The month of love is drawing to a close so to end our #BetterTogether series for February, we are featuring one last couple that is very near and dear to us here at The Venue Report. Meet Jose Villa and Joel Serrato: boss couple, photographer extraordinaires, and very (very!) dear friends. This couple’s journey has led them to travel the globe together while photographing some of the most fabulously elite events of modern time. Their work has been featured in every major magazine you can think of and they can now add ‘book publishers’ to their already impressive resumes having written books on their photography skills. They are admired near and far by event photographers for their signature film photography making their simple but stunning style the gold standard.
How did we meet this dynamic duo? Let's just say this love affair started almost a decade ago when our founder Cortnie started working with Jose on several styling projects that eventually led to him photographing her and Donny’s wedding. (insert link to wedding). Since then, Cortnie and Donny have gotten to know this couple by traveling together to Bora Bora (insert link), Hawaii and Palm Springs. You really get to know a couple when you travel with them and let's just say, we would happily travel with them a million more times for the pleasure of their company and steadfast friendship (which we all know says a lot). All in all, Jose and Joel certainly prove that they are #BetterTogether.
Photography by J WILKINSON CO
How and when did you two meet?
Jose: Joel and I met 13 years ago online on a website called American Singles. There was dialup back then and it would take forever to log in and whenever my mom's friends would call her, the internet would disconnect. LOL it was classic!
Joel: I remember having to close out all pop up windows after exchanges message. I think I was working off of my Costco PC my parents bought me and I had a set up in the garage!
What is your working relationship together? What is your favorite project you have worked on together?
Jose: I love working with Joel, he is super calm, collected and very professional at every event and shoot. There are times when we don't even see each other for hours since we are both doing our things. When we do come together during the ceremony we know how to work around each other. We don't even have to talk to each other to know that one of us is in the way, or in our shot. It really is like a perfect dance, and we really know how to dance. I think for me one of my favorite events we did was a wedding we shot together back on July 07, 2007. I'll never forget this client's anniversary. How could I when it's 07/07/07? The phone was ringing off the hook for this date. I was so fortunate to book it with a client who happened to be a photographer and getting married in Tuscany of all places. Kim really appreciated my work, which made it so much more meaningful and special. This wedding was also a first for Joel since it was his first Super 8 film wedding. It was also a first for us working together. Such a beautiful memory. This was the start of many firsts for us and now looking back a great way to jumpstart our working relationship.
Joel: Our working relationship has grown into an intertwined concept of photographing clients all over the country and world together, clients are starting to seek us out as a joint package deal and we DO NOT take for granted the opportunities and places they fly us to. My favorite project we’ve ever worked on together business wise was in Seoul Korea, we were going through a difficult year personally with a death In the family and we felt like that client gifted us an amazing experience I will never forget. We look back on that as being a savior for our sanity during the most difficult time in our lives thus far.
You just opened an office! Congratulations! What does that mean for your business together?
Jose: Yes, this has been a long time coming. I have 4 employees and before this office we all worked out of our home here in Solvang, I think it worked well working at home since my employees are family and 2 are such amazingly good people with lots of drive and passion. We got comfortable working at home but we were starting to outgrow it and it started to take a toll on our relationship. We found ourselves not really having much alone time in the day and always being around our employees, whom we love, but the balance was not there. Having this office means so much, we can now go into work whenever we want. We have a schedule, but the difference is if we are sick one day we can stay home without the whole team being there. I think more than anything it’s giving us space and balance, and our home back .. as much as we can have at this time of year. I can honestly say that I'm the happiest I have ever been in life with Joel and in business. Things are feeling good and complete, but the job of creating memories for people is never ending and we are so fortunate to be able to do it together.
Joel: It means I can finally walk around in my undies in the morning and not worry about my house being filled with Jose’s employees! We love our team, but it’s great to have our home back! Hopefully it means starting a family soon!
How many countries have you traveled to together?! Top 5 favorite places?
Jose: I dont know, maybe like 20 countries so far. My top 5 are Italy, France, Spain, Maldives and South Korea.
Joel: I lost count already! I love Italy - It will always have a special place in my heart. My absolute favorite is Bora Bora, it’s beauty makes me smile every time! ;)
Where to next?
Jose: Joel and I are taking a trip to Rome in April to speak for a photo convention. We are taking advantage of the opportunity and making a vacation out of it. We plan on venturing to Greece as well!
Joel: France! My own team goes to France this year, it’s going to be a good one!
What notable projects should we keep an eye out for 2017?
Jose: I have a few weddings in countries where I have never been and I am so excited to travel there! I'm also working on gathering images for my Fine Art print shop, which I hope to launch late this year.
Joel: I’m excited for Jose’s print shop and limited edition book he’s been working on! For me, lots of personal work, maybe even under a different name? ;)
What makes you better together?
Jose + Joel: Making time to spend with family more... Sometimes I feel like we spend more time with our business than we should... We are best together when we are with our families as a couple. Our nieces and nephew love us and they need us at this time in their lives and it a beautiful thing when they see us together.