My Photography Journey
I'd like to say I was born with a camera in my hand, or that even as a toddler I was talking about how I wanted to do wedding photography, or that I just showed up at a wedding one day and took photos and they were perfect. But that’s not at all what happened. Instead, my story is long and pretty windy. But you asked, so here ya have it.
I went to college for film (at Montana State University, go bobcats!) and, probably not what you were expecting-- I absolutely loved it. I made awesome friends, we were constantly working on projects and making things, and I was thriving.
Another cool thing about my major was that a required class was black & white film photography. It was my first time ever learning about how to work a camera (other than shooting on little point and shoot digital cameras). We loaded film, developed in the darkroom and it was the coolest thing ever. Shortly after that class I decided to buy a fancy dslr. I wish the story ended here and I figured things out quicker, but instead, that camera sat in my closet for the better part of 4 years...
That killllllls me to say. I took it with me traveling sometimes, and made videos on it for school projects, but I so wish I had gotten out of my own way and used it way more. But I digress.
So I graduated and moved to LA because that's where you go if you want to work in film. I ended up getting a job working as an assistant at a post production company! and, well, I hated it. It might sound glamorous (or maybe not at all???), but it was 12 hour days, in a windowless office, making minimum wage. gross. And assisting people with the most monotonous tasks ever. I also would look around and realize I wanted nobody’s job in the whole office, so what was I doing there??
So I left that job with zero direction. I was pretty lost. But I felt like if my so called "creative" job that I had before sucked, maybe I should just get any old office job?? And if I had better hours and better pay, life would be good. So I got a job at a law firm! I told you this was windy... I'm so impressed if you're still reading.
This was actually pretty cool for awhile. I had the things I wanted: better pay and more time, but I always knew it wouldn't be a long term job. I was figuring out that office life was not for me. I wanted to be out in the world and I needed a lot more fulfillment from what I was doing.
But at this job, with the new found time I had, I started doing creative things on the side and remembered that making things fires me up! Some fun hobbies I tried: cross stitch, calligraphy, making my own soap, and of course, I started picking up my camera again! You can probably see where this is going now.
While I was working at the law firm I found this photography workshop that was hosted by some random person I had just started following on instagram (but her photos were incredible!!) and in a spur of the moment decision, I signed up! I'm honestly still not sure what possessed me to sign up. It was expensive, I had to miss the last day because of work, and it was all about wedding photography, which I didn't really think I wanted to do??
But going was probably the best decision I ever made. I just knew immediately, during our very first shoot, that this was what I wanted to do for the rest of my life. I had never photographed a couple before, but interacting with them, getting to know their love story, and then finding the best ways to capture it, felt so natural to me! It really felt like a calling if you're into that sort of thing. I also learned so much over this one weekend and made friends I still keep in touch with. …If you're waiting for a sign to invest in yourself, this is it!
5 months after the workshop I quit my law firm job, went full-time, and have been living this dream ever since!!
And for photographers reading this, if you’re thinking …what?! 5 months!? I think its important to highlight that I had about 6 years under my belt of learning photography. I reallyyyyyy wish I had used my dslr more, I could be way better than I am currently. But I knew how to shoot in manual, I knew how to shoot on film, I knew basics of lighting and I knew how to edit. My biggest learning curve was just directing couples and making them feel comfortable. Since I had such a specific thing to focus on, I was able to learn pretty fast!
Also worth noting, once I decided I wanted to do this as career, I went hard. While I was working full time, I was shooting every single weekend. I had every couple I knew model for me for practice, I second shot weddings, I paid for styled shoots and set up my own, I paid for mentorships and took online courses. I packed in as much as I could because I knew this is where I wanted to go. So don’t get discouraged if you’re still in the middle of this journey.
If you have more questions for me about how I got here, hit me up in the comments!!