It’s Monday morning. I’m sitting at home with a hot cup of coffee steaming next to me, sunshine streaming in from my office window and typing away on the keyboard of my own computer. No doctors note, no PTO… But I am working. And as silly as it might sound, it’s probably one of the best days of my life. A day that has 6 years to backup the amount of satisfaction and gratitude I currently feel.
I remember the first camera I bought. I was fifteen and saved all of the babysitting money I had made the last several months to buy a little Sony point and shoot from the Best Buy a few blocks away. It was meant for taking pictures of my friends and I to later post on MySpace (because teenage priorities), but that’s not really what it’s purpose ended up being. I found myself playing with it’s settings, trying new things and taking photos of trees, buildings, people, anything. But when I brought it to Texas later that year to visit family, I had no idea how special those photos would become.
It was Fall in Texas, and I was loving every opportunity for a photo. Including my cousin’s wedding. And now that I think about it, I must have been the “uncle bob” that day (for those of you who understand what that means). But there was one photo I took on that little point and shoot that I’ll never forget, and I’ll always cherish. Lindsay & Gabe were making their grand exit holding hands with enormous smiles and rushing through the crowd of their friends, family and a sea of floating bubbles. It wasn’t the best photo I’d ever taken, but I remember taking the shot, looking down at the screen and falling in love. Little did I know then that several years later I would make it my profession.
That photo taught me something important. It helped me realize just how much power a photograph can have. The memories and emotion that are tied to them… sometimes it’s all we are left with when tragedy strikes. You see, my cousin Lindsay unexpectedly passed away just a few years after their wedding. And now, more than ever, this photo holds dear to my heart.
I made photography my hobby throughout high school and used all of my savings and graduation money to buy my first DSLR camera before moving up to Flagstaff for school. I majored in Graphic Design, but I used most of my electives on photography courses and spent my spare time taking hikes up Humphrey’s to photograph the changing leaves. I brought that camera everywhere I went. That’s when I met Doug. A handsome science nerd from the other side of campus, with the same passion for photography as me. :)
It wasn’t until I graduated in 2011 that I took my first paid gig. I was so nervous to photograph that couple for their engagement photos, but I remember loving every minute of it. I wanted more. And when Doug and I moved in together a year later, we started photographing as a team.
Meanwhile, my weekdays were occupied with production design work at a company called bluemedia, where I spent the next 6 years of my design career. As hard as it was to work a full time job and come home to edit and market my little business afterwards every night, I wouldn’t trade those 6 years for anything. I learned so much and gained more experience than I could have anywhere else. Not to mention the friends that became a new form of family to me.
Two weeks ago I walked up to my boss with a seemingly insignificant white piece of paper and handed over my two weeks notice. It was one of the most triumphant feelings I have ever experienced. That moment meant I had done the work and put in the time to make my dream a reality. And as sad as it was to say my goodbyes to my bluemedia family and walk out that door on Friday, I still knew that bigger things were ahead. Particularly this dream of being a full time wedding photographer.
So right now I’m writing to you as someone who, for more than six years, didn’t quit when times got hard, as much as I wanted to, even when I thought that this day was never in sight.
And I gotta be honest…. It feels pretty damn good.
So cheers, my friends, to seeing the joy in the journey! And to never giving up on dreams.