EB is the creative behind the camera for all of our brand photos. She’s responsible for our iconic look and feel, a partner in continuing to push the envelope of how our visual brand represents our values, and a wonderful human in many ways. One of my favorite things about EB is how she (and her husband/business partner) is willing to do what it takes to ‘get the shot’ — like get waist-deep in the water with me and lose her Ray Bans to a rogue wave. I’m so excited for you to know the person and story behind our tone-setting photos you know and love.
Who you are and what do you do?
I’m EB Combs, a native Texan who found her way to Colorado almost a decade ago now. I opened Realm, a natural light photo studio and event venue in Denver in 2019 with my husband, Jonathan and our bestie, Rachel Nichols. The three of us all share a background in branding and also have a heart for entrepreneurship. We were all craving a space such as Realm, so we just freaking made it happen. I’m a photographer by trade and only rarely do I dip my toe back into the graphic design space when projects call for it—otherwise, I predominantly leave those tasks and projects to Jonathan these days. I love working with two of my favorite people on the planet, and with the growth and flourishing of Realm, we’ve had the pleasure of growing our team, building relationships, and flexing new muscles constantly. It’s incredibly challenging and rewarding. Oh, and I take pictures for Curate Well Co. It’s pretty damn fun.
How do you define leadership?
Confidence and humility displayed in good communication and action.
What’s one (yes, just one) thing you’re really good at?
Riding horses. I’ve spent most of my life in a saddle, even though I don’t as much these days. Hoping that will change in the future—ideally sooner rather than later.
Tell us about a time when you realized this is what you were meant to do.
LOL well I’m sure this isn’t supposed to be an equestrian feature, SO we’ll pivot to opening Realm. Rachel, Jonathan and I had the pleasure of working with incredible clients to build out their brands and creative content—only the spaces we were creating in left something to the imagination. We were actually more smitten with some of the event venue interiors in town, but they weren’t accessible and approachable across the board. And we just wanted a place that was excellent and approachable for both celebration and creation—so we put our heads down and spent 3 years bringing Realm to life.
What’s one personal value you hold true in your business?
Everyone is human. We’re booking shoots and events as a inanimate space, but it’s the client experience as well as our internal team experience that makes a business stand out. In design school, we read a book Lovemarks that made a huge impression on me. It was all features about what brands become a lovemark and why. Typically a studio is a pretty hands off, not super warm (and frequently not tidy) experience—our staffed and intentionally hosted studio experience is on purpose. And we’re on the verge of really dialing in the experience for events by taking it to the next level.
What do you do when you’re not working?
My “off” time is usually themed with animals, my people, fitness thangs, and travel. I have a household of extreme love with 2 cats (one nice, one more traditional cat), a very fluffy and loveable golden retriever, and a very very very lovely partner. Jonathan is an incredible enriching part of my life—we really enjoy working together as well as being married. I think I won the lottery with him.
What’s in your 10-year vision?
Oh it’s always changing. We’re big dreamers. Realm is really taking off finally as Covid is calming. It was quite the challenge to have a young business during 2020/2021, and we are so thankful to still be here. I see Realm really growing, and we’re putting some focus in right now to decide where/how we want to steer that ship. I have a feeling horses will grow into a bigger part of my life again, without the competition element involved.
Who is one person who has shown you what’s possible in your life or business? What was the “see to believe” lesson they taught you? (This can be someone you know, someone you don’t know, or even a fictional character!)
EEP. Broken record, sorry—Jonathan. He has an incredibly different perspective and approach to quite literally everything we do in life. This used to feel really frustrating to me, but once I changed the narrative, and realized how freeing and equipping it is to have a whole other uniquely designed person weighing in on every challenge and opportunity, it was a game changer. And I would literally have no fun and work constantly if it weren’t him—he calls a pause frequently and asks for more time for play/travel.
What’s one moment in your life that, looking back on, made you realize you would own your own business?
It was strong aesthetic preferences and honestly necessity. I started designing my own equestrian print magazine ads when I was 14. Everything in the magazines looked the same and were all so blah. So I just decided to do it myself. And then all of the sudden I had clients moments later. I worked for design clients all through college, continued after, still do to this day, and we opened our lil babe, Realm. Entrepreneurship comes very natural to me. Equipping and managing people has been a new skill added to the tool belt in the past few years.
What are three things you always have on you (beside phone, wallet, keys)?
Sunglasses—I’m super light sensitive so I honestly get pretty stressed if I don’t have them on me. And if we’re going to be brutally honest, I finished an outdoor equestrian lesson when I was about 12 years old and my forehead was just so so wrinkly from squinting, so I’m a bit obsessive about sunglasses because vanity. And they for sure make me look cooler than I am—win, win annnnnd win. I hardly carry much else, but I do typically have a hair tie near me because the mane is real, and I always have my LMNT electrolytes every single morning.
This Leaders We Love segment features EB Combs of Realm.
EB Combs is a brand photographer and entrepreneur located in Denver, Colorado. She co-owns Realm, a natural light studio and event venue. EB is an extremely passionate and all-in type of lady, which is often reflected in her relationships with her people (and animals), as well as in her active adventures.