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About Us

As a husband and wife photography team, we believe that the beauty of capturing life's moments lies not only in our expertise and passion for photography but also in the places where these memories occur. We love traveling to our client's photo shoots, bringing our unique blend of creativity and adventure to every location.

From the bustling city streets to the tranquil countryside, each location offers a new canvas for us to create stunning images that perfectly capture the essence of our clients and their memories. We believe that the energy and spirit of a location can add an extra layer of magic to any photo shoot, and we're always excited to experience new places and cultures as part of our work.

We bring our hearts, passion, and love to capture life's moments in all their beauty. So whether you're planning a wedding in a remote destination or an engagement session in your hometown, we're ready to bring our love for travel and photography to your photo shoot.

Nathan leans against the back of cushioned chair with his camera in hand.

Nathan Payne, CPP

As a photographer, I let my big dreams and an unwavering passion for capturing life's most beautiful moments drive me. Whether it's a breathtaking landscape or the inspiring stories of people's lives, I find endless inspiration in the world around me.

Although I discovered photography later in life, it has quickly become integral to who I am. Through my lens, I capture the unique essence of every subject, bringing their personalities and stories to life in stunning imagery.

Every client deserves exceptional photography, and I am humbled to serve as their photographer. Whether capturing memories for a family portrait session or showcasing a business's products, I approach every project with the same level of care, attention, and dedication.

So, if you're looking for a photographer who will go above and beyond to capture the perfect shot, look no further. My wife and I would be honored to work with you and create stunning, timeless images you will cherish for years.

Thank you for considering us for your photography needs. We cannot wait to meet you and capture your life's most beautiful moments.


Hilary, Creative Director

At Dream Anchor Photography, we pride ourselves on our steadfast, pragmatic, and detail-oriented approach to every project we undertake. So when Nathan first approached me in 2019 with his dream of turning his photography hobby into a business, I knew supporting him in every way possible was essential.

Despite the chaos of starting a business while raising three young children and working part-time, we were determined to make our dream a reality. So when the pandemic hit in 2020 and turned our world upside down, we embraced the change and invested further in our passion for photography. It became our primary income, and we've never looked back.

When you choose us as your photographers, you can trust that we will bring our unique blend of creative vision and practicality to every project. We understand the importance of anchoring our ideas in reality while still capturing the beauty and essence of our subjects. It is our pleasure to create stunning images you'll treasure forever. Thank you for considering Dream Anchor Photography.

Hilary smiles at the camera for a headshot portrait.
The Start?

How Did Dream Anchor Photography Get Started?

Dream Anchor started with Nathan buying his wife, Hilary, a camera for Christmas. Then, two days later, he came up with this question, "What can I do with that?" So he proceeded to photograph everything. He couldn't stop.

To this day, he tells people, "That first year, I took 30,000 terrible photos."

Those 30,000 terrible photos got him over the learning curve. Of course, he also took a few great ones. But, you know, 30,000 terrible ones to get started. 

Where + Where?

Where is Dream Anchor Photography Today? And Where Do You See It Going?

Dream Anchor Photography is the legacy through which we live our life. We have three kids and would love to allow them to grow into a viable and transferable business. So if our kids grow into the business, if it's something they take an interest in, we can pass it along to them.     
Nathan always wanted his photography to go beyond himself. Dream Anchor is an extension of that desire. So when Hilary came into the business, it made sense to build a brand beyond "Nathan Payne Photography." Because then, it's just Nathan. It can't be anything more than Nathan Payne as a photographer.
With Dream Anchor Photography, Hilary can become a photographer, our kids can grow into the business, or we can bring in business partners, which can all be under the Dream Anchor name.

Does Dream Anchor Photography Have a Specialty?

We like big projects. We prefer jobs that have a certain level of complexity to them.


What is Dream Anchor's Motivation Behind Taking on Complex Jobs?

We don't want to show up, take a few pictures, and then walk away. Anybody can take a picture these days. Of course, that's where Nathan started all those years ago, but Dream Anchor will only go so far if we stay there. By taking on complexity, we bring extra value to our clients and remain relevant even though imaging technology keeps advancing exponentially.


Can You Give Us An Example of Dream Anchor's Work?

We did a motorcycle portrait at the Vermont Granite Museum for a client out of Connecticut. He and his bike had an opportunity to do something pretty cool, and he'd heard about us through Wilkins Harley-Davidson. So, we connected with the Director at the granite museum, put together a plan, and invited a couple of our business partners to join in.


Our digital marketing partner Nathan came down to cover behind the scenes. In addition, Wilkins Harley-Davidson interviewed our client about his bike build and his reason for working with us rather than other photographers. They also captured some behind-the-scenes content for themselves.

Why all the Extra Effort?

Our client had an opportunity to get into American Rider Magazine. So we weren't only creating stunning images for personal use; we were looking at creating for a national magazine even though they weren't our clients, per se. 


From that standpoint, the project already had the potential to be something more than pretty images, and spreading that opportunity out to others made sense. As a result, our client received a better experience than we could have produced alone, and including our business partners gave them opportunities to network and create content for themselves. Furthermore, should the entire project make its way into American Rider Magazine, we may all realize new opportunities. The sky is the limit!

Other Projects?

What Other Projects Demonstrate Dream Anchor's Specialties?

