July 18, 2020
“Love what you do.”
• Originally written in July 2015. Stored as a draft for 5 years. Publishing today on my 12 year business anniversary because when I came across it last night, I realized that the scary part of my story isn’t so scary anymore. I’m so grateful for all of the beautiful people in my life that contributed in the healing of my soul. Photography saved me. Thank you for joining me on my journey.
People often ask me how I came into photography. Did I know as a young child that I wanted to be an artist? Did I go to school for photography and art? How long have I been shooting?
The truth is, I never considered photography or art while dreaming of my future careers as a child.
- No, I didn’t plan on being an artist.
- I did not go to school for art or photography. I learned through trial and error, reading books, online resources, asking questions… I’m still learning every day of my life. (The day you stop learning is the day you begin to die.)
- I’ve been shooting for a very long time… but I consider 2008 as my first year of real shooting.
In my very young years, I was convinced that I wanted to be a lawyer. I knew how to make an argument and I was going to be the very best darn lawyer there ever was. Get paid to fight?? YES! Little did I know… Ha.
Then, as I got older, I decided that I was going to be a forensic pathologist. I wanted to be the one that investigated a crime scene and told everyone exactly how a person died. You know, like CSI. The science intrigued me. So much so, that I actually went to the local coroners office and asked questions. Got a tour of the place, walked into the freezer where they held the bodies, watched a video of a real autopsy. I was set. That’s what I wanted to do.
Fast forward to after high school… I changed my mind yet again. I wanted to deliver babies. Or help save lives in the ER. I needed something fast paced, something to keep me on my toes. I had dreams of becoming a registered nurse and maybe one day a nurse practitioner. My dreams were large. I was headed in the right direction. I loved working with people and helping people. I pursued my nursing career and got (close) to my dream job working in the San Joaquin ER. I didn’t have a nursing degree but I was determined to get it done.
Life had other plans. I was a young mom at the time. Unmarried and living with my parents, working the 12 hour graveyard started to take it’s toll on me. Not because I was tired. I actually work better at night. I thrived during my shifts. I was learning so much and enjoyed taking care of patients. I have always been a night owl and to this day, tend to do my very best work while everyone sleeps. The pressure came from my partner, the person who should have been my biggest supporter. But with no emotional support and an increasing pressure to quit coupled with tons of guilt trips and accusations of being a terrible mom, I made the decision to quit and be a stay at home mom to my sweet 4 year old son. (I do not regret being a stay at home mom, don’t get my words twisted. I loved being home with my babies.) I just wish I had stood up for myself a little better. (That’s a story for another day.)
So… how did I find photography? Photography actually found me!
I started pursuing photography because what do moms do? They take pictures of their kids and document every single life moment! At this point I was married with 4 kids and needed an outlet. I wasn’t in a very healthy environment and I needed something to keep me sane. I discovered Adobe Photoshop and photography.
Even though I’ve always taken photos of everything, my photos were always normal. Nothing particularly special. Just random life moments.
I discovered my love for lifestyle photography through digital scrapbooking and graphic arts. To have a scrapbook, you have to have photos… and I wanted my photos to be great! I was gifted a Canon digital rebel and started to teach myself photography. I read resources online and researched EVERY.DAY. I practiced on my children… to the point that they would run when they would see my camera. And I actually became pretty good at the art. Something clicked! I started shooting friends for fun and fell in love with the emotional connection of photography.
In 2008, I felt confident enough in my skills to go into business. I purchased my business license, made business cards and started booking my first REAL clients. I was so excited! I was in love with the art of photography and I was passionate about the results. The timing felt right. My 3 older children were in school, and my youngest was old enough to handle mommy working for a few hours a day. Photography still allowed me to take care of people. I was on cloud nine!
Then life became crazier and took a twist that I should have seen coming but chose to ignore the red flags.
All of a sudden, I was separated, getting divorced, and had 4 kids to take care of. What in the world was I going to do?? I had no college degree, no real job experience. Threatened with homelessness and poverty and dragged through multiple court sessions… I was anxious, scared, feeling vulnerable and worried for our futures.
But then I remembered what I DID have… And all my fears fell away.
I had God on my side, a family that loved and supported me, and a baby business that began thriving from the passion I had inside. God started clearing pathways and opening doors for my little family and I felt so FREE.
Yes, there were terrifying and scary moments that had me questioning if I was doing the right thing. But at the end of the day, I knew, that I finally found what I was supposed to do.
Photography truly saved my life. Each person I’ve met along my journey helped patch a piece of my broken soul. I feel so, so, incredibly blessed and thankful to be a part of so many precious memories.
“The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.” – Steve Jobs
For more info about the artist: click here.