Our next studio spotlight is Creative Island Visions and Casafras Photography in gorgeous Maui, Hawaii. Cassie is the owner of the successful and adventurous businesses, and for 17 years she has been able to make a living doing what she loves! Everyday she picks up and her camera and captures something – whether it’s an underwater session for Casafras Photography, a destination wedding for Creative Island Visions, or simply shooting her grandchild or dog – her amazing talent can easily be seen in each part of her life. Creative Island Visions is made up of Cassie and her office/photo assistant, Chelsea, and Casafras is made up of Cassie, the open ocean, and her lifeguard, David. Both photography businesses have innovative and unique ways they do business – along with ways they give back to the photography community by taking a student intern each year to train, giving back to local families, and helping overseas. Every year on Thanksgiving Cassie sets up shop on the beach and families that normally wouldn’t be able to hire a photographer are able to have a 30-minute fun photo shoot! In April, Cassie will head to Uganda to photograph a village for Hope for Kids International.
Cassie, how did you and your camera first meet?
Sadly I was going through a divorce and needed a new career. I was a landscaper, yep, designed irrigation, laid sod, and maintained the yards after they grew.
It was fun and challenging but my life was changing. My neighbor had a photography business and in our conversations I had mentioned I was interested in photography.
I didn’t own a camera, couldn’t afford one either. I was raising two kids with nothing to spare. Then one day on my way to a second job interview he stopped by. He asked if I really was interested in photography, because he needed help. I blew off the job interview and got in his car. I remember him telling me to load the film and batteries, and me asking him how? Long story short, after two weeks, the lab said they couldn’t tell the difference between his photos and mine and that I should consider a career as a photographer. They, the lab owners, used to shoot for Sunset Magazine… So, the next week I threw up a website and began as a coordinator, booking small beach weddings and myself as the photographer. It grew from there.
This new venture “passion project” as my friends are calling it came from a severed ACL from playing in the ocean. I couldn’t walk without crutches and for therapy I got in the water. Missing my camera, I bought a housing. I’ve always loved the water so it was great to bring my camera with me. My company Creative Island Visions was able to stay in business because I have a great team. So weddings went on but I got stuck in the office! I started playing in and under the water, following turtles around and then mermaids! Yep, mermaids, there’s a lot of them out there. I’ve now created a new company called Casafras Photography. It’s water based, pool, waterfalls, ocean. Trash the dress shoots and more… I am now coordinating adventure weddings and doing the photography for them too. I never in my life thought this would be my career. I am so blessed, 17 years and still loving it!
After an event is done, what is your work flow from uploading the images from your card reader to delivering the album?
In my studio we turn our weddings fast. I believe in getting it right in the camera. Our clients view their entire wedding day within 48 hours, sometime sooner. We do destination weddings and our clients leave the island within days of their ceremony. Most of our packages are small and our studio turns them into larger packages after the wedding day.
Import to Lightroom
Make any adjustments needed (usually contrast)
Number the images in sequence
Export full size JPGs
Export web version, 72dpi with logo
Select a handful for a slideshow presentation
Export slideshow version
Create slideshow, DVD, MP4s
Show clients at our studio
Entire process takes between 4-6 hours. We show our clients anywhere from 125 to 700 photos depending on the size of the wedding. We do 1, 2, 3, 5 and 7 hour weddings.
When clients come to the studio we show them their wedding day on our big screen. Offer them a beverage of choice and walk them through the process of selecting additional prints, art and photo albums.
If an album is chosen:
We design all of our albums in house
We choose the photo selection
Client has 3 revisions where they can change photos and design
Once approved, any additional encasements are applied
All photo albums go to Zookbinders and are shipped directly to our clients
Album design process takes around 4-6 weeks depending on the client’s response time. Being a destination wedding company clients do not come back to the studio to pick up any orders. Zookbinders makes it easy for us. We trust their process and color balancing and have never had any issues.
If you had a magical genie lamp, what would you change about the photography industry?
I miss FILM! Change is inevitable and I embrace it. I gave my grandkids, 3 and 6 year olds, a Polaroid camera and am teaching them to take their time with the composition. They started with the iPhone of course. Film is something really new to them. They opened the back of the camera and exposed the film. It was quite the conversation explaining to them what they did and why the photo was completely white. I do love seeing the joy in their faces when they capture something they took their time to create.
How do you find your customers?
Finding customers/clients… this is constantly changing. In the past, I made connections with vendors that referred our services, hotels, coordinators, venues. Our job is to make their job easy and in doing so we stayed busy. I still do this, but in keeping up with the times, we also do social media post on Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook. Recently we redesigned our websites and our putting some time and money into SEO. Times are changing and our bride and grooms are searching for their venders. We are getting a lot more direct bookings now.
Do you prefer to shoot by yourself or with an assistant and why?
I love having an assistant. I love to teach. I also feel it looks more professional if I have help in the field. Even if the assistant is only carrying my stuff and handing me my gear when needed. Having them there gives me more hands on with the couple. I don’t have to gather my gear every time we change location. And if an assistant can shoot too! Yay! Another perspective is great!