It’s so crazy to think that this life was all a dream to me just nine years ago and now I’m living it, full heartedly. I want to openly share with you today my personal story of becoming a photographer.
I think it’s super easy to take a look at someone’s highlight reel online and assume that their life has always looked this way. But in more cases than not that’s just not the truth. Not for me anyhow. My life looked very different just nine years ago. Heck even in the last two years its changed immensely.
A few words that come to mind right away when I sit and reflect on my journey are words like ‘hard work, struggle, loneliness, achievement, fulfillment, love’. Self employment is not for the faint of heart. There were many times when my lack of understanding had me in hysterical tears. Countless time I felt completely lonely while I tried to navigate this new life of building and fostering a business. There was always so much to learn, and it took me a good 7 years to really learn to embrace the learning curves.
Let’s start from the beginning.
My journey into photography started as a hobby and effort to put some creative energy back into my life. At the time I was working multiple jobs and was easily putting anywhere from 60-90hrs a week in. I bought myself a canon rebel and signed myself up for a few night courses at my local college where I learnt the basic camera functions and how to shoot in manual mode. It only took one course to get me fully interested in learning everything about being a better photographer. I dove right in and was finding myself spending my lunch hours online watching tutorial videos and reading countless articles.
Then came a mental break down at my kitchen table a year later. On a quest to feel more fulfilled with my life I knew I needed to make a career change. I knew I loved photography but the risk of it all made me uncomfortable and terrified. You see, up until that point I had always taken the path of financial security.
Shortly after, Niagara college announced that they were finally offering a full time photography program. With the encouragement from my husband I quit my day job, emptied my personal savings account and enrolled myself as a full time college student.
The next two years looked a lot like working around the clock (the bills still needed to be paid), juggling school assignments and going hard at building my business. I won’t lie to you, it was utter exhaustion, even for the workaholic like me. For the first time since I was a child I was completely broke, but I was smiling!
After I graduated I threw myself into building JLP and prioritized it over pretty much everything. I still had my full time night job but I was slowly reducing my hours there as I gained momentum in my business. Just a year later I had taken my photography business full time and held onto my job part time.
It wasn’t until after I had my son four years ago that I completely quit my other job. Truthfully I could have much earlier but I was reluctant to let go completely.
My life now;
Now I yell it from the roof tops – I get to make art out of everyday and I feel blessed beyond measure for my family who supported me, and the clients who allow me into their lives. My dream life has come to fruition but not until I was willing to work really hard at it. Heck, thats the theme of my life and existence.
If you’re finding yourself at the beginning of your journey, or in a confused state of not understanding how to get the ball rolling in a way that will help take your side hustle full time, I want to help. I’m in the middle of designing some really great education for you, and I’m so excited to share that soon.
For now, here are the basic steps you can take today at becoming a photographer;
- Get educated! I’m not saying college is the right path for everyone, but you do need to find a mentor in the industry. Or some online education to help get you started with learning the basics of operating your camera, and setting up your business in a way that will be profitable. (Spoiler alert : If you aren’t making money, than you just have a hobby, not a career.)
- Get legal! Register your business and get the proper insurance.
- Choose your niche and build a portfolio.
- Get yourself a website asap, as well as a business account with facebook and instagram. (These will be 3 places of contact for prospective clients.)
- Be kind to yourself! I wanted to add this to the list of basics of becoming a photographer, because I think we all have a tendency to compare our beginning to someones middle. Try not to do that to yourself. Allow yourself the time to learn and grow. There is a lot to learn, be realistic.
I hope this post inspires you to have courage to chase your own dreams but more so, I hope it gives you comfort if you are in the place of struggle. Hard work, and educating yourself will truly set you free.
As always, feel free to reach out and ask anything! I’d love to know what you are struggling with so I can help you achieve your goals of becoming a photographer.