I am a mother, a wife and with my husband in the Marine Corp, we are constantly moving. I wanted to work but I also wanted to stay home with my kids. So, I needed a job that I basically could take anywhere. I have done crafting, crocheting beanies, blankets and cute outfits from even trying my hand at artwork. None of which stuck with me and I wasn't as passionate about it. Ya it was fun but those didn't give me that drive to push myself or even stick with something for more than a few months. I have always loved taking pictures through out my teen years but had no interest in photography and didn't really think much of it till later on in life.
It all began when my husband received orders to his first duty station, Kaneohe, Hawaii. We got married, spent a week with family and friends, said our goodbyes and headed our way to our new home for 3 years. What can I say, Hawaii is beautiful. The scenery is amazing and we met some amazing people and friends there. We had our daughter and being first time parents you photograph and record everything. When my daughter was about 1-1 1/2 I took her to a park so she could play. I was taking pictures on my phone( and yes thats kind of where the inspiration of being a photographer came from) and looking back at what I took I thought maybe I can be a photographer. The one thing I did was pray about what God wants me to do, what is his calling for me and my life? That's when he spoke to me photography. Honestly I sat there thinking really...photography? Hmm ok if it's your will than let it be done. I talked to my husband about it and I found a camera I really love. A red Nikon camera with a 32x optical zoom. I couldn't change out lenses or anything but I didn't care because it was red. I waited a bit cause we didn't have the funds for it. I finally got the camera when we had the funds and that's the time when my husband was away for training for a few months. My husband was away a lot for training pretty much through out our daughter growing up in Hawaii. With the new camera I documented everything especially when her first birthday came around. I took a ton of pictures on my new camera and phone and sent them to my husband because he was away and was upset that he wasn't there for her first birthday(you may think ya but there will be more but surprisingly he has missed quit a few of her birthdays and every time she has gotten upset but thats military life for you). I never edited my images, didn't know anything about Lightroom or photoshop but still took pictures anyway. I took a ton and my husbands laptop crashed as we backed up all the images and videos..figures right. I was devastated and thought its like she never existed and all we had left was the ones we took on our phones. Well moving forward I was pregnant with my second when my husband had orders to Yuma, Arizona( First I didn't know there was a base in Yuma and both me and my husband grew up in Arizona).
We made it to Yuma, Arizona and my photography career didn't fully start till a year after I had my son. I started November 21st, 2014 and being honest I was completely nervous and a wreck whether or not if this would go far or if anyone would really like my work. I was taking a leap of faith, trusting god that whatever his plan is it will turn out for the better. The first year was the hardest for me. I photographed everything I could and I mean everything. I knew the basic of Lightroom at this point and thought at the time my images were amazing(I look back now and think wow not so much but hey we all start somewhere , right). I would say I only had a couple people the first year and that was it. I made mistakes within the first year and learned from them. By the second year I was doing better than the first year. I had just a tad more people book which was great and I was still pretty much photographing everything. My editing style I would say has changed by the second year and I knew a little bit more about Lightroom. I was pretty much watching videos, learning more and more about the business portion of it all and constantly learning more how to pose, bring in clients and more. I was learning something new everyday but I could tell I was growing and my name was getting out there and I was happy with that. My prices were crazy low and I wasn't making anything to pay myself or anything in my business but at the time I didn't want to raise my prices cause I was still new to photography.
My third year of business rolls around and I am doing way better than the second. I did the Children's Ball of Yuma, got to photograph dancers at the dunes, my work was shown on a billboard and I was getting a ton of clients. I raised my prices a bit more around the $200 range and up and to be honest it wasn't enough to provide for my family because all that money went to prints, bills and taxes and I was left with nothing to pay myself a decent salary. I was frustrated at times but I love the challenge the third year brought me. I actually figured out what I enjoy photographing and what I don't enjoy. It was a successful third year regardless for me, I met new clients and had returning clients. Rolling into the fourth year with a whole new attitude, goals and dreams and have learned a lot from some amazing photographers and photography groups that I am in. It was slow to start out with but being that it was a new year I had to get back in the groove of it all. Come February thats when things started to pick up for me which was great. I was growing my business which is a dream of mine and I was doing things I never thought I would do. I started hand painting my backdrops, I did the Children's Ball of Yuma again and this time we did pictures in a farm field which was so much fun and I will always remember that day.
I was doing pretty well during the summer time which was great. When I hit about September thats when I started slowing down only cause I doubled my price and I am glad I did. I can actually pay not only myself but provide for my family, pay bills and taxes. Not a lot of people understand that this business of mine is my full time job, it helps support my family so were not relying on my husbands salary alone. I still was positive knowing it would pick back up for me and let me tell you it has. I have not only been busy with sessions but have also started blogging and documenting my families crazy adventures more and more.
Since we are coming close to the end of year I didn't meet my goal but I am optimistic I will reach it next year. I am so happy with how these four years have been and it just gets better and better each year. I will say that it hasn't been all cupcakes and roses for me(if i make it look that way trust me it's not). It is always a challenge for me and literally pushing myself to be better than I was yesterday. I am still learning everyday and constantly growing. I love, love my work and the fact that I am able to be creative and tell a story. I still am amazed that I am at four years going on five next year and I am looking forward to the new year, new clients, new challenges and exciting events that will be happening next year.
If you held out this long, I want to encourage you whether you are wanting to run a business of your own or you are not sure to start one. We have all been there and understand the frustration, the nerves and not knowing what will happen with it all. Take that jump and set goals and dreams for not only yourself but where you want to be in life. Make everyday a great day and see the blessing and beauty of it all because YOU ARE WORTH IT.