Every business owner has a different story behind starting their business, and today I’m sharing mine! I didn’t pick up a camera when I was 10, and no one has any photography experience at all in my family. In fact, I didn’t get my first DSLR camera until freshman year of college!
I was always a bit of an entrepreneur. I’d constantly set up bottles of shampoo mixed with soap or things I found around the house to sell to my family, set up a “museum” in my room, began a sewing business (still in my room), had “Judy’s Hair & Nails” (again, you come to my room and I’ll paint your nails), started typing a newspaper, started writing a book, advertised to my family for weekly trash pick-up (from their bathroom and room), started a jewelry business with a friend in junior high, and the list goes on. But luckily for me, my parents didn’t try to give me away and my dad once even donated to my church missionary fund I had started to encourage me. 😉
So, before my DSLR camera I had other little digital cameras. I got one senior year of high school that I thought was so cool, and would come home from school and try to take self portraits with self-timer, and would beg my sister to come outside so I could take pictures of her. Nothing really consistent, just some photos here and there. However, I loved editing photos! Before I had a smartphone, I’d text photos to my email to pull them up on my computer and edit them (SO nerdy, I know!).
I get asked a lot when I turned my hobby into a business. To be completely honest, it wasn’t ever a really consistent hobby in high school, and then I was overwhelmed my first semester of college to really think about doing other things other than studying (this mindset has changed drastically;)). But I knew I enjoyed photography, and for my pictures to look like the pictures I saw from other photographers, I knew I’d need better equipment. So that January I bought my first DSLR camera and started taking pictures constantly… and I absolutely loved it! I dragged everyone… friends, sister and her hubby, family, boyfriend, boyfriend’s sister, outside to take their photos. Then I’d edit them and made a photography page and started posting them! That’s when I wanted to start a business- not to make a lot of money, or because I had nothing else to do, but because I LOVED it!!
I did a LOT for free, and a lot for REALLY cheap in the beginning, and I was having so much fun! The fall of my first year, I shadowed one photographer who did a wedding at our church that my sister was in, and then soon after I got to photograph 2 weddings solo! I was thrilled but so nervous. No really, I was shaking during that first ceremony!!
I’d be lying if I said I had never thought about throwing in the towel. There’s SO much to learn at the beginning, and a certain point where you either put the camera on the shelf, or push through. And I learned a lot of things the hard way. Like my second wedding when I thought we were done with photos after the ceremony so I hopped in my car and drove to Wendy’s for food. Then got a call from the wedding coordinator asking where I was because they’re ready for family photos… yea. Thankfully the couple was one of the nicest couples you’ll ever meet 😉 The joy from working with wonderful people, and the love I had for photography made up for all the discouraging times or mistakes I made learning!
So here I am 2.5 years later. I give full credit to God for allowing me and giving me the ability to do something I LOVE, for my dad for spending countless hours helping research equipment, my mom for driving and sitting in her van during sessions before my car was big enough for the giant chair I loved, for my friends for still being my friend after I dragged you downtown or through my yard for pictures, for my clients who have all been just so amazing and so kind to me these past few years and have hired me and recommended me, and to everyone who’s said an encouraging word, left a sweet comment, or has followed me through my journey. <3