My journey with photography starts as most do- I randomly picked up a camera one day and fell in love with it!
I started photography back in high school, sometime in 2014. I took on a handful of senior portraits and family sessions. I worked with a free editing software, a Canon Rebel T2i, and a kit lens. Photography became a really fun creative outlet for me and a nice way to make some money while in high school. The only thing that felt “legit” about my work was that I had a Facebook page for it- I mean, come on… that just screams professional HA.
In the summer of 2016, I got contacted by a family friend to shoot video for a wedding. I had basic training in video production and had attended a few weddings, so I figured I could handle it! I ended up charging them $275 (I thought that was a lot) for me to shoot 8 hours, return a 3-minute video and drive 45 minutes there & back. I thought, WHAT A GIG! After the wedding, I got home and immediately began to edit the video. I sent it over the next morning and that was that!
After a year and a half of college, I decided to add a minor in photography to my degree in Media Communications. I thought it would be the perfect compliment to my self-taught talents.
In 2018, I really began to pursue my “business” and marketed myself as a wedding videographer. As a collegiate basketball player, I basically had no time to do anything besides schoolwork and basic social gatherings. Each time that summer rolled around, I was able to dip my toes in more & more weddings. Though these were primarily weddings located in Indiana (my IWU friends were marrying right out of college so I had the perfect clientele), I was geeked to be a part of someone’s big day.
When I graduated college, I was looking high and low for a job that I would love! Everything I found just seemed OK. However, I finally accepted a position as a Marketing Manager in May of 2019 at an adhesive company in Rockford, MI. Yes, you read that right… an adhesive company. I was working on marketing glue. I felt stuck (lol… but, really, it was entirely out of my wheelhouse). I was feeling really torn because I was working weddings on the weekend while still working 8-5 during the weekdays. I desperately desired to quit my job and pursue photography full time, but me and my husbands financial situation stood in the way as I was the primary source of our income.
As 2019 was coming to a close, my husband and I began to talk about what it would take for me to be able to quit my job- This was where the Lord really worked in my business! We decided that I would quit if I could book enough weddings to match what I make at my (then) current job. However, if I could first transition into being part-time that would be sufficient for the time being.
A few months later, I was preparing to have my first employee review with my boss. In this meeting I proposed that I go part-time, believing that I could handle all of my work responsibilities in 20 hours rather than 40 hours a week. When the answer to this proposal was “no”, I had to make the tough decision- quit and take a risk or keep my job and continue to daydream about photography. I had two weeks to decide. Within those two weeks, the Lord filled my inbox with so many wedding inquiries and I booked 10 more weddings!
In March of 2020 (yes, the infamous Covid year) I was able to step away from my 8-5 desk job and pursue a full-time career in photography! Once I went full-time, I hit the ground running and started to grow my business exponentially. Here are a few things I did to start growing my business:
- Attended photography workshops
- Photoshoot giveaways
- Hosted multiple styled shoots
- Listened to business podcasts like
Since then, I have found creative freedom, doubled my income while taking on fewer projects, niched down to photograph what I’m most passionate about, and led other women in photography!
If you are in a season of hoping to pursue your passion full time. I would encourage you to keep attacking both jobs to the fullest and start making goals.
What I use to believe:
- I have to take on every project
- I will experience burn out
- Self-employment means I have to run my business alone
What I believe now:
- There is freedom in saying no
- Niching down to selective projects is fruitful and sustaining
- Finding other creatives to bounce ideas off of is amazing