When I tell other people I have my own business I hear "Oh you are so lucky", when I tell other photographers I have my own studio I hear "You are so lucky to have your own space" and " you are so lucky that only after 2 years you are so successful."
These statements bother me and it isn't because I don't feel lucky, I do! It's because I don't think luck has a lot to do with it! I believe whole heartedly the quote by Seneca "Luck is when preparation meets opportunity."
I've told a lot of my clients my story on how I began in this business but not a lot of people know so I'm going to share it with you now.
I used to have my own handmade business. I would crochet hats for other newborn photographers. I was making products and just taking pictures of the items laying on a table or something very basic and I really wasn't selling much. I went online to some crochet shops that I admired to see what I thought made the difference between me not selling anything and them being so busy they were turning people away. It was their pictures! Every single item had a baby wearing their products. So when I got pregnant with my daughter I decided that I would make a TON of props and learn how to take really good pictures of her modeling them, that way I'd have a live model :)
For months before I researched everything about newborn photography I could find. I watched videos on safety, how to pose, how to set up using a couch next to a window, all very basic things for newborns. So when Georgia was here I took a shot at it! Every.single.day! lol that poor girl had a mini photoshoot in our living room everyday for the first month, good thing I had a good sleeper! Below are some examples of my first newborn shots. Now the editing is cringe worthy but I still love them obviously because it is my baby girl. Although the editing is bad for my first newborn the posing is pretty good and that is because I did so much studying on what to do!
This was in May, then in September a close friend had her baby and she has seen my daughter's newborn pictures and asked me to do her daughter's pics too. I was overjoyed! I had so much fun with the creative aspects of it I couldn't wait! I did feel like my regular point and shoot I used on Georgia's pictures just wasn't good enough so another good friend of mine let me use her DSLR. For at least a month before she was born I studied how to use a DSLR. I taught myself how to shoot in manual (I have NEVER shot in auto) because I knew that's what needed to be done to get professional looking pictures. Youtube, pinterest and google were my best friends! There were images I'd see on Pinterest and wanted to know how to do so I researched... a lot! I spent so many hours online you'd think I was taking college courses. The hard work paid off and to this day this is one of my favorite picture ever!
After Kaleesi's session I took off running. I had found a new passion and went on the lookout for portfolio building sessions I could do! I did over 25 newborn sessions in my first year. I also did other sessions, I'd take whatever I could get!
About 6 months ago I decided I had to get out of my living room. I was tired of kicking my family out of the house 3 times a week, and I needed my own space. I started researching what it could take, and there was a lot! Licensing, different insurance, rent, utilities, studio improvements, and so much more. We started saving and it became a reality in April. Through this whole experience I have had a day job that I work 30+ hours a week, 2 kids, a husband and attempting to run a business. To say I am sleep deprived is an understatement! I stay up late and return emails and edit and get my business things done so that way in the mornings before and after my day job I have time for my family. I am finally to the point where I am able to be a full time photographer and I won't have another job in September.
To this day I am constantly taking classes and workshops to improve my craft. I don't feel like this is a business you can just stop learning. The whole industry is constantly evolving.
Yes I was lucky I had been blessed with a natural gift. I am lucky I had two amazing friends who had faith in me to lend me a camera and the other to have enough trust in me to photograph her 5 day old baby. But I also feel like what I did after those two things has nothing to do with luck. I have worked my butt off to get where I am, and I am so proud at where I am just two years later. I found what I want to do when I grow up. I am eternally grateful for everyone's support. For my husband who has stuck by me and been my biggest fan through all of my crazy ideas and late nights. For all of my family and friends who have lent me their children and families to experiment new techniques on, and all of my awesome clients who I couldn't be where I am if you didn't keep coming back to me!