More About Blake Hannah
A little more about myself, I was born at the Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado. I am the oldest of three with a younger brother and sister. I grew up being homeschooled in the mountains of Colorado, spending a lot of time outdoors skiing, hiking, camping, mountain biking, etc. I love to be outdoors and having adventures. Being homeschooled had a lot of benefits, especially allowing me to pursue my interests and to experience real life. When I was 9, my dad ran his own construction and handyman business, he frequently took me with him teaching me valuable skills, business principles, and the importance of a great work ethic. I was given the opportunity learn things that actually mattered and it developed a great foundation for me. At the age of 13 I got my first camera from my Aunt Andrea Duwe who recognized my interest in photography. This was in 2003 right when digital photography started gaining some traction. I got interested in photography as well as drawing and woodworking. At 14 I moved down to Weatherford, Texas and enrolled at Weatherford High School, where I got into basketball and became obsessed with the sport. From my Freshman year through my Junior year, all my focus was on basketball. But when I became a senior, I started to look at my future beyond High School.
As my senior year began, I signed up for classes that would get me the Texas Scholar award on my diploma. After two weeks of sitting in Chemistry II, I realized I wanted to enjoy my senior year, rather than being concerned about a title on my diploma. I decided to go to the head art teacher, Diane Bolinger, and request to join her class. She told me her class was full and she could not accept any more students that year. Luckily, I had a flash drive on me with some of my artwork and photos on it and asked her if she would take a look at my work. She took a look, and after a few images she stopped me, wrote a letter to the administration giving permission for me to join her class. Through my senior year she motivated me and pushed me to develop my artistic eye and from there I developed a plan to pursue an art degree in college. While discovering my love for photography and art, I was also discovering the joys and benefits of being an entrepreneur. My senior year I bought a truck and started a handyman and lawn mowing business. I only had time after school, so the word of mouth business volume was keeping me plenty busy. I learned a lot running my own business and enjoyed the profits of my hard work. I learned the value of relationships and the importance of creating a great product. Terry Ferguson, my basketball coach was also a great contributor, teaching me life lessons, ethics, and leadership skills. As my Senior year came to a close, all of these factors came together.
At church, a couple had seen a lot of my photography posts on facebook and asked me if I could photograph their 50th Wedding Anniversary and pay me $50. That is when everything came together and I realized I needed to pursue selling my photography services as a business. Things quickly grew and I pursued photography as hard and fast as I could from that point on. I got into the Communication Design program at UNT and grew my photography business on the side. Photography was going great for me and I was having a blast going wherever it took me. Holly Long, who is my Dad's cousin, lived in Denton ten minutes away from me, loved my work and wanted to invest in me. She bought me my first full frame camera as well as a GoPro for me to go out and capture better content. While my photography was growing, UNT quickly faded out. Being a Christian at a liberal school did not settle well with my professors. I was told in my second year that I was being kicked out of the UNT Communication Design program because of a "lack of skill and hard work". The moment I read the email I knew that was not the case and refused to let that slow me down. At the same time I was being kicked out of school, I was given the opportunity to be The Creative Director at a broadcasting company. This job gave me first hand, big business experience and business know how.
I had developed my skill as a photographer but I was struggling with taking my photography from a hobby, to a real business. This is what I have learned: a good business is run by someone who pursues the gifts God has given them. They put others first and focus on the relationships, not the transaction. There is no secret to being successful. Provide a great service or product, work hard, build relationships, be honest, take care of others, and your business will run itself. Photography is all about the stories, memories, and relationships. I want my photography to tell a story and I want to preserve memories and feelings. I want to build a lasting relationship with my clients. I believe the best person to document your biggest events is a friend, someone you are comfortable with and someone you trust. I have experienced this first hand with my good friend, Tim Kolczak, who photographed my wedding.
Now, I get to share with you the best part of this whole page! The story of how I met my wife. I will start a little before I actually met her. A teacher at Travis Academy of Fine Arts in Fort Worth asked me to come and speak to her photography class. After teaching, she invited me to her wedding that weekend. I decided to go because I knew some mutual friends who were going to be there. Honestly, I really do not know why I went, but looking back God was writing an awesome story. The date of their wedding was April 12th, 2013. During the wedding reception, the groom was about to do the garter toss. I was single at the time but decided to sit out because I did not even know the groom! But my friends told me to get out there with them and I told them, "I'm 6'8", I'm going to catch it if I come out there". Well, I went out there and caught the garter and then met the groom right after. Supposedly, when you catch the garter, you are supposed to be next to get married.... The next day I had my first conversation on facebook with my wife to be, Caitlyn Hudson. We messaged and texted each other for about a month until we finally met in person. This was a great way for us to get to know each other. We both asked hard hitting questions and really got to know one another without the effects of the physical presence changing how we thought about the other person. We had planned to meet halfway and go dancing with a group of friends to finally meet each other in person but at the last minute while I was already on my way, everyone bailed on the nights plans because of rain. When she called to tell me I said, "Well I'm already halfway there and I really want to meet you, so how about going to the movies?", She said, "Yes, I already got ready and I'm going to make it count". That first date was amazing for the both of us and I drove an hour to her house nearly everyday after. Close to a month of meeting her and her family, I asked her dad to court her and thus began the greatest journey of my life. After a short four months of courting, we both knew we wanted to get married to each other.
On October 27th, 2013 I set up a double date with us and Cait's best friend and her boyfriend. We planned it as the guys were taking their girls out for a special night with dinner and a surprise. We had dinner at Joe T Garcia's in Fort Worth which has a large beautiful courtyard with fountains and gardens. We ate inside while family members gathered in the back of the courtyard. After dinner we went to the large fountain to take some pictures. I had staged my photographer friend, Mike Mezeul II, to be in that area acting as if he was taking pics of another couple. When we got close I asked him to take a picture of us with my iPhone as if he were a stranger. While he took the photo, our families came up quietly behind the fountain and waited patiently. When I retrieved my phone, Mike slipped me the ring in the box and I turned around, got down on one knee and proposed to Caitlyn if front of our family and friends. She said Yes!
We had our wedding under the trees behind my Aunt and Uncle's Cabin on April 12th, 2014, exactly one year after I caught the garter at that wedding. That was not a planned date though, I realized that after the wedding and it is just another testament to God's amazing ability to tell the best stories. Being married to Caitlyn has been the most amazing experience of my life and I am proud to announce that on July 28th, 2014 Cait and I found out we have a baby on the way! Cait's due date is April 5th, 2015 and we will be bringing a baby boy into the world. We are beyond excited and blessed. So this is a little bit about me and my life. If you want to stay updated on what is going on with Hannah Image, go like my fan page HERE. If you want to follow up with Me, Caitlyn, and our baby, send me a friend request with a message HERE.