Sit down and listen up. Are you ready? Are you sure? Am I hyping this too much? Possibly. Anyways...
I am officially a full-time, self-employed photographer as of 12pm today. Oh gosh, those are words I never expected to say…or type. It has been a bit of a whirlwind but also a long time coming. And no matter how long I've been anticipating saying those words, I am still overwhelmed by it all in the best way possible.
When I was in college, I remember knowing other kids who were “photographers” (they took cool photos of their food and friends pre-iPhone Portrait Mode and called themselves photographers) and I was always so impressed by it. But I never, ever contemplated it being something to pursue for myself. When I bought my first DSLR in 2012, it felt like a fun hobby I could use for my family but that was as far as my thoughts wandered. Even after I began accumulating gear I had only dreamed about, I didn’t identify as a legitimate photographer. I was just someone who took decent photos and had some extra money to invest in cool toys. As I booked more jobs and my hobby took over my free time (aka my whole life), people would ask me if I wanted to go full time and I ALWAYS said, “That’s the dream. Maybe in two or three years.” But deep down, it was a dream I didn’t dare to dream. Dreaming big is scary as crap.
Cut to fall wedding season in 2016. It was the busiest I have ever been in my life. Between my 8-5 corporate job and photography, I worked 80 hour weeks for about 6-8 weeks. I told myself that I could do anything for a season but, by the end, I realized I couldn’t do that to myself again. Homegirl needs sleep and I’m not talking about the kind I was getting by putting my head down on the dinner table while we waited for our server to bring our checks. So in December 2016, the idea of giving up my steady income to really devote myself to photography suddenly didn’t seem so farfetched. In fact, it even seemed like the reasonable decision! If I wanted to be able to invest my time the way I needed to grow my business past where it was at that exact moment, I couldn’t do it while having an 8-5. Otherwise, I would always be paddling to just keep my head above water and never actually moving forward. My initial plan was to wait until September 2017 to make the leap (because…paychecks) but, as my calendar filled in faster than I expected, it settled into my spirit that April was the time.
I told God (my ultimate Boss Man) that if He was expecting me to do something so much bigger than I was capable of doing alone, He would have to do it for me. I needed 1) a minimum of 20 weddings for the year (to put that in perspective – I only had 9 weddings for my own company in 2016) and 2) a cheaper place to live. The wedding bookings came. The place to live was dropped in my lap (along with an amazing roommate whose photography business is years further down the road than mine). Confirmation after confirmation came out of the woodwork leading me here – day #1 of surrendering to this dream that still seems so ridiculous to be mine. But I’m so incredibly overjoyed and grateful that it is mine and it is here. Today is the day my life changes in the biggest way yet.
2017 is going to be one heck of a wild ride and I’m just going to hold on tight and let my God lead the way. Thank you for going on this journey with me! I love you all!
PS - Photo cred goes to the always amazing Rachel Hicks. Thanks for taking care of me!