Happy New Year!
As I look back on this photography journey of mine, I am reminded of where it all began. I thought it’d be fun to share exactly how I got started so you can learn a little more about me!
While in high school, one of my elective art classes was a photography course where I learned basic photography skills using a black and white film camera. I loaded film, developed it in a lab by myself, and created prints in a dark room. One of my prints actually won 2nd place at the Arizona State Fair! It was mostly an elective and hobby, I never used my film camera for everyday life. When I got to college, I never thought to pursue photography as a career since it wasn’t as big of an industry as it is now. Instead, I focused on my business degree, with an emphasis in finance and a minor in math.
Once I graduated, I moved to San Diego where I met my husband. We got married in 2011, after a 2 year engagement while he finished his MBA. After our wedding, I decided I needed a hobby that wasn’t a baby 😉 This was at the time when Pinterest was becoming popular and I began following a lot of really amazing photographers. I was desperate to take photos that captured our everyday life and travels, so I decided to sell a bunch of clothes and other items around the house that we didn’t need, use all my birthday and Christmas money, and purchased my first dSLR, a Canon Rebel T3i, and a Tamron zoom lens.
I never learned how to use auto mode, I jumped right into manual mode and never looked back! I took photos of EVERYTHING (mostly my cat). I asked friends and family members to take photos of them, their kids, their pets. I went to botanical gardens for close-up/detail shots, and hiked to the tops of mountains for landscape shots. I bought Lightroom and began playing around with how to edit my images. I was completely absorbed in this new world of digital photography and the instant gratification of seeing the images I took within seconds (such a change from film!).
In 2012 and 2013, I began charging (a verrrry small amount) to clients for family, maternity, and newborn sessions as a part-time gig. I saved enough to get a Canon 50mm f/1.4 lens. I created a website and continued to learn as much as I could about posing, lighting and editing.
When 2014 rolled around, we went through a LOT of changes. Our son was born and we relocated to Dallas when he was one month old. We were fortunate enough for me to be able to stay home, and I focused on being a first time mom, while taking weekly photos of his first year. I played around with lighting and positioning, using cute props, mastering the best angles.
I continued to grow my clientele in 2015, and kept toying with the idea of really pursuing this as a legitimate business. I was still really uncomfortable calling myself a photographer and knew I had a lot to learn about the business aspect. In May 2016, 0ur daughter was born. Something shifted within me and I felt this urge to move full force into growing my business and my photographic style. I began following really inspirational photographers, reading articles and blog posts about running a business, joining Facebook groups, learning new apps and programs to help create a consistent client experience. I accepted every opportunity that came my way. I continued to photograph my daughter weekly, which also pushed my creativity.
When 2017 rolled around, I had a plan. I decided to do a mentorship program with Tanya Menoni of Tenth & Grace. I began creating my new website and logo, wanting a real brand that represented me and my style. I was determined to create consistent images at every shoot, and would pick something new to try at every session. Most importantly, I began to provide a high-end client experience, offering a studio wardrobe, streamlining my business using Honeybook and created a Session & Style Guide. I joined Instagram and within a year gained almost 500 followers (a HUGE accomplishment for me!). I even had the honor of being featured on two photography website blogs for a maternity session and family portrait session!
I have so many goals for 2018, and can’t wait to see how it all unfolds! I have worked so hard to get where I am today, and can only dream of where this business will take me down the road. My biggest lesson as I look back is simply to take it one day at a time. Don’t compare yourself to others, but learn from those who inspire you. Community over competition, all the way.