefit one another and we want our couples to feel like they have the best of the best working their wedding day. Plus, it just makes the couple’s whole wedding experience that much better when all of your vendors personalities and work mesh well together.
What do you enjoy most about being a videographer?
Honestly, I love storytelling. To be able to make films that are raw, authentic and emotional that give you all the butterflies and goosebumps as if you were there in the first place just really gets me. That’s how I want to make my clients feel after watching their film(s).
Where do you see your business in 5 years?
In 5 years, I would love to be a big time destination wedding/elopement videographer. Traveling the world is a huge life goal of mine and if I could do that while doing what I love, then for me it’s the best of both worlds.
What advice would you give to people your age looking to start their own business?
I can’t say it enough but GO FOR IT! You never know where starting your own business will take you so it’s better to have done it and failed than to go your whole life questioning it and kicking yourself in the foot for not doing it sooner. Also, don’t be quick to compare your progress to the progress of others! Remember, people in your industry have been in the game longer than you have. Just because they have something or do something that you don’t yet doesn’t mean you won’t get there one day! Keep grinding and never lose sight of your goals for your business. If you do that, you’ll be as good if not better than the other guys!
If a child walked up to you and asked for your advice and you only had a few minutes to give them your best tip, what would it be? Chase after your dreams! No dream is too big or too small as long as you believe in yourself. You can achieve anything you set your mind too, you just have to want it badly enough. Oprah Winfrey once said, “the biggest adventure you can take in life is to live the life of your dreams” and I am a firm believer in that.
Geist House Photo + Film