Just getting started…

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.

XOXO,

Mandy
Mom, Wife, Photographer, *Writer

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