If you have spent anytime in Chicago, you have probably heard of the photography studio, averyhouse. The owners, matt & stevi savage, are an inspiration to everyone they meet & today’s studio tour is no exception.
Step into the stunning world of averyhouse, learn about their story, their passion, and what to do when you are in a rut and need a change. If nothing else, their passion for storytelling & loving what they do is inspirational enough. So grab a cup of coffee, scroll down, and prepare to fall in love.
PS – if you are really in the mood for some aesthetic eye-candy, check out their Instagram accounts!
My name is Stevi Savage and I am married to my ridiculously talented and good-looking husband, Matt Savage. I am a mother to our beautiful 3 year old son, Rhodes.
Our work is based in Chicago, where we have lived for 8 years. We are currently spending time, living and working, in Mexico for the winter.
TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT WHAT YOU DO:
Alongside my husband, I own and operate Averyhouse, a wedding and portrait photography business that we established in 2008 shortly after we were married. Over the years, my role has shifted and while I do still photograph some weddings and portraits, my biggest role is behind-the-scenes operations and office management.
We also were adopted into Smilebooth family, a national photo booth company, back in 2010 where we manage the sales and production in our Midwest market. In addition, Photoserve is a nonprofit that we cofounded in 2015 but have been dreaming about for over a decade. It’s purpose is to bridge the gap between photographers/visual artists and nonprofits, connecting the two to fulfill the needs of volunteer work and to create captivating, storytelling imagery and media.
WHO OR WHAT INSPIRES YOU?
As cheesy as it may sound, my husband is the person who inspires me daily. 🙂 He is a renaissance man, always surprising me with new interests and talents and striving to do his best in everything, even the smallest task. He is always looking for ways to help others and is an incredibly patient and loving father to our three year old son.
I am also inspired by those who live a minimalist lifestyle, actively seeking to declutter their lives of material possessions in exchange for more time and energy to seek out rich life experiences through travel or to simply have more focused, quality time with people around them. It is something that we have been exploring more and more as a family over the past two years and it is has been a total shift in my mindset in the most rewarding way.
I have built out seasonal capsule wardrobes in order to cut down on my need or desire to buy more clothes and, overall, our material possessions have dwindled down to only one quarter of what they used to be after lots of purging and reorganizing. Seeing how and why others choose this type of lifestyle is so inspiring to me!
WHAT DOES ‘BEING CREATIVE’ MEAN TO YOU?
To me, being creative means not giving up when something doesn’t work but to keep pressing through until it does and you can do it well. As artists and entrepreneurs we face many challenging situations that are unique to our work or business only and there is no one else to tell us how to navigate around it.
We are constantly evolving and fine-tuning our processes to be more efficient and effective in what we do. It is during these times, when we are ironing out our systems and workflows, that I feel I am being the most creative in my work.
WE ARE SO INSPIRED YOU GUYS ARE CONSTANTLY ABLE TO STAY CREATIVE. WHERE DO YOU FIND EVERY DAY INSPIRATION?
I do my best to find a balance between work time and rest time. Sometimes my work is at home as a mother and sometimes it is at our office, managing our studio or out photographing a wedding. Either way, I’ve found that with my job I’m not able to find a balance every day but rather in seasons. For me, when we are in our busy season, there is not much daily rest time so we have dedicated our slow season as a time of rest and we are extremely protective of and plan for it far in advance.
The luxury of having on and off seasons is one of the things that drove us to continue fighting to make our business work for us, even when we felt like giving up. Now that we have a son, we are so grateful for a solid 2-3 months of time where we can travel and spend as much time together as possible, working less and playing more, and ultimately giving him and each other 110% of our attention.
This year, we decided to spend our slow season in Mexico for three months. Our son attends a local school here while we work remotely for ~6 hours per day. It is a very special time for our family and by the end of it we will be so refreshed and excited for another busy and productive season.
TELL US ABOUT THE START OF YOUR PASSION. HOW DID YOU KNOW YOU WANTED TO BE A PHOTOGRAPHER?
Long ago, before I knew anything about photography or business, I knew that I wanted to work in a creative field where I could help, encourage, and give to others. I also hoped that I would have the freedom to travel as well as have a flexible work schedule once I became a mom. At the time, I could have only dreamed of having a business that not only allowed me all of these things but also allowed them for my husband too.
It is extremely humbling to sit back and think of the winding path that led us to where we are today but all of those decisions we made… the big ones, little ones, hard ones, and easy ones… they all brought us to this point and somehow all along it’s exactly the place that we hoped we would end up.
WHEN YOU GET IN A CREATIVE RUT, HOW DO YOU GET UN-STUCK?
When I get stuck on something I escape from all distractions, first, mapping out my thoughts on paper and reading through a study in my bible. Thankfully, because my husband and I work as a team, I can then go to him to bounce around the problem or my ideas with him. He is a podcast junkie and usually has some valuable insight to help me mull it over.
Most of the time, we try to get outside together and simply admire nature for a few hours. We rest our minds and eventually talk through our dreams, hopes, or fears for the future. After all of this I usually gain enough perspective and courage to move forward with my project in a way that I know is best for our family and/or our business.
WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE FOR AN ASPIRING CREATIVE?
My advice for an aspiring creative would be to learn as much as you can about managing a business, selling, and how to be efficient in your workflow. Delegate repetitive tasks to others as soon as you have enough margin and focus on doing the tasks that only you can do.
Without a solid plan for growth, your business runs the risk of not becoming sustainable. Love your clients well and measure your success by how they view you, not in the number of clients you have.
CONSIDER US INSPIRED! WHERE CAN WE FIND MORE OF AVERYHOUSE’S WORK?
Thanks for reading! You can view more of our work here!
a. Averyhouse Wedding and Portrait Photography
b. Smilebooth Photobooth + Custom Photo Activations
c. Photoserve Nonprofit
d. Flock & Feather Personal Blog
Meet Vanessa, their fabulous Studio Manager. Doesn’t this look like an amazing place to work? Hope you all were inspired by Stevi & the averyhouse story!