Stephanie and Isaac Williams AGE: 28 (Stephanie), 30 (Isaac) RESIDE: Irvine, California BEST BUSINESS DECISION: “Hiring a professional [designer] to create a custom blog and an illustrator to handdraw our logos. I was so sick of seeing the same thing out there, I was really craving something more personal and ‘us.’” Stephanie and Isaac Williams, the husband-andwife duo known as This Modern Romance, try to bring their down-to-earth, enthusiastic personalities to everything they do. But it took time to gain confidence that they could do things their way and succeed. Stephanie says she used to worry because, working out of their home, they didn’t have a proper studio where they could meet with clients. Now, she says, “We love meeting our clients at a coffee shop over coffee or tea and having a really relaxed conversation and learning all about them.” Stephanie, who loved photography in high school, shot her first wedding in 2006, working with a photographer in Newport Beach. She and Isaac also worked at the Next Exit studio, an experience that “taught me how to make sure to give full, quality coverage to all of my clients,” she says. At weddings, Stephanie takes the lead, with Isaac playing the role of second photographer. He also handles client contacts, finances and taxes; Stephanie looks after their blog, oversees editing, slide shows and album design, and submits work to magazines. They’ve been featured in Destination Weddings & Honeymoons, Wedluxe, Destination I Do and many other publications, and were named “best of the best” by Junebug Weddings in 2009. Shooting assignments for clothing companies Ruche and ThreadSence “definitely brings in more clients,” who like their romantic fashion images. They’re also in demand for destination weddings. “Many people said they couldn’t find our style of photography where they lived, so they were very willing to fly us out,” says Stephanie. After an intense travel schedule in 2010, the couple (who has three dogs) decided to cut back, accepting only destination jobs that take them to places they haven’t yet seen. One of the best lessons they’ve learned, Stephanie says, is to balance work and fun. “We are really passionate about our work, so it is really easy to have the business be all consuming. There’s always work to do, so we’ve learned to focus on having lots of relaxing outlets and downtime with friends and family, too.” This fall, a medical crisis forced them to take a break. In September, Isaac underwent surgery to remove a benign brain tumor and shortly after had a stroke. Once he had been moved to a rehabilitation facility to continue his therapy, Stephanie was able to plan her return to work.