Greetings!This is me. And that's my wife.

Generally I don't post pictures of people with their eyes closed.

...or when they're half naked.

...or out of focus.

And I especially avoid any combination of those, but this photo... This one is the exception. You see, my wife and I were having the time of our lives in Costa Rica when I took this ridiculous picture. To us it represents all the memories we made there.

 

But that's an odd introduction. Let me back up and explain explain how we got here and why this is actually about you.

 

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Ten years ago I started my own production company fresh out of high school. Back then I was primarily doing wedding videos but soon found much more fulfillment and opportunities with photography.

I shot nearly everything that came my way —weddings, portraits, conferences, architecture, corporate events, headshots, sports, food, products, and even a catheter but I don’t like to talk about that one…

 

Weddings Places Cinema Editorial Posters Campaigns Portraits Food Fine Art CrystalCouture-1615Fashion


 

This continued for several years, and my business continued to grow through word of mouth alone. In 2010 I had the opportunity to travel and take pictures in Egypt, Cape Canaveral, Yosemite, and the Cayman Islands. I enjoyed working on so many different assignments and meeting people from all over the world.

 



 

Eventually I found more work than I could handle, and I noticed that I was often shooting the same events over and over, year after year. It all started the look the same. The creativity and inspiration that fueled my work earlier had all but vanished. I got bored, and photography became just a job to me.

March of 2012 claimed the title as my "busiest month ever.” That is, until May came along, and then June broke the record again. By July I was spent. Exhausted. Burned out. The last thing I wanted to do was take another picture. I needed a vacation, and fortunately I had just the ticket. I spent the next two weeks exploring Alaska and backpacking through the beautiful landscape.

I reluctantly brought my camera on that trip because I knew I would be glad to have pictures in the end. What I didn’t expect was how much I loved shooting pictures on that adventure. It reminded me why I got into photography in the first place. It showed me that I wasn't tired of taking pictures; I just needed to shoot the things I love.

 

Chilkoot-6246Chilkoot-6246 Chilkoot-7114Chilkoot-7114I probably shot 8,000 photos of the clouds amid the tress. I just love the mood it creates.  

 

After returning from that trip I launched my Adventure Portfolio and resolved to pursue opportunities that feel more like memories instead of projects.


Not long afterward I had the chance to work with YPO Twin Cities for their Family Weekend in Washington D.C. I was essentially an embedded photographer, and I thoroughly enjoyed myself. They seemed to like having me around also, and they asked me to join them on their trip to Iceland the following year.

 

YPO_DC-4820YPO_DC-4820 YPO_DC-4797YPO_DC-4797 YPO_DC-5732YPO_DC-5732 YPO_DC-5483YPO_DC-5483 YPO_DC-6562YPO_DC-6562 YPO_DC-6665YPO_DC-6665 YPO_DC-6065YPO_DC-6065

 

A couple months later my name was passed along to the Southern 7 chapter, and I had the privilege of shooting their fall meeting. It was a perfect complement to both my experience and passion as a photographer. Let’s just say we made some great pictures had a blast together!

 

YPO_Crew-5315YPO_Crew-5315Photo by Stephen Elliot in associaiton with MudProductions.com Prospect_Dinner-4077Prospect_Dinner-4077Photo by Stephen Elliot in associaiton with MudProductions.com YPO_Crew-5577YPO_Crew-5577Photo by Stephen Elliot in associaiton with MudProductions.com YPO_DineAround-6032YPO_DineAround-6032Photo by Stephen Elliot in associaiton with MudProductions.com YPO_EducationSessions-6166Dr. Ben Carson YPO_DinnerParty-6657YPO_DinnerParty-6657Photo by Stephen Elliot in associaiton with MudProductions.com

 

After working with two different chapters I’ve developed a sincere respect for you all at YPO. You don’t simply plan another meeting, you create unforgettable experiences for your members. It’s an honor for me to experience these things through my lens.

Secondly, and most importantly, there’s a difference in the people I’ve met at YPO. They treat everyone like family —even the vendors like me. I couldn’t find any of the usual pretense or posturing that comes when people gather wearing suits. As far as I can tell, YPO is a group of people who genuinely strive to live life to the fullest, and that’s exactly the type of people I want to work with.

Fortunately I got to see my friends from Southern 7 again as I shot their winter meeting in Costa Rica earlier this year. Here's a look at the unforgettable adventures we had there:

 

Click to play.

 

As you might have guessed I brought my wife along for the trip. We made several friends and even more memories while capturing the adventure. It was one of those moments where I couldn’t believe that I get to make a living as a photographer. My camera has served me well, and I’m excited to see where it will take me next.

 

WhiteParty-1941WhiteParty-1941Photo by Stephen Elliot in associaiton with MudProductions.com FourSeasons-0652FourSeasons-0652Photo by Stephen Elliot in associaiton with MudProductions.com FiestaParty-3542FiestaParty-3542Photo by Stephen Elliot in associaiton with MudProductions.com

That’s my story so far.

…actually, I forgot to mention the part about me giving a lot of high fives.

Anyway, the whole point in my telling you this story is simply because I want to work with more YPO chapters. Not only has YPO helped me rediscover the joy in my work, but it seems I’ve made a positive impression on the members as well. It’s a win-win all the way.

But enough about me. I want to hear from you! What’s your chapter all about? What events are coming up next? How can I help?

If you’re in New York City or just visiting I’d love to meet you for coffee and hear more about your chapter. Hopefully our stories can share a few pages together.

 


-Stephen Elliot
703.303.3131 
selliot@mudproductions.com