February 7, 2012

My Story

Posted in: Uncategorized

As many of you know I come from a small town and when I run into old friends or acquaintances they all seem to want to know one thing, “How did you get into photography?” Well I don’t believe any photographer “gets” into photography. I believe that we’re all born with a creative edge to see the world through a lens and our goal is to make sure everyone sees our vision. 
But there is some logic to why I wanted to become a professional photographer. A couple of years ago I realized that my great grandmother was going to be turning 90 in a couple years and our family really didn’t have that many photos with her in them. I’m talking about the huge family photos you have of all the aunts, uncles, siblings, grand children and great grand children. You never know how much time you have on this earth and I desperately wanted to slow down time and take as many pictures as I could of her. I wanted pictures of her so that one day I could show my children how wonderful she was and how I wished they could have met her. This past October, 2 years after I purchased my first DSLR camera, my great grandmother passed away. I’m so proud to say that she’s the reason I even bought my camera in the first place. And my life hasn’t been the same since.
In the past 2 years I’ve come a long way. I first started taking portraits, because I work full time as a graphic designer and wasn’t sure how my time management would be. But my real love is weddings. I didn’t want to just jump right in with weddings without knowing my camera and how aperture, exposure and ISO all worked together. I think most people just think you snap the camera and boom… you have a great photo. IT’S A LOT MORE WORK THAN THAT. Portraits are great and I absolutely love taking senior portraits, but weddings are where I want to push my business to. I want to be that photographer where when a girl gets engaged she HAS to call/email me the next day to see what dates I have available. Not just because my photos are great, but because she likes me and my style and we have something in common (hopefully). I want to become friends with my future brides, not be the girl they hire and never speak to again until the wedding day.
Which brings me to the reason for this blog post. Next month, my favorite photographer, Katelyn James, is having a workshop, “The Workshop Experience” where she’ll be sharing with us some tips on how to grow our business, take amazing photos, and help us move our businesses on to the next level. Katelyn, being the sweetest and most unselfish person I know (I say I know because I literally feel like I stalk her blog a million times a day and I feel like we’re BFFs) is giving away a free seat to her workshop, which I think is simply amazing and thoughtful. She wants to hear OUR story and how we got into photography. 
This workshop would mean the world to me, not only because it will help my business grow tremendously but I would get to learn from a photographer who is eager to share her knowledge in order to help another photographer succeed. You have no idea how valuable that is in our field. All we do is wish and pray for some photographer to take us under their wing and show us the ropes. When I first started taking pictures 2 years ago, I remember emailing an bunch of photographers in the St. Louis area asking if I could second shoot weddings (for free) or even just be an assistant for the day and nobody ever emailed me back. It was hurtful in a way that nobody trusted me enough to take their knowledge and flow it into my own business. It’s a cut throat business to most, but Katelyn sees it as an opportunity to network and an opportunity for photographers to grow. I wish most photographers in my area were like her and were willing to give me a chance. We’re all unique in our own way so there’s no need to keep secrets. Since nobody was willing to give advice and college courses just weren’t an option, Google has been my lifesaver, along with YouTube tutorials. I always say, “I Googled my way into photography” as a joke but it’s really the truth. I spent many hours sitting at home reading blogs and watching videos on how to get light to work for my photos and how to achieve a certain look. Google and YouTube are great but I want to take my business to the next level. If I get this opportunity to go to the workshop and get hands-on training from Katelyn … well that would be a dream come true!
I hope you all read this and get a sense for why I’m doing why I’m doing. I’m not just a girl making some extra cash on the evenings and weekends. I really take photography seriously and see it becoming a full time career sometime in my future. Right now I have the best of both worlds. Graphic designer by day, photographer by night/weekend. 
It all started with a girl who simply wanted to take more pictures of her great grandmother… and the rest is history!
  1. Katelyn James

    February 9th, 2012 at 7:38 pm

    This is beautiful!! So beautiful! What an amazing story of love and passion for not only photography but your great grandmother. Thank you so much for sharing!!

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