Behind the Lens...
The paperback version.
I don't have some amazing story about how at age 2 I had a pretend camera I was obsessed with and a passion flourished by age 5. I never sought out to be a photographer, it sought me.
I grew up in a large family of 11 kids. We are all outgoing with great senses of humor (but for the record, I am the funniest). My dad is an amazing chef,my mom bakes, and my parents never mentioned anything to us about how we looked physically, all we ever felt was love. Therefore I was a happy, but really chunky kid :) I remember boys teasing me about my knees, or pointing out the dimples on my thighs..in high school I got stood up for prom. But it never changed my outgoing personality. I was friends with a lot of people at school, all the different groups.I truly have a love for people in general.
Fast forward to having our first son and getting postpartum depression. Never knew what it was, and definitely didn't know it could even set in WHILE you are pregnant! It just never went away. I still had my outgoing and fun personality, but now it had to wear a large heavy coat of steel. It took everything I had to leave the house, all I ever wanted to be was at home.
But here is the problem, I have uber creative entrepreneurial blood from my dad and Polly Positive genetics from my mom. I woke up one day when my oldest son was about 1 and felt like sewing (for the first time). All my friends were having babies and I didn't have money for great gifts, so I decided to make my own diaper bags. My mom is an awesome seamstress, surely I could figure it out. I told my dad my vision and soon after, a $100 sewing machine showed up at my door in a walmart box.
I made my own patterns with simple math and suddenly was getting orders for them. After my second baby, it evolved into making leather baby shoes and leather hair accessories. I heard of a site called Etsy where you could sell your handmade goods. I posted crappy pictures of my hard work and listened to the crickets. I quickly learned that you could sell dog poop in a hair net on that site if you had a trendy picture of it. Christmas was coming up and I explained my current 'marketing' concerns to my dad and that I could really use a point and shoot camera instead of my cell phone for product pictures. Another package at the door, but mr-over-achiever sends me my first dslr, a good old Canon Rebel.
I dove into the users manual but nothing clicked quite like hands-on experience for me, so I enlisted my friends to let me take pictures of their babies wearing my accessories. These little shoots turned into 'well, take the accessories off and lets try this__ for fun' which turned into people asking me to take photos because I had a 'big camera'. $25 per shoot, you got it! I had to teach myself something new in each new scenario, constantly growing. Not because I wanted to become some world renowned photographer, but because I never wanted to let them down, and I love the challenge. But most of all, I loved the relationship with all of those I was blessed to work with. That heavy coat felt a lot lighter when I was taking pictures.
What was happening here didn't have anything to do with growing a business. In retrospect, God was answering my pleas to help with the depression, beyond what an amazing doctor and modern medicine could ever do. Developing this talent has done more than create a career. I've been able to have client experiences and relationships I never ever would have had any other way. Lifelong friends. I live for that.
So that's it in a nutshell. 9 self-taught years since that Canon Rebel arrived at my door. I feel like the black sheep in the industry because I'm not big on marketing or advertising, I don't care how many 'likes' I have and I definitely don't shoot to appeal to the latest Instagram trends. You will occasionally see me bring a fart gun to a session. Or wedding. I'm the hardest person to offend. Yet I somehow stay super busy from all of the referrals my amazing clients send me.
I still have that 11 year old sewing machine by the way, a constant reminder to never stop trying new things. Also a constant reminder that I need to fix holes and seams in the giant pile of clothes next to it.
<<---Don't let those adorable faces fool you, they are my absolute worst clients. And they never pay their invoices.