Taking the plunge....How I knew it was time to go full time photography.
I had a sweet friend of mine recently ask me, "how did you just up and quit your full time job for photography, not knowing whether you would be able to pay your bills?"
Photography wasn't always my dream. Like most of my fellow photographers, i discovered my true passion for photography as a hobbyist.
I can remember sitting down with my grandma as a little girl, for hours on end, writing descriptions & dates on piles of pictures, organizing them, and then carefully placing them in to photo albums. My grandmother had hundreds of albums that she literally organized and kept in order by dates the photos were taken. As a child, I didn't quite grasp the importance of this, nor did I care to organize them for her, but i did LOVE looking through those old photos, and I cherished the stories my grandmother would tell me about each photo. Her pictures & her albums were her most prized possessions.
Growing up, I've always felt the itch for creativity. I took art all through out school & i really enjoyed channeling my creativity through the different mediums we practiced in art classes, but it never felt like it was the right "hobby" for me. I was decent at painting, & i was decent at drawing, but i was definitely no "leonardo Divinci" and i never felt like I had the desire to give painting or drawing my full attention.
When I was in my early twenties, I was visiting the beautiful & historic town of Charleston, SC. I had a relative in the hospital there, but with specific visiting hours, I had a lot of time to kill. Fortunately, I had my little point & shoot [ Canon PowerShot SX120IS] so I decided to walk around and explore the town. It was then that my love and passion for photography was born! I could not get enough of the beautiful architecture & scenery of Charleston & I must have taken hundreds of pictures that day. I remember getting home and sorting through those pictures, and feeling a sense of giddiness and excitement over what I managed to capture on camera. It suddenly dawned on me that "THIS is what I should be doing!"
A few weeks later (after a LOT of research) I made my first big purchase and brought home a Canon 50D and a few lenses. After hours and hours of reading & studying the manual, I started begging my friends and family to allow me to photograph them on the weekends. I did this for few months before I decided I wanted to pursue photography as my career. I had a full time desk job working 40 plus hours a week, but that didn't stop me from putting in late night editing hours. I knew that if i wanted to eventually go full time in photography, I had to dedicate as much time as possible to marketing, branding, researching, shooting, editing, and building my cliental. For the first year of this, I can honestly say that in the beginning I didn't have much support; Some of my friends and family members felt neglected, as I just didn't have "free" time. I literally ate, slept, and breathed photography. In hindsight, I probably could have slowed down a little and made more time for those friends and family members, but when I set my mind to something, It's really hard for me to quit or back down from it. Ultimately, in the end though my closest friends and family members realized my dream and supported me in so many ways in which I am ever so grateful for.
Finally, after 4 years of building my business as much as I possibly could on a part time basis, hours of online photography classes, youtube tutorials, and photography books, I left my full time job of 8 years and took the plunge. It was probably one of the hardest decisions I've ever had to make as an adult though. Bills had to be paid and I knew that I was taking a HUGE risk by leaving my full time job where I was garanteed a pay check every month. I truly believe that one of the strongest factors for success is self- esteem: Beleiving you can do it, believing you deserve it, and believing that you will make it. The day that I left my old job, I made up my mind that no matter what happens going forward, I will always know that I tried, and that i gave nothing less than 100% to make it work.
It's almost been a full year since I've taken my business full time; my cliental base has grown & I'm now serving in both South Carolina and North Carolina in the Wedding Industry. I've had some amazing support groups and my passion has only grown more. I recently changed my business name, implemented all new branding, marketing & customer service, and have set HUGE goals for myself for 2016.
I will continue to strive for great things & will work my butt off to get where I want to be. Thank you so much for everyone who's ever supported me & my decisions as a business owner. I love you all so much <3