For the past two years, I have been voted in the top 3 of the best photographers in Murfreesboro. If you are a resident in Rutherford or Cannon County, then you are probably familiar with The Ruthies Awards. They have been going on for 28 years now. The Ruthies program polls the local community to select the best businesses and organizations in the area. Through nominations and voting, they choose in more than 150 categories in Beauty & Health, Clothing, Dining, Entertainment & Leisure, Home, Home Services & Finance, Kids & Education, Media, People & Places, Services, Shopping, Spirits, Sports, Top Employer and Vehicles Dealers & Services.
Each year, there are several rounds of voting. First, you have to be nominated by the community. The top five nominations in each category go on to the second round of voting. During the second round of voting is when the top three are decided. After the voting is complete, you are then notified if you are in the top three in each category. For the past two years, I have been voted in the top three.
What an honor it is to be named one of the best photographers in Murfreesboro two years in a row!
Three years ago, when I started my photography business, I never imagined being named one of the Best Photographers in Murfreesboro. Not only have I been voted as a finalist for the Ruthies, but also in the Main Street Awards as well. I started learning photography in the pandemic when I was out of work from my job as a dental hygienist for two months. We had bought a camera right before my daughter’s first Christmas. I had no clue how photography and my camera really worked, except auto mode.
While I was out of work, I kept thinking, “What would I do if I can’t go back to my job as a dental hygienist?” I looked into going back to school, but there was nothing that interested me. Not to mention, I did not want to pay for school again. This was also the time that TikTok became popular, since we were all stuck at home. There was a photographer on TikTok who talked about how successful her business was and how much she loved photographing people’s memories for them. After binging through all of her post, I started looking into photography and how to use my camera.
After learning the basics of photography, my camera, and editing, I thought photography would just be a hobby. My daughter was my first model, along with our dog Gabby. After photographing them for a little while, I started taking photos of friends and family. A few people had mentioned that I should start a photography business. If you know me, you have seen me start a few businesses. Well, let’s be honest, a few MLM businesses that didn’t last long. I was nervous to even think about a photography business, but I knew I wanted to provide a one of a kind experience for family photos.
One of the main reasons so many people put off getting photos taken is because of how stressful it is. My vision was to offer a stress-free photography experience, from booking to even after delivering their photos. In November 2020, I hosted my first set of Christmas Mini Sessions and fully launched my photography business.
Over the past three years, I have been honored to photograph over 45 families and hosted almost 10 different mini sessions. In the past year, I have started working with Seniors and offering Senior Portrait Sessions. Along with being named one of the best photographers in Murfreesboro, my photos have been published in eight magazines and featured on a blog. I have also been featured as cover artist for Fervent Magazine as well. I have partnered with some amazing venues like Sinking Creek Farm, Country Cove Christmas Tree Farm, Magnolia Farms, and Studio Vow Collective.
Being named one of the best photographers in Murfreesboro would have not been possible without my incredible clients, friends, and family.
Due to the pandemic, The Ruthies were not able to host their yearly awards gala. This year, they finally were able to host their awards gala at Embassy Suites in Murfreesboro. Josh and I were lucky enough to attend. It was a great networking opportunity. We were able to sit with the owners of Donut Country, the owners of The Dance Academy, and The Trainer Group – a local real estate team. Each of them were such welcoming, down to earth, and kind people. We truly enjoyed getting to know them and spend the evening with them.
Shelbi Woods Photography was named the winner for Favorite Photographer this year. She is very deserving of this award, and I am honored to be named a Finalist alongside of her. We both were finalist last year as well. Since starting my business, I have admired her work and talent. One thing I have learned in this business is that there is no competition. I have often told clients to reach out to her or various other photographers when I am unavailable. I look forward to the next year and hope to be nominated again for this incredible honor!
Again, thank you for voting Leah Hargrove Photography as one of the Best Photographers in Murfreesboro!
Wanting to book your own family photos? Head over to my contact page! Let’s be friends – follow us on social media: @leahhargrovephotography!