Most of my clients ask me how I got into this business, if I do it full time, etc. The truth is, it wasn’t planned at all. (Kinda like some babies, haha). The opportunity presented itself and with a lot of hard work, I took advantage of it. Soooo, since Brayden is napping and I feel like reminiscing, I thought I’d share the full story.
Step one was that my husband and I got married on June 5, 2010 and had the most amazing wedding photographer, Heather, from WeddingsbyHeather.com. I spent a few years prior to our wedding stalking her blog and in the process, gaining a real appreciation for great photography.
So, we went on our honeymoon to gorgeous Jamaica and I had my little point shoot ready to capture all the beautiful blue water and white sand. I had no idea that there was a difference between point and shoots, DSLRs, or even disposable cameras. I took some decent photos that we will be able to remember the time by, but nothing special. I came back home and e-mailed Heather because(as part of my 2 year daily website stalking), I remembered that she offered photography classes. She recommended a few DSLRs to try out and then to sign up for her basic one day how-to class at BCCC. So, I did some research based on her recommendations and bought the Nikon D5000. ( I’ve since upgraded to the D700).
In the meantime, my younger sister, Patty, decided to get married in September but wanted to have a very low key wedding on a farm. Think- no bridesmaids, no vendors, no wedding gown, no tuxes, outdoor reception, etc. I saw this as an opportunity to practice with my fun new camera. Since the class I had signed up for wasn’t actually taking place until after the wedding, I spent a TON of time online, reading and watching everything I could about learning to use my camera. In a few weeks, I had a pretty good understanding of composition and all of the settings on my camera but really knew nothing about light. In fact, I didn’t even really know that I SHOULD know about it. Looking back, there is a LOT that I would do differently knowing what I know now, but at the time, it was pretty good for just starting out.So, anyhow, I shot my sisters wedding and it was a gorgeous location, pretty bride and groom, and they posed well. I posted some of my photos to Facebook and got a lot of good feedback. (I look back on this day with an extra special fondness because I remember being lightheaded and kind of dizzy while taking these photos. Three days later, I learned that it was because I was pregnant with Brayden!!!)
So, our good friend, Dirty, (or “Jon” if you want to be all proper about it) saw my sister’s wedding photos and with all the blind faith in the world, told his friend that she should hire me to shoot her wedding the following summer. Now, at this point, I did not ever consider becoming a photographer and didn’t even know he told her about me. I only bought my camera so that I could take good photos of the new family we were starting. Well, she contacted me and told me about her wedding and it turned out that it had a very similar outdoor ceremony/farm type setting as my sisters. Now, if it had been in a church, I never would have agreed to it. Way out of my league at that point. But, I did agree to it, came up with a contract and package, and spent the better part of the winter and spring taking more classes and learning more and more and more.
This is me and Dirty on Halloween junior year of college. I was an Davey Crocket and he was an indian. The costumes we are wearing were made by my Granny for my twin brother and I when we were really little kids. But, Dirty and I are both lean enough that they still fit. Yikes. The second photo (besides Dirty) is actually the Anne Wilmus Photography wedding team. My husband is in the Winnie the Pooh costume and my second shooter (and college roommate) Ashley, is dressed like…um…I’m not sure what she is. Yikes again.
At this point in time, it was July 2011 and my son was 8 weeks old. Since I was on maternity leave and my mom was plenty willing to help out with babysitting, I decided to make a few extra dollars and offer really cheap shoots to my Facebook friends. I posted that I would do shoots for $75 and give a disc of the edited images to the first 10 people that booked. Well, my pricing was so low and again people had (somewhat) blind faith in me that I had 5 people sign up within about 10 minutes of posting that. Here’s one of the photos from that first set of shoots.
So, I started filling up my calendar with shoots of all kinds and after I posted Ramsey’s wedding photos, I had inquiries for 5 more weddings within a few weeks. I don’t think that’s normal to be honest. But, the stars must have been aligned and I booked all of those inquiries and continued to book more. Now, my Brayden was 12 weeks and my maternity leave was over and it was time to head back to work. I had a FULL calendar of shoots spreading all the way into the next year, a 3 month old baby, and a full time job that I really liked as a Human Resources Assistant Director. I went back to work and was happy to be there. This may sound bad, but at the time, I really didn’t find it hard to leave Brayden. I think I was so stressed out with my new business and having a fussy baby that going to work was kind of a welcome peacefulness- even with all the problems that come in working with Human Resources. Well, long story short is that I simply could not handle having 3 full time jobs- mom, photographer, HR professional. I cried. Something had to give and with a calendar already booked into next year with shoots, the choice was right in front of me. After only two weeks of being back on the job after my maternity leave, I gave my two weeks notice. By the end of September 2011, I was now a full time photographer and mom.
Since then, my business has grown a lot and continues to evolve. Sorry for the abrupt ending but, Brayden just woke up from his nap, so I gotta go now. Oh, the “luxuries” of working from home 🙂
Hope everyone is having a good day!