Geauxing Out on Your Own: A Conversation with Creative Entrepreneur and Flores MBA Alum Eric Garcia
September 28, 2022
Whenever you come across a graduate portrait, wedding photo, or professional headshot in the Baton Rouge area, there is a chance that Eric Garcia, owner of Geauxgarcia Photography, took it. Although he’s best known for his work in the Baton Rouge metro area, you can often find him taking shots all over the Gulf Coast, doing his favorite thing: capturing his clients on some of their best days.
Garcia not only has a deep passion for his clients, but they have a tremendous love for his work. Geauxgarcia Photography has been named in the “Best of” list according to wedding planning website theknot.com for the past four years. Those awards led to his newest achievement: induction into theknot.com’s Hall of Fame this year.
For Garcia, becoming a hall of fame photographer was not the plan he imagined for himself. He always liked taking photos, but eventually, it turned into something more. Garcia received an undergraduate degree in marketing from LSU in 2013 but felt he still had more to learn, so he entered the Flores MBA Program straight from undergrad, where he wholeheartedly discovered his passion.
Since graduating from Flores MBA Program in 2015, Garcia has been on quite a journey. We sat down with him recently to talk about Geauxgarcia Photography and how the Flores MBA Program helped to shape his career.
What you have been up to since you graduated from the Flores MBA Program.
In my final semester of the Flores MBA Program, I participated in a case competition, and I got a job offer from Olinde’s from that experience. I was the eCommerce manager for about two years. It was a great learning experience helping them transition their business from a catalog company to an eCommerce site. I knew I wanted to be in digital marketing, so that was a great start.
Then, I later transitioned to an agency in town doing SEO. I started my business while in my role at Olinde’s and grew it by scheduling shoots in the evenings and on weekends. In 2017, I eventually got to a place where I felt good doing photography full-time, which was not initially the plan, but it later became what I wanted. It's been really great to see the business grow.
How did you get started with photography and when did you realize it was more than just a hobby?
In undergrad, I took pictures of my friends. I always had a camera, and everyone knew I had a camera. That turned into me taking my friend’s graduation photos, and in grad school, I started taking more pictures, even taking some with the Flores MBA Program. It was about getting practice and being comfortable with strangers. As time passed, weddings became my main focus—everything from the engagement shoot to bridals to the actual day. Weddings are where I really got sucked into the art of photography. Weddings lead to more weddings, and these connections lead to babies and even Christmas cards.
How did you know it was time to go out on your own?
There was a moment when I realized that I was working with more strangers than people I knew, and that’s when I knew I was going somewhere. I think entrepreneurs get this question about going full-time because there are a lot of considerations and risks. There is the risk of losing benefits, stability, and structure–everything is up to you. You are now contributing to retirement and paying for other general life things by yourself. The biggest thing for me about going full-time was not all about the money but making sure I had enough to pay my bills and have an income. You never really know how things will take shape, but it eventually falls into place.
What steps did you take to make Geauxgarcia Photography a reality?
When I started Geauxgarcia Photography, I was still working full-time, but I knew I was making money. First, it was important to me to do everything in the correct way legally, but it was also about making sure I had everything I needed. Do I have the community around me? Do I have people I can ask questions? Do I have mentors?
When you go into something alone, it’s a whirlwind of self-discipline. You’ll never be fully ready, but making sure I had the right support system around me was a major priority.
What is the most important lesson you’ve learned as an entrepreneur?
As an entrepreneur, you realize that you don’t know everything, but, at the same time, you need to be competent in everything you do. In the beginning, you're stressed, but eventually you become comfortable asking for help. When your business grows enough, you can hire professionals to help, like CPAs, who will alleviate some of that stress. Leaning on your community is critical when dealing with starting a business.
On top of that, owning your own business means you give yourself feedback. There are
no annual reviews like a regular 9-5 job. You are constantly thinking about what you
could do better and how you can learn more things.
Even though it's cliché, surround yourself with people who are smarter than you in every way, shape, or form. You have to be open to being reflective.
What is the most rewarding part of owning Geauxgarcia?
I feel very proud of the work that I do and my clients. I see people on their best days—weddings, new jobs, new babies—because they hire a photographer to document these major accomplishments. All these days are the truly the happiest days of work. I’ve been doing this for seven years, and every day is fun.
The coolest thing is when people come back for more. It's great to see clients come back for different types of work and for them to trust me with their special moments.
About the Flores MBA Program
The mission of the LSU Flores MBA Program is to remain competitive in the national and regional markets while fostering learning, leadership, and networking in a global business environment. Full-time, executive, and online tracks are offered and provide schedule flexibility for those wishing to pursue their MBA from a nationally recognized program. For more information, visit mba.lsu.edu or call 225-578-8867.