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Meet Whitney Parker of Paco and Betty in Alpine

Today we’d like to introduce you to Whitney Parker.

Thanks for sharing your story with us Whitney. So, let’s start at the beginning and we can move on from there.
It was ’06, I was living in San Francisco and working as a graphic designer for a well-known rock ‘n roll photographer who also happened to be a book publisher. It was a fantastic experience, I got to work on cool projects and developed a great work ethic. I learned how to be fast and efficient and got a first-hand look into the lifestyle of an entrepreneur artist. So there I was, working for a photographer all the while dreaming about being a photographer myself until one day I decided to just go for it.

The transition wasn’t instant but my mindset had immediately changed. I was already shooting all time, always had my camera but I was bolder, more confident. I was a photographer and with that declaration everything just snowballed from there. Photography went from a thing to everything and I loved every bit of it. I loved going through my images and admiring the expressions captured or the way the light set the mood. Then showing someone their photo and watching their face light up, sometimes because they loved the look of the photo and other times because they didn’t know how beautiful they really were. It was magical for me to experience my photos with the people I photographed and connect with them on different level. I knew I was on to something good.

Slowly but surely I was booking more and more and I soon found myself having to create processes for all the bookings and inquiries and how to manage all the pictures I was taking. I came to the realization that I had a real business and that I needed a partner.

Marcellos and I had been married about a year when I made the leap from design to photography and he was with every step of the way, so we decided to make it official and we became Paco and Betty. Together we busted our butts building a business, honing our craft and constantly pushing ourselves creatively. The hard work was paying off. Our work was getting noticed, we were getting featured on all the big blogs and we were attracting amazing clients, many of which we call our dearest friends today.

After a few years we felt like we had made it in the wedding world. We were booked solid a year in advance, we had associate photographers working with us taking overflow, and we had systems and routines in place. With everything going so good it seemed like a good time to have kid.

We were blessed with our little pride and joy on December 31, 2013 and although we loved San Francisco and made a name for ourselves there, we knew that we wanted our little girl to grow up close to her family. So in 2015 we packed up and moved to San Diego. As wedding photographers we’ve seen hundreds of venues and along the way a dream was born. What if we had a wedding venue of our own? It was just a little idea, a distant dream of creating a place made for love, with love, and filled with nooks and crannies perfect for photos. Well, when our search for a home in San Diego wasn’t yielding any results that we were excited about we thought we’d look a little east—just to see—and there she was. A cute little house with a cabin vibe and bunch of scrub brush on some acreage, we knew we had found it.

Here we are two years later, Paco and Betty is taking up roots in here in San Diego while still serving clients in San Francisco but our little dream of having a venue of our own has materialized in the form of Hey Babe Ranch, a rustic outdoor space with gorgeous mountain and valley views.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
The struggle is real. The bumps and the challenges, they’re always there and they’re everywhere. Thankfully we get wiser and stronger with each challenge and we can better appreciate the good times having faced the bad. We humans are funny creatures filled with emotions that we can’t help but express, and sometimes those emotions can get the better of us—that’s passion. We want passion, it’s a good thing but we have to take the good with the bad and sometimes it just isn’t pretty.

There have been many of times where Marcellos and I will get in a fight right before a shoot over something silly and trivial or because nerves and self-doubt are creeping in. We can be pretty weak to control ourselves in those moments but once we grab our cameras and meet our clients its game time and we drop whatever was happening and channel our energy to a creative place. Easier said than done, but it’s what it takes. Our clients have enough going on and they certainly don’t need our drama.

Sometimes we see clients who have clearly had a spat and the tension is palpable. Just a guess but it’s probably over the same silly things Marcellos and I trifle over like being late or not feeling comfortable in my new outfit, feeling insecure about my hair, you know… the usual. How can I make my clients happy if they aren’t happy? That’s when we just have to get them to break through the muck and soften their hearts. We have tools and techniques we’ll employ to help get clients into the right mindset like get them thinking about why they are in love or remembering a good time and by the end of the session we’re all laughs and giggles.

Please tell us about Paco and Betty.
Paco and Betty does it all: weddings, engagement sessions, families, seniors, online dating profile pics, lifestyle, interiors, products, you name we shoot it. Regardless the subject matter we’re known for creating compelling imagery that is finely crafted and connects with the audience.

We’ve been fortunate to have found real success pursuing a passion. It feels good getting recognized for your work, making the cover of a big magazine, getting work published, getting industry recognition and respect amongst peers but the real reward is getting to make people happy with our art.

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
I used to come home from school almost every day, sometimes with friends sometimes alone, and I would dress up in my mom’s amazing 1990’s wardrobe and dance to Madonna’s Like a Virgin album. That passion for dressing up, later evolved into dressing my friends up and pretending I was a fashion photographer with my point and shoot camera. I remember the excitement of getting my film developed at the local drug store. There was this satisfaction of knowing that I had tangible evidence of that moment in time.

For Marcellos, going off sweet jumps made from 2×4’s and plywood scraps in his dirt driveway with his BMX singing Bon Jovi chorus lines mid-air.

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Paco and Betty

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