How I Became a Photographer
I am asked more than anything…”How did you get started?” And there really isn’t an answer to how I got started.. because there is so much more to the story than just picking up a camera & learning to use Lightroom.
Over the past 3-4 years, I’ve developed my mindset, business, and cultivated my craft almost every day. There is A LOT of behind the scenes work that led up to where my business is today. SO, I want to answer 4 questions on this topic for any of you who may be thinking of going full-time into photography!
1. What did I do before photography?
I’ve been working since the age of 14, but it wasn’t the typical work like retail, or anything a typical teenager would work. I always had an entrepreneur mindset which seeped into the kind of jobs & hobbies that I had. I did anything from piano lessons, teaching music theory, tutoring in math, a crazy ton of babysitting & really any odd job that I could take. I made money off of a lot of things that built on my strengths. SO, when I began taking photos (around the age of 17-18) just for fun, I had a lot of people telling me… “oh, you have an eye for that.” From there, I just continued to build on my photography & communication skills and seeing what I could do with it. After 2 years of researching, shooting every day, blogging, staying up late to learn Indesign & Lightroom, I finally decided to make photography my full-time job. And to this day, I continue to develop my craft, develop my mindset & build on the foundation that I’ve created in my business.
2. How did I find photography?
I have always been interested in photographs, blogs, graphic design, and all things creative (in other words, I’d go to coffee shops & Instagram them..). While I was in college, I actually planned on majoring in graphic design. BUT once I noticed the talent I had in photography, that completely halted the idea of majoring in graphic design. I understood the aesthetic & the eye I had for photography and decided to keep building on it. All the programs and skills I would have learned in college about graphic design... I ended up learning all on my own. I sat down and spent countless hours practicing & bettering myself on Indesign, Lightroom, and Photoshop. Now - 4 years later, I use these programs every day to create my e-books, images, website, and marketing ads. While I was learning how to use all these programs, I found that I loved creating my website & the imagery to match my aesthetic on Instagram. At the time, I didn’t realize that I was developing a personal brand that eventually would reach my “ideal client.”
3. How I felt about photography
FUN FACT: I actually did NOT like photography 4 years ago. I saw photography as a way to better my “my eye” and my craft as a creative. I really enjoyed piecing images together (ex: creating blog posts) & loved the idea of some-day owning a business - thinking I would end up being a graphic designer. So, ultimately that motivated me to give photography a shot. After investing so much of my time & money into this “hobby” I had, I knew it was time to take it seriously. Up until 2 years ago, I was extremely hesitant to make this a career. But what really pushed me was the business podcasts & books I started to read. With the knowledge I gained from them, I knew I I need 100% ALL IN this business I’ve created & be CONFIDENT in my skill to do so. I had (and still have) this love/hate relationship with photography because it is ever-growing, which I think is great. As a photographer, I have to keep up with trends, equipment, programs, newest workshops & presets. And sometimes, it can stress me out (as I’m sure it does with so many of my photographer friends!). But what keeps me going is the feeling I get when I create images for my clients & the energy I have when I achieve my goals. So hey, it’s a win-win!
4. How did photography turn from a passion into a business?
Weird enough, it was actually the opposite for me at first… When I finally invested in a DSLR, my mindset with photography was to make money (to then invest in other gear, etc). As I started to cultivate my craft & really experiencing joy in working with my clients, it then became a passion. You know when you’re in love? You always think of that person. You just want to be better for them, help them & serve them.. That’s what happened to me. I started to always think about photography all of the time - I wanted to progress in this competitive industry & see where it could really take me. And it all came from this absolute love for growth in myself & seeing growth in others. From the very beginning, I had this ultimate desire to create and help others to create. And now, I am the happiest when I see everyone around me succeeding at what they love to do.
So if you’re just “starting out” or developing your brand right now, I have some tips! 1) MAKE GOALS for where you want to be in a month, in a year, where you want to be financially & personally 2) BETTER YOUR STRENGTHS with every shoot & every job you take 3) FAIL HARD and better your business & mindset from it.