A Decade of Moments
Celebrating 10 years of fits
10 years. Wow. Where to even begin.
I guess I should begin with the irony. I never wanted to be a photographer, exactly. And I mean that in the sense that it wasn't like some burning desire or childhood dream of mine. I didn't grow up admiring photographers or studying the art of photography or anything like that. Now, don't get me wrong, I've always really loved photography as an art form - probably my favorite kind of art, actually - but I wouldn't say I personally ever felt a calling to be a photographer myself.
I was, however, someone who always carried a camera around. If you've stumbled upon the "About" section of my website, you might remember me mentioning that. Before camera phones, I carried a point-and-shoot camera everywhere. I was always taking pictures. I valued documenting the things going on around me. I wanted those memories captured. So now looking back, reflecting on the last 10 years in business and on all the years of subconscious interest in photography prior that led me here, I think it's actually pretty clear.
I didn't dream of being a photographer... I just always was one.
Two Clients Who Started It All
Inspired by photos my grandpa took during World War II, I got interested in pursuing photography as a hobby just after high school. I studied it a little in college and started taking photos with more intention, but just for fun. It wasn't until 2014 when a former coworker saw some pictures I took for a work project and asked me if I took family photos, wondering if I would do some for her family. Like I mentioned before, I never "dreamt" of being a photographer. So it never occurred to me that someone might ever want to pay me for it. But I will admit, I was getting pretty good at it. The more I got interested, the more I started practicing and studying, and learning as much as I could about my cameras and how to leverage their capabilities. I started studying light and composition, and the more I learned, the more I enjoyed about it.
So I accepted my coworker's "business" and she was my first official paying client back in 2014. Word got around work, and soon other coworkers were asking me to do the same for their families, and before I knew it, this little side business was growing right in front of my eyes - all because someone recognized a talent in me that I wasn't sure I even saw in myself yet. And that's why I feel like my passion for photography was something that found me - not something I sought out on my own. It was a gift inside me I didn't know I had. But once it came to be, it lit a fire in me. I loved it so much. And I still do.
To me, that alone was crazy enough - that people were willing to pay me to take family pictures. But it only got crazier in 2016 when a coworker's referral - a stranger to me - asked me to photograph her wedding! I thought she had lost her mind - I had no wedding experience, was she crazy?? The thought of accepting a wedding client scared the crap out of me. That was such an special day in this person's life - I could not be responsible for photos that important...right? Well, I must have been crazy too, because she convinced me, and I accepted. I could now call myself a professional family AND wedding photographer.
And the rest, they say, is history. I won't go into all the things I learned between then and now, but I will never forget either of these two clients because to me, they are the two who started it all. They didn't know it at the time, and neither did I, but those two clients who set me off on this path to a small business that's all my own. The path to a passion that would fuel me creatively, not just for a decade of business, but hopefully for the rest of my life. The path to realizing I was always meant to be a photographer.
I don't know what the future holds for me or my little photography business, but I am incredibly humbled and grateful for everything that got me here.
Reflecting on 10 years in business as a professional photographer gives me a lot of different emotions.
SHOCK & DISBELIEF: that people actually pay me their hard-earned money to capture their special moments. That they value my artistic vision and hard work enough to choose me over someone else. That 10 years of relentless learning, practicing and improving my craft has made me good enough to be confident in my own talent. That 10 years later I'm still enjoying this, and continuing to grow and get better, and clients are coming with me. It's all just incredibly humbling.
FEAR: running a small business (by myself) for years has made me scared many times. Afraid I didn't know what I was doing (I feel like I still don't most of the time). Afraid I couldn't be successful. Afraid I'll never be good enough, and people would see right through me and compare me to photographers who are better than me in every sense of the word (hello, imposter syndrome). Afraid of making mistakes. Scared I wouldn't be able to keep up and be legitimate running this on the side of my full time job, while also raising a young family. Scared of all the legal, tax, and business-y side of things I had to teach myself. Basically, being a business owner is scary. But those challenges make the successes so much more rewarding.
EXCITEMENT: Even 10 years later, I still get SO excited to make pictures. Every new client, new session, new opportunity to capture a special moment for someone, make someone feel beautiful, catch a genuine emotion and freeze it in time. It's so rewarding to me, and I truly enjoy it. You can ask my husband, who teases me sometimes because I often jump right into editing a session I just came home from right away because I am so excited to work on those photos and can't wait.
JOY: But more than anything, it's been joy. Joy in finding something I'm good at and love to do. Joy in capturing other people's joy. Finding joy in the hard work and stressful times because I really love the art - the finished product. Joy in giving myself grace and giving myself credit. Joy in taking pride in this little hobby that turned into a side hustle that turned into a fully-functioning business. 10 years is a long time, and I've accomplished a lot. Continuing to make photography a priority in my life because I find it valuable and it brings me happiness.
GRATITUDE: I am filled with so much gratitude to anyone who ever took a chance on me, believed in me, hired me, complimented me. All of it. For everything I've put into this business, I've gotten so much more out of it because of all the people who have been part of the journey with me. So to anyone that's ever paid me to take a picture, referred me to a friend or family member, liked a photo on social media, anyone who has wished me well in my photography journey or even just had a fleeting thought like, "hey, she's pretty good." THANK YOU. From the bottom of my heart, thank you for being part of what got me to 10 years. Thank you
Here's to the next 10 years!
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