Most of the time, when you read about photographers, there, at some point, was a love for photography early on. I was not one of those. To be honest, it took me a bit to sit down and really dig into my mind of when did my journey start?
I noticed my love for photography really hit home in 2004-2005. At that time my oldest son was 2-3 years old and I wanted nice pictures of him. But the thought of having a photography business never once crossed my mind. If you‘d told me back then where I’d be today, I never would’ve believed you.
My passion was actually in the medical field. I was an eager young 20’s Mom desperately seeking to enter a nursing program. I completed a Health Unit Coordinating certificate during my journey and I made great attempts at reaching my ultimate goal, which was pursuing a medical career. During my program in 2006, I took a film class. I purchased an old Nikon F series from my step dad and that was my very first “real” camera. I LOVED it. While I had no idea what I was doing, I was diggin’ it.
From there, I continued my academic career and was incredibly inspired by my brother who is a Radiologist. I decided I wanted to pursue a career as a Physician’s Assistant (PA). In 2010, I visited the University of Detroit Mercy to have a plan put together. At this point I felt my path was being made and this was it! I attended a local college to follow that plan and it was then when my life changed.
In 2010, my husband bought me my very first DSLR (after many years of complaining and wanting one – ha!), a Nikon D90. The nagging worked and I was ready to photograph my kids and have “pretty” pictures. I had some basic knowledge of the settings but what I knew was that I was rusty not that great. Well oh MY, learning photography was not as easy as I thought it was. But there was this crazy burning passion inside of me.
My plans for the medical industry changed and I switched towards business. I, at this time had three children, expecting my fourth, and was in school full time. There was just something about photography that resonated with me and I was determined. I would spend every waking moment photographing my kids, stuffed animals, using different lights, etc… To say my life was hectic is an understatement. I would stay up until late hours and wake up early just to complete homework, study, then get to my camera. From the Fall of ‘10 until Spring ‘11 I decided I wanted to pursue the photography business. I was that Mom who purchased a camera from Costco and decided to become a photographer… well, sort of. I started purchasing backdrops from JoAnn Fabrics, I bought a stand, and I would constantly make my kids model (poor babies ha!).
During this process I had friends bring their kids over just so I could test/photograph them. I would give them their images as a thank you and this is really how it started.
In the spring of ’11, I upgraded my camera body to a Nikon D700. I applied for my LLC, started an insurance policy and it expanded from there. I started charging very minimal to help cover the costs of discs and minor expenses. In June 2011, I photographed my very first wedding as a second shooter, for free. I was 9 months pregnant, in the heat of the summer, working hard to get it right. I left that particular wedding knowing, this is it. I found my passion.
It just so happened that an old friend was getting married and asked me to photograph her wedding. I declined in complete fear. However, after photographing the wedding in June of ’11, she asked me again and I accepted. Because she’s close to me, she knew it was going to be my very first wedding alone. I photographed it and loved every second of it.
For the first two years, I photographed wedding after wedding after wedding as a second shooter for free in exchange to use images in my portfolio. My family had to sacrifice for my passion. I knew if it weren’t for photography it would’ve been for my academic career.
So here I am today, almost four years later, a self taught portrait and wedding photographer. I have hosted my very first workshop in December 2013 and I’m thrilled to be apart of the Click Away Conference as a small group speaker in September 2014 in beautiful Salt Lake City, Utah. I continue to teach myself and strive to be the best I can be to create images for amazing people. The learning never stops and that is what’s so great about the world of photography.