State of the Business - 2018 in Review by Zack Wussow

2018 is behind us, which means it’s time to look back.


2017 was a crazy year - not only my busiest year professionally but also pretty crazy personally. I got married and bought a house. So I’m happy to say 2018 was all around more sedate. Fewer weddings, spread out more evenly through the year, and no giant changes in my life. One tiny change though…



Heather and I adopted a stray kitten named Peach. She was and continues to be a handful but is adorable and endlessly entertaining. If you feel like you didn’t get enough cat photos this year, we sequestered all of ours on a separate Instagram account.



While weddings were down, I did more maternity photo sessions than ever before, and my first newborn sessions! I was hoping to expand this branch of my business this year, so seeing this grow is really nice, and 2019 is looking promising too.




Like I said, a quieter year! And even more than it seems, as two of those were second shooting gigs, which are substantially easier. And the change didn’t even hurt my bottom line too much, as rising average prices made up some of the difference. This is actually a return to baseline of sorts, as I did 19 weddings in each of 2014, ‘15, and ‘16. I think ideally I’d sit somewhere between 2017 and 2018, maybe with even a few more second shooting jobs in there as well.


This is somewhat a deceptive number - I actually sold more than 4 engagements, in the form of included ones with weddings, that for various reasons never happened. In 2019 I’ll be making up for it with those couples as well as new ones. Going forward I’d like to get every couple to have an engagement session, as it’s a great way to get to know my couples.


Babies! Specifically breaking this down, it was 4 family photo shoots, 2 headshot sessions, 4 maternity sessions, and 2 newborn sessions. I love doing these for several reasons - they are smaller and more relaxed than weddings, more evenly distributed year round, and a great way to keep working with my wedding couples as they go on to the next steps in their lives!


As in years past, this category could really be called “UConn Events”. Mostly the same ones as years past, and only down because a couple events didn’t happen this year. Always fun to help out my Alma Mater, though.


One bridal shower, and two events with the Mattatuck Museum in Waterbury, where a friend of mine works. The museum is a tough spot since flash isn’t allowed in most rooms, but they are fun events none-the-less and feels like a great cause!

TOTAL: 44 (DOWN 4 FROM 2017)

A quieter year to be sure, but I really needed that after 2017!


The one area 2018 wasn’t so restive was travel - beyond a travel packed yearbook season, I also took three bigger trips. Heather and I went to Florida in January to visit family, in April we went on our belated honeymoon to Bar Harbor, and over the summer we went on a work-related trip to Provincetown and to visit a friend who lives on Cape Cod. All very fun trips!


I also rediscovered the joy of going to my local library in a big way - I read 68 books this year! (Gotta do something while resting up, right?) Highlights for me: Brain on Fire by Susan Cahalan, Devil in the White City by Erik Larson, and A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson. I’m also really glad I read Washington: A Life by Ron Chernow but won’t sugar coat it - it’s a slog. It took me all year, dipping in periodically, to finish it.


2019 is a bit more up in the air than I would like so far. Feel free to fix that by recommending me to your friends and family! I am very much looking forward to photographing three weddings of dear friends next year, including one that will mean a mostly free vacation.

I do expect to see even more portrait, maternity, and newborn sessions which I am excited about!



I hope you have had a wonderful year, and that 2019 is even better!

Five Years by Zack Wussow

You know the cliched interview question, "Where do you see yourself in five years?" Well, when I walked into the Vernon Town Clerk's office and registered my Doing Business As name, and even if they had I could not have guessed.

This picture, currently on the "About Me" page, is from October 2012. I should probably post something more... recent.

This picture, currently on the "About Me" page, is from October 2012. I should probably post something more... recent.

In all honesty, I started Zack Wussow Media for two reasons - first, because the only other UConn Photography grads I knew actually using their degrees were doing weddings, and because you need to register your business to pay taxes. I wasn't sure if it was what I wanted to do long term. In fact, I probably would have said I intended to work a little and then go back to school.

Before grad school, though, I wanted to follow my professor's advice and "get some life". Boy have I.

In these five years I've also acquired more camera gear then I could have imagined needing, taught myself to be a serviceable accountant, advertiser, and salesperson, learned and forgot how to use a steadicam, built three ring lights, taken a million yearbook photos, and attended several lifetimes worth of weddings.

And assisted on one rap video.

And assisted on one rap video.

Just after ZWM's first anniversary, I met my fiance. A year and a half later we moved in together, into my first real apartment. Then, this past spring, I asked her to marry me. (No date set yet... We're procrastinators.)

I've gotten a tattoo, tried scuba and sky diving, taken at least three road trips, run in a Tough Mudder, and perhaps most incredibly of all, I've gotten Heather's cat Enzo to tolerate my existence (maybe even like me... sometimes).

So given all that, where do I see myself in another five years? My wedding, for sure. Probably owning my first home. Almost certainly still behind a camera.

But besides that? Your guess is as good as mine. I'm excited to find out, though.

500 by Zack Wussow

I'm out of town this weekend, so a quick post to celebrate hitting 500 straight days of taking a photo a day. It's a lot of fun, even though there are a lot of my fiance... our cat... our bedroom around 11:55PM. 

Here are some of the more exciting ones.


#406 - The first photo shoot for my Shapeways shop.

#433 - A dramatic shot from a trip to NYC.

#457 - This crazy place.

#463 - This cute little guy who did not appreciate being picked up.

#493 - An unplanned wedding portrait.

#500 - A fitting ending, hanging with friends on the Cape!

Here's to another 100! Now back to work.


200 by Zack Wussow

On my birthday this January, I decided to do a photo-a-day project. It's not my first (I actually completed one in 2011) but it seemed like a good way to make some work through the winter doldrums and to experiment with some new things. On August 2nd, I hit 200 days!

Our cat doesn't look sinister at all... I don't know what you mean...

Our cat doesn't look sinister at all... I don't know what you mean...

Some, like the above, have been taken while experimenting with my primary work camera, but not many - the 5D is big, heavy, and most importantly, expensive. So I like to leave it where it's safe most of the time.

Instead, I took the approach that the best camera is the one that is always with you, and bought a Canon S110. I've previously owned two S90s (and broke both of them), and love this one as much as I loved those. They're small, light, and extremely capable. Best of all, with a little reshuffling and a wallet downsizing, the S110 fits in my pants pocket. I literally carry it everywhere.

I'm so glad I do, because there are so many photo opportunities that I would miss out on if I had to rely on my cell phone. (It tries, admirably, but it can only do so much...) 

It's been so much fun. I love breaking it out to catch sudden moments (so many sunsets, as well), and it's cheap enough that I am willing to take it places it might get damaged.

Like in a kayak.

Like in a kayak.

It's also been a great motivator to experiment with new things, try out new angles or new techniques that have subsequently made it into my professional work. The project (and the surprisingly good macro system on the S110) prompted me to add a macro tube for my professional gear, which in turn provided a few days worth on photos as I systematically photographed every tiny thing in our apartment. Now I'll be adding shots like the one below to all my future weddings.

But the best part, by far, has been all the photos I love, photos of loved ones or special occasions, that I probably wouldn't have bothered to take if not for the looming daily deadline motivating me to get my camera out and just try it. See what... happens.

You can see all 200 (and counting) in my Flickr gallery. At this point, I doubt it will be a year-long project. Rather, I'm planning just to make it a part of daily life indefinitely.

I recommend it, even if you just use your cell phone. Even if you aren't the best photographer. It's like a quick, daily journal entry that will make you look more carefully at your world.