Back when my kids were little, I was SHOCKED at how much it cost for school photos. With 3 kids, I couldn’t afford all of the photos I wanted. So I grabbed my kids, my point & shoot camera and we headed to the backyard.
I knew nothing about camera settings, lighting, composition or anything! I just knew I wanted good photos of my kids without having to take out a loan!
Fast forward a bit and I LOVED my photos. They weren’t perfect. Looking back at them, they aren’t even good. But I loved them. I loved the experience of taking them! So I started doing it all the time.
With my older kids being girls, they were all too willing to model whenever I wanted to practice shooting. It was great. We came up with backgrounds and poses and so much craziness. TOO MUCH FUN!
Fast forward a bit and my kids are showing their photos to their friends. I’m showing them to my friends. Friends are volunteering their kids for my photos! So now I have dozens of little models willing to stand (sit and jump) in front of my camera.
Then… a friend offers me money. WHAT?!? No way. I’m just having fun. Then another friends demands I take a few dollars for my time. What? I am loving what I am doing and folks want to give me money. OK!
All of a sudden, folks I don’t know are calling me to see about my prices. I don’t have prices. I don’t have anything except a cheap point & shoot camera and time. But people are interested. Which has me interested in learning.
I start learning. Reading. Finding classes. Anything that offers to teach me photography, I am signing up.
My husband buys me a fancy (to me) dslr camera. I’m in love. But I just leave that little dial set to “auto”. I start messaging local photographers asking for help. Not a single one responded with anything nice. I still don’t understand why. The idea of competition is ridiculous as I am shooting on auto and not charging a dime. But it fires me up.
So, I keep learning. I start a facebook page. I get some “likes”. I post allll the time. Suddenly, I have a stranger ask for a session. The price. $25. I’m over the moon excited. I am going to get paid to do a session.
That is the beginning. I’ve made mistakes. I have taken so many bad photos. But I have loved it. Things reached a point where I was overwhelmed and tired of dealing with people. I dreaded sessions. So I quit.
I still took photos of my kids and their activities. I still took classes and read books. Things got busy at my day job.
But it was always right there in my mind. The love of photography. So I found my way back.
I upgraded cameras (again) and offered my services to folks who were loyal clients. I made it clear I was going slow and doing things my way. I promised myself to do it as long as I still love it. If I start dreading sessions, I’ll simply take a day, week or month off!
This is where we are. 10+ years later from that first crazy photo session with my kids and I’m loving photography. I love that I get paid to do something I love. I still make it a goal to always keep my prices where I’m affordable but also to value MY time!
So now you know my photography story. Thanks for reading.
Mom, Wife, Photographer, *Writer