We hiked a mountain for one of our clients two days after that motorcycle portrait. He wanted to propose to his girlfriend grandly, and we helped him plan the whole thing. Then, on the day of the job, we traveled fifty miles by car and climbed up a mile to document his proposal at sunset. We also brought champagne, chocolate-covered strawberries, and studio-style photography equipment to complete the job to our standards.


Afterward, we traveled home, edited one portrait as a gift, and wrote the two lovers a personalized letter we sent before bed. Here's an excerpt from that letter, "Adam and Claire, If you ever decide to hike up a mountain, camera in hand, to capture a stranger's proposal to their loved one, I hope you get the pleasure of having a couple like you."

Wow! It Sounds Like You Have A Pretty Solid Understanding of What Dream Anchor Photography Does. But Was It Always This Way?

No. Nathan walked away from a nearly six-figure job. He wasn't happy, and the stress became unbearable. We had no safety net and no game plan moving forward. So Dream Anchor had a rough start.

In other words, we had a Figure-This-Out-and-Do-It-Quickly situation.


On the photography side, people will only hire someone if they can do it right, or at least nobody will pay value if there's no proof in the pudding. So we set to making a portfolio.


We offered our services at little to no cost and leveraged our network to find people who could benefit from them even if we "got it wrong."


To say we didn't have a business is an understatement. We had a dream, but that's about it.


Sounds Tough! What Advice Does Dream Anchor Have for Aspiring Photographers?

If you're considering starting your own photography business:


  1. Get started sooner rather than later.

  2. Be willing to make a crap ton of mistakes.

  3. Get flexible.

  4. Get flexible fast.

  5. Iterate, reiterate, reiterate, and reiterate constantly. The more you follow the iterative process, the better off you are.

  6. Talent may display itself in a flash, but honing your craft through dedicated practice is where success will flourish.

  7. Build a portfolio. (this, too, is an iterative process.)

  8. Start seeing everything as an iterative process.

  9. See #5 again!

  10. Now reread this list again.

How Did Dream Anchor Market Itself When It Started?

We didn't market ourselves in the beginning. It's hard to do that initially, especially if you care a lot about the product you put out but are still determining if you have the skill.


So we leveraged the combined forty-five-plus years of history Hilary and I had in this area. I'd been in retail sales for over 15 years or whatever it was, and Hilary grew up in the area, so we had this group of people that we knew, right?  


So we started inserting ourselves in places, saying, "Hey, if you want to do this, we're doing this." And we offered our photography for free for months. Sometimes, somebody would throw us a $50 bill or something, but we weren't paying the bills that way. So it was still just a dream—an aspiration. 

So, Dream Anchor Started Very Small. Where Did It Start Turning Around?

There are many foundational aspects to our story, and it's hard to say there's a definitive moment—each piece built on another even when we didn't understand the different parts. However, if we had to pinpoint one thing, having a portfolio of work was the most critical aspect of starting Dream Anchor Photography. It's our Proof of Concept if you will.


Once we started building our portfolio, a little business trickled in, and then a little more leaked in until there was a small stream. So looking back on the four years or whatever we've been doing this, although this is the direction we wanted to head in, we had a lot of doubt that our dreams would happen.


It's surprising; there are so many reasons Dream Anchor could have failed, but it didn't. Sure, it's been challenging and took longer than we would have liked, but there's been so much growth, and we're proud of that.

And What Lessons Did You Learn From That Experience?

Other than what we had to say above, here's what we recommend to anyone wanting to follow in our footsteps: Start telling people, "I'll bring my camera with me, I'll do some photography for you, and let's just see what happens."


Then there's no skin off anybody's back. You get to have some fun. The other person gets some images, and everyone goes home, having learned something from the encounter.


After that, if you want to pursue photography still, you must do some soul-searching.


We did it wrong. Nathan wanted to learn the technical aspects of photography—the ins and outs of it. The dream of a business came about because photography is fricking expensive. So, we needed to make it a company to fund Nathan's habit. First, we tried to do it part-time, but then Covid-19 came along, and we started pushing Dream Anchor Photography as our primary source of income.


The minute we knew we wanted to push forward, we should have put the business aspects in place as quickly as possible.

So, Photography Could Have, In Another Life, Stayed a Hobby?

No. Even though photography started as a pastime, it would never stay there for us. Photography had its claws in Nathan, and he wanted to dig into it as deeply as possible. But the business side came in second. 

Last Words?

Any Last Words?

Nathan was 35 before he figured out what he wanted to do when he grew up. He made retail sales for years, got certified as a financial investor, and climbed the corporate ladder as a banker, but he wanted to do something other than that. And so, therefore, it wasn't working.

Photography works for him. It's fun and exciting. So it's pretty cool that, on Thursday, we're in a warehouse and doing a motorcycle shoot. Then, we're on top of a mountain, photographing a surprise proposal on Saturday. Very few businesses could offer that opportunity to us.

If you're trying to figure out your path and have creative aspirations, we suggest you pursue them, and if you do, remember that to bring your art to the world, you will likely have to operate it as a business. 

Obviously, in business, you've got to be consistent. But the creativity and growth we bring back from our photography projects are vital aspects of our life. 

And, finally, we're at a point where we're building out and looking toward paying it forward. Nathan has been honing his craft for nearly five years now. He's learned things he can pass along and will start doing that in 2023.

We're still determining the structure, but we would be happy to hear from you if you want advice.

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