Today was a day I truly thought was never going to come; the day where I would be able to quit my 9-5 corporate job and devote all my energy, time and passions to my photography business.
It’s been such a sought after dream of mine since the first time I picked up a camera – this idea of making a living off of photography. But I had no idea how to get there. I looked at this big mountain of work, and growing in front of me wondering how it was I was going to be able to make it to the other side. Something I heard along the way really stuck with me: one day at a time.
So when I began, that’s what I did. Little by little, I took this dream one day at a time. I knew nothing of how to run, start or even maintain a business! I started watching youtube videos made by established photographers on how to start a business, where to price, what equipment to start on, etc.
I began by photographing horses and riders at the barn I went to. Horses had always been (and still are) my favorite animal and owning two of my own put me up close and personal to witnessing their beauty and grace. Their movements and my connection to them are what made me initially think I wanted to be an equine photographer. So that’s how I started marketing myself on instagram! “ebm photography”. I soon built a decent following by posting equine content. I loved it. But as much as I loved photographing horses, I knew I wanted to do more.
So then I began to reach out to local photographers in the Milwaukee area that shot weddings – asked to second shoot with them for experience. I had always been a lover of weddings and all things romance. Weddings were only the natural next step for a photographer like myself wanting to capture love!
But can I share a secret?
I did not like weddings at first. In fact, I never wanted to do them again. I felt very much out of my element and inadequate.
Being an introvert and working alongside amazing photographers who were outgoing and energetic made me feel like I couldn’t make it successfully as a more quiet and to myself type of person. Not only that, but I felt like a fraud – I knew nothing about photographing weddings and the days were honestly so overwhelming and stressful to me. I felt the need to adapt my personality and be like these other photographers in order to succeed and it really weighed me down. My negative self talk began to creep in and kept me down mentally for a while. Being a Christian, I now look back and realize all that negative self talk was the devil trying to keep me from something great. The devil never wants us to succeed, find fulfillment or purpose. He intends to hold us down in the valley of doubt.
One day at a time is what I kept telling my self. I kept seeking advise from other photographers in the area, kept second shooting weddings, and then slowly started building up my own clients. I started photographing my own family lots and it helped me build my confidence so I could start marketing myself more online towards families and couples. I had some shoots under my belt so I felt I could officially start offering sessions for money.
Then in 2017, one of my friends from my college tennis team reached out to me asking if I could photograph her upcoming wedding. This was the moment I had been waiting for! I had been practicing for the last almost 2 years and I was so flattered and at the same time really excited and incredibly nervous – photographing my FIRST wedding by myself.
So the day came, happened, and then went.
I did it!
My first wedding as a solo photographer and come to find out, I didn’t hate photographing weddings after all. They were fun, exciting, memorable, beautiful and emotional. All the qualities I loved photographing. And better yet, I LOVED seeing how the images turned out! I found such immense joy bringing the photos to life through editing and post processing. The confidence I had lacked started to shine through and I thought to myself, hey, I can do this!
One day at a time.
So here we are, 5 years later and I’m about to embark on my busiest year yet. So many growing pains and much hard work has led me to this point and I can’t describe how weird yet rewarding it feels. I never thought I would be in this position but turns out dreams can come true and I pray the Lord blesses this new venture of business owning and allows me to glorify Him in the process.
One day at a time.