I don’t know why I thought photography could only be a hobby for me… my parents always made sure I knew that I could be whatever I wanted to be and that if God was calling me to something I should go after it… but I guess I thought that photography wasn’t something I could do for a living. I bought my first digital SLR in the spring of 2006 and shot my first official session with it when my sister asked me to take her senior portraits. She came down to Wilmington where I was at school and for two days we went ALL over the place taking photos and y’all I LOVED it. I loved that I could play and not have to worry about how much film I had… I loved that I could literally give her the images before she went back home. I fell in love with photography even more and at that moment decided that I wanted to learn even more about photography. Over the next few years if friends asked me take their photos I would!! I did family photos, engagement photos, senior photos and just had lots of fun with my new camera. Granted, I did it all for free but I loved it and was learning and I was okay with that!!
When Gary & I got married in the fall of 2007 and we moved to Northern Virginia at some point I decided to create my first website… I have no idea why I decided I could make a website and I wasn’t sure if I’d ever make a dime off of this hobby that I loved but I did it and gosh I wish I had taken a screen shot of it!! It wasn’t the prettiest thing in the world… but I was finally willing to think about doing this photography thing on the side!!! It took us moving to Texas and me loosing the job that I had for me to really take photography seriously!! I lost my job on October 31, 2008 and that night met the executive pastor at the church that planted the church my parents had gone to Texas to start and he asked me to come in for an interview that coming Monday…. well that week I started working part time at a church and that’s when all the pieces for me started to fall into place!! I asked a few of my new friends there in Texas to “model” for me (HUGE SHOUT OUT TO MATT & MEAGAN!!!!!!! ) and then reached out to a totally random wedding photographer JANINE (y’all she looked nice in her photo and I thought “ohh I’d like to be her friend” and I really thought she wouldn’t write me back… but she did and now 10 years later she is one of my dearest friends and she taught me sooooooo much about wedding photography!!). From there I started tagging along (for giggles… she didn’t pay me… I just wanted to learn and see if this was something I wanted to do) and I kept photographing friends and then that spring I had moms of high school seniors ask if they could HIRE me to photograph their daughters senior photos!!!
Y’all it was all SOOO fun!!! Was I making any money? ummm not quite!! But I didn’t care because I was learning and growing and making a little here and there and then investing the TINY bit I did make all back into my business and just super excited that people wanted me to take their photos!!! Y’all I was soo new and green and totally shooting sessions in automatic (I can’t believe I just put that out there on the world wide web) but it’s the truth and it’s where I started and I’m soo soo proud of where I started and where I am now almost 11 years later in this business & with photography!!! The biggest thing for me early in my business was the fact that Janine literally let me tag along to ANY & EVERY wedding she photographed!! She let me shoot and ask questions and just observe her. She challenged me to NOT photograph ANYTHING in auto and learn manual… so I did. I started learning how to shoot in manual and then upgrading my camera gear little by little so I wasn’t photographing sessions & weddings with a kit lens and I started seeing myself improve the more I grew & learned and more and more people started asking me to take their photos and I took almost everything that came my way and fell in love more and more!!
Some people are probably thinking…. why on earth did you just revel to the interwebs that you started off your photography business shooting in automatic and shooting for free? And my answer is because it’s my story. It’s where I started. I don’t want to hide that I had NO idea what I was doing. I knew my way around a film camera but for whatever reason didn’t feel like I could find my way around a digital camera (I know that sounds silly but it was how I felt)… I had no idea that what started as a hobby would then a few years later have people wanting to pay me to photograph their families & weddings & seniors!! The start of my business isn’t all fairy tale and roses and that’s why I want to share my story because I want people to know that we all start somewhere!! When I started the resources available to photographers & business owners today were NONEXISTENT!!! If I wanted to learn anything I had to jump in head first and learn it hands on… hoping on photography forums and read articles… read books… I didn’t have photographers that were putting out courses every few months that literally walk you through A-Z of starting a business & being a photographer & how to shoot & etc… at my fingertips. I had to literally get in the trenches and do the work and learn and I am SOOOOO SOOO thankful for that work and learning and failures and success that happened!!
I want people to know that you can go after your dreams. For some it’ll be easy… for others really hard. But neither is better or worse than the other. Whatever we go through is part of our story and part of what makes us who we are and makes our businesses what they are. Sure there are parts of my story that I wish wouldn’t have taken me so many years… but if given the choice to go back and not have to go through those years I wouldn’t change a thing because it’s made me who I am as a business owner, photographer, and person!! I’m just glad I started somewhere & I’m excited to keep sharing with y’all my story!!!
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I am so glad that you stopped by my online home!! One of my favorite things to do is share my clients’ images!! It gives you a look at the kind of images you will receive if you hire me to be your photographer. If you would like to see what a full session or wedding looks like, please feel free to ask!
If you are interested in having me as your Wedding or Portrait Photographer, please fill out this form and I will get back to you with all of my information. For a quick glimpse of who I am click here. Here is a glimpse of investment information. If you’re ready to book your wedding or session go ahead and click on the contact button above or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I am currently booking winter 2019 sessions & weddings into the spring of 2020. I take a very limited number of weddings & sessions each year so that I can focus on giving my clients the best possible experience & so I can spend time with my sweet family. I love what I do & I am looking forward to chatting with you & documenting your sweet memories!!
**Photos from this post were taken by Julia Fay Photography!!**