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Alumni Mentor Carrie Wildes

You can find Carrie dodging traffic, leaning off ledges, and sometimes even braving the snow…all to get the money shot. In 2007, she and her husband, David, left the frozen tundra of Chicago to start a new and warmer life in Tampa, FL. That was when Carrie decided to get off the corporate ladder and build her own via Carrie Wildes Photography!

She graduated from Purdue University with a B.S. in Industrial Engineering (a little different than photography) and has a passion for business and helping others succeed and realize their goals and dreams. Carrie has been very active in PPA and currently is an SMS consultant as well. Fun facts: She is a scuba diver, doesn’t eat beef and is a social media diva.

How did you get started in the business? Who helped/guided/mentored you?
I actually got started in photography by going on a mission trip to the Philippines about 9 years ago with my nice point and shoot camera, because the “group photographer” and loved it! I’m a very hands on learner so started working for a photography company very part time shooting lots of sports leagues to learn the technical aspects. I’ve always loved weddings and wanted to do that more than anything so began working with others and have been learning and growing my business ever since. In the beginning, a friend of mine, Mike Lotz was a couple years ahead of me in business and really helped to guide me on where to get started in this crazy industry, Julia Woods was also a mentor through PPA. PPA was a huge supporter of mine as well, after doing their Studio Management Services workshop that helped started taking my business to the next level. Shortly after that I attended my first After Dark in Vegas and grew there immensely as well.

Special Message or advise for AD attendees?
After Dark is one of the best things you can do for both your photography and business skills. You get as much out of it as you put in so put in 150%, take notes, ask LOTS of questions and leverage the mentors. Once you get home create a plan for all the things you want to do and change in your business and the results will be amazing!

How many After Dark Events have you attended and what’s your favorite moment?
2. There’s so many great moments, but my favorite was probably when the “lightbulb” in my head came on during Cody’s class on off camera lighting that is one of the things that has helped me immensely.

What are your top 5 skills you will be teaching at After Dark?

  • Creating a plan for implementing the knowledge you learned at After Dark. Most people attend a workshop and gain tons of valuable information, tips and tricks but are left overwhelmed by how to apply it to their business.  This session would walk through how to develop goals and a plan to implement all the great things you have learned at Afterdark including, project planning, deliverables, accountability, and quantifying cost and success!
  • Building your studio, managing the empire. How and why to develop a team of employees working for your studio and figuring out if this model is a good fit for your personality, management skills, and goals.  Also, a look at different ways on why and how to outsource parts of your business and increase efficiency.
  • Relationship building with other photographers and other industry professionals. Everyone likes to work with and refer people they like.  The hard part is actually building a network of people both with other photographers and other wedding professionals and gatekeepers like Doctors, Salons, and Baby Boutiques, Wedding Coordinators,  etc.  The how, why and benefits!
  • I’m doing photography part time, how do I take the leap and make my dreams come true? Most people do photography because they love it and dream of doing that as career and it can actually pay the bills and give you the life you always wanted.  This session would teach the critical things to think about when deciding on making it a career, creating a plan and goals, and taking the leap.
  • Wedding 101 – before, and after how to make your couples experience amazing. The couple’s wedding day is one of the happiest days of their lives and it can be one of yours too if you take the right steps and planning to make it happen.  We will discuss pre-wedding planning,  shooting flow on the day of the wedding, and the process after so your clients love you and become your biggest fans.


Contact Info:



Fun Facts:

  • Canon, but I’m not a die hard crazy person like most photographers:-)
  • Specialty Market: Weddings
  • I’ve been to every continent except Antartica and every state except Oklahoma and Alaska

Majority of Business:

  • Florida but do destination work as well all over


  • Love off camera using speedlights and triggers, video lights