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Meet Samantha Smith of Blu Velvet Photography in Katy

Today we’d like to introduce you to Samantha Smith.

So, before we jump into specific questions about the business, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
How does a City Police Officer become a Photography business owner? I began my career in Law Enforcement in 2011 in Pennsylvania. Then, quickly moved to Northern VA, and worked as a Police Officer at Georgetown University. Soon after, my career in Law Enforcement advanced to being accepted into the City Police Academy and ultimately working full time outside of Washington, D.C. in a city called Alexandria. About four years later, Houston, Texas became my new home where I worked for a small department before the Doctor gave me the news that would change my career forever, as I was diagnosed with Degenerative Disc Disease in my lumbar spine.

About four years after my initial diagnosis, an MRI, several X-Rays and relocating to Houston Texas to be with my Wife Olga, it was determined my Degenerative Disc Disease was progressing. I was told I had a decision to make; leave Law Enforcement for good or risk serious injury with lifelong consequences. The decision was not easy, but I knew what needed to be done. I was awarded an honorable discharge as a Texas Police Officer and entered into the civilian business world in 2017.

I have been a civilian now for a little of a year. My life is very different, I get to celebrate holidays with my family, I am home to tuck my kids in at night and wake them up in the morning, and my back is less of a daily burden. The most amazing change is the development of Blu Velvet Photography. Olga had been professionally shooting for many years already when we decided to re-brand the business. Being the Owner of BVP has brought me much joy and even some excitement. There has been several photo shoots that my quick instincts have kicked in to “save the moment.” From jumping across the field to catch the falling baby who had just been let go by their older sibling; to helping the Father of the birthday girl who was having a medical emergency during an event. I may not be saving lives anymore, but I am honored to continue to utilize my training and skills when necessary, while still being a part of the Community and getting to know so many amazing people.

Overall, has it been relatively smooth? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way?
I do not believe in “smooth roads,” as there are always obstacles and challenges along the way. Personally, the biggest challenge has been adapting to civilian life while running a full-time business. I have a diverse background in sales and marketing but did not know much about the photography world. Thankfully, I have my Wife by my side to teach me everything I need to know. We are a great team, while I run the business, she handles the photo shoots.

Blu Velvet Photography – what should we know? What do you do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
Blu Velvet Photography was established in January of 2017 after we rebranded my wife’s part-time Photography Business that she ran for over 13 years. We decided to come together, with my sales background, and her photography background to make BVP. We specialize in Event and Wedding Photography. We have now expanded the business to include our selfie igloo photo booth at Events and Weddings as well. They allow us to get to know people and experience life through the eyes of others. We also photograph families, seniors, and boudoir.

We are known for being an all-inclusive and body positive photography team! We pride ourselves in making sure everyone is welcome and feels comfortable. Being apart of the LGBTQIA Community, we understand how it feels to be discriminated against, feel uncomfortable in certain environments and even be denied service simply for who we love. We are proud to photograph ALL people! Olga and I realized how vital it is to be out in the Photography Community, when we have had same-sex couples reach out to us to capture their Wedding, after they had been denied by several other photographers, simply because of them being gay. Moreover, we had a client who reached out to tell us she could not stop crying after seeing her boudoir sessions, as she had been struggling with self-confidence after having a baby. These are the moments, that keep us motivated and set us apart in the business.

What is “success” or “successful” for you?
Success is measured in how well you bounce back from what life throws at you. Having been a Cop for several years, I understand that bad stuff happens all the time, but what you do with it, determines how successful you can be in that moment. I have seen it all, from the simple complaints to the life and death situations; yet, it always amazed me to see how well some could handle the most stressful situations, while others crumbled at the simple issues. The tenacity and courage to keep fighting regardless of the hurdles in your path is a clear marker for me in regards to someone’s ability to succeed in life.

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Getting in touch: VoyageHouston is built on recommendations from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you know someone who deserves recognition please let us know here.

1 Comment

  1. Dr. Max Argo

    January 3, 2019 at 11:05 pm

    Beautiful work every time I have seen a photograph it has been perfect!

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