Inked Fingers

Storytelling matters enormously to our everyday lives. As people we love stories and we are hardwired both to receive and communicate story. We read bedtime stories as we tuck kids in for the night. We share stories around the the campfire. Storytelling, as Fredrick Buechner says, "perhaps more than any other form of discourse speaks to our hearts and illumines our own stories" Perhaps in telling the stories of others we gain perspective and insight into our own.

We are overjoyed to introduce you to the artful storytellers at Inked Fingers. This husband & wife team is based in Austin, TX where they capture some of the most beautiful stories around.    

Heirloom: What is Inked Fingers? Tell us what all this encompasses!

Carli: Inked Fingers is my husband, John and I (and our amazing office manager Jessica). We shoot weddings and commercial work together. 

John does the majority of the back-end non-client technical things (editing) and he has his own business and he plays "I'll watch my daughter all day Dad" when our babysitter isn't available AND he is a major idea guy! One day he's going to direct a film we write! (We're working on that.) I'm on the front-end client-related side, handle social media, shoot the smaller portrait sessions and of course first and foremost am a MOM to Emiliana!! We're very busy! We work from home. (And we love watching foreign films!)


Heirloom: You have such a sweet family! Tell us a little about them and how you balance work & play?

Carli: Aw, thank you!! We're still trying to figure that out but slowly getting into a routine. (I highly recommend the book "The Pregnant Entrepreneur" for anyone thinking of having kids that owns their own business!) It's life changing, both the book and adding children to the mix!) Right now Emiliana's at the sitters 2 days a week which meets there's no messing around after we drop her off! Nose to the grindstone! 

Since John & I both work in the same job 75% of the time and work from home and we're husband and wife, we have to always be on the same page-- and that's really difficult. What drew me to John is he is exactly opposite of me, so we complement each other but what energizes him, drains me and vice versa. People think you have to married/in business partnership with someone that is exactly like you and it's just not true. The "highs" in this lifetime make the "lows" less important. When I can look over at John during a wedding and think "Wow. How many couples can say their date-nights are to other people's weddings?" haha Or when we come up with a concept together for a commercial gig (like the time I was throwing pizza in the air wearing a football helmet and he was telling me to "throw yourself on the ground while trying to catch it!") Hilarious!! We've had some memorable gigs!!! We feel very blessed. 

Date nights are essential when we work so much together, taking time for US to just BE. We spent two weeks in Italy in Jan with our daughter. We want to do more of this. We did one campaign while we were there but only for a few hours one day, the rest was all play. 

"Invest in experiences, not things" We've made it a goal to drive older cars, to pay off our debt, to try to meal plan, etc. because we realize what is most important is that we both raise our daughter together in a peaceful home, surrounding her with creativity, music and culture! We crave traveling and hope to do more of it in the near future! This lifestyle allows us to, but not without sacrifice!

Heirloom: How did you begin Inked Fingers? Tell us the story! 

Carli: I originally went to school to be a graphic designer, but after an internship from hell realized I craved more people interaction. I moved to Austin and changed my major to journalism. After realizing I in no way had any interest in covering sports stats or murders, the only other option at UT was photojournalism. I wanted to be in a creative field, I just didn't know what was out there. My boyfriend at the time, John, was at the same time leaving his corporate job of sales at Johnson & Johnson to do his own thing and he showed me the ropes. We essentially began Inked Fingers (photographing!) together. So although he didn't have any formal training in photography (I had only taken one photography class at UT before dropping out :) we learned how to shoot in manual together, we shot our first wedding of our neighbor's in 2007 and paid $3k to do one bridal show back in Jan '08 here in Austin. Ever since, we haven't paid to advertise. We are a 100% word of mouth based company!! 

We have completely different shooting styles. John likes extreme vantage points and dark darks and I like the softer more romantic moments and naturally light. After struggling with "which one was right" for so long, we finally realized our opposition was our biggest asset! Clients wanted both! Now I see our styles are some what merging. hehe We learn from each other!

Up until 2010 we shot about 25 weddings a year and random portrait sessions, but then we joined Instagram, our users skyrocketed and we began getting commercial work. We've shot for over 2 dozen corporations since including Tiffany & Co, Gap Kids, Disney, handful of local companies too like Margot Blair and The Peached Tortilla. It's been a fun ride. We thrive on the challenge of new fields and are always looking towards expanding our horizons. If you're an entrepreneur you have to love change.... otherwise you'll go out of business!!

Heirloom: What is one thing as an artist that you would encourage other artists with? Your words of wisdom so to speak. 

Carli: "Everything you do will be insignificant but it is very important that you do it." - Buddha  

Heirloom: What is one shoot, event, place, etc that you’ve always wanted to photograph but haven’t had the chance to yet?

Carli: My heart is in India. Ever since I was a little girl I've been fascinated by the country and people and religions of India. I'm living/breathing in the space that we will make it there in this lifetime!