Your Path: The Journey of a Texas Photographer

I was cleaning out my email inbox this afternoon and started reading through emails from 6+ years ago.  It was right after I graduated college and got married.  I was thinking about the person I was back then and how life was so different now.  Never in a million years would I think I would be living in Texas, a mother of 3 boys and a photographer of mainly high school seniors.  Here’s a look at my journey….

I’ve always been a planner.  A people pleaser.  Things had to get done on time and the right way.  I was a straight A student in high school.  A rule follower.  I knew I wanted to go to Oklahoma State for college (Go Pokes!), but I didn’t know what I wanted to major in and that bothered me.  I just couldn’t find an area that intrigued me.  I remember right after I graduated high school, flipping through the course catalog, front to back, over and over, searching for something.  It was then that I figured out that maybe I wasn’t supposed to go to Oklahoma State after all.  I was a die hard OSU fan!  Still am.  I couldn’t imagine NOT going to OSU.  I had heard of Belmont University and their music business program and that was what interested me the most.  I loved music.  I wasn’t necessarily very talented and knew that performing music was not my path, but I loved the idea of being a part of music in the background.  Maybe with marketing, development, something.  I didn’t know what, but I knew that was what I wanted to do.  So that summer I decided I would go to OSU after all to work on my basic classes and then transfer to Belmont my sophomore year to work on my major.  I visited with a councilor at Belmont to help me pick out which classes would transfer from OSU.   I had it all planned out.

Fast forward to spring of my sophomore year and I still didn’t really know what I wanted to do with a Music Business degree.  It was time to look for an internship and I was lucky to have a friend hook me up with an internship with Nashville Star with the wardrobe stylist.  Remember that show?  Kacey Musgraves was a contestant on the show that year.  I sat in the dressing room every week prepping clothes that were to be worn on the show.  I still didn’t really feel like I fit in with that scene.  It just wasn’t my thing.

Then I got an internship with IBMA (International Bluegrass Music Association) where I assisted in planning their annual bluegrass conference/festival.  I really loved working with event planning and truly enjoyed my time there.  I moved on from there to Country Radio Broadcasters helping them plan for their annual event.  By my senior year, I found that event planning was something that I really loved.  I loved working with timelines and seeing the event fold out in front of you.  It just so happened that I also got engaged my senior year and started planning a wedding too.  Event planning was my passion.  I had finally found it.  I loved every bit of it.  Unfortunately, I graduated at a time when jobs were hard to come by.  The economy was going downhill fast.  I was lucky to end up with a job at a country club where I helped plan member events and assisted with wedding planning.  I loved my job and looked forward to growing into a larger role.  And then I got pregnant.  With twins.  Yeah, that kind of changes the ball game.  After crunching the numbers and hoping I could one day go back to work, my husband and I decided for the next 9-12 months, I should plan on staying home with the babies.  It was way too expensive to put two newborns in daycare and we didn’t have any family around to help out.

So how did photography come about?  Well I fell in love with our engagement pictures from my super talented friend, Kristen Weigel Photography and then also our wedding photographer Foster Cryer.  My husband was working with TicketMaster at the time doing some photo and video work here and there for different clients and decided to splurge on a Nikon d80 the Christmas after we got married.  I really wasn’t that excited about it, it was mainly a toy for my husband to play with.  But then he showed me how to use it.  The math nerd in me loved the challenge of the exposure triangle.  The creative side in me loved trying to bring in my love for music to create an album cover with my pictures.  The first time I went out to shoot, I made my husband model with his guitar.  I’ve got to dig those out sometime to show you!  😉  I set my camera aside for a little while and just brought it out for fun, family events, pictures of our dog, etc.  After a few months, I reached out to our engagement photographer, Kristen, to see if she could give me some tips on using the camera better.  She invited me to tag along on some of her sessions to see how she works.  I jumped at the chance, especially since I had recently found out I was pregnant and wanted to get good at this whole camera thing for my kiddos!

I continued shadowing Kristen on sessions when I could, just for fun, and to get out of the house after the twins were born.  When the boys were 4 months old, Kristen started sending me clients she didn’t have time for.  I was not necessarily prepared for it, but I jumped in feet first and just did it.  I had posted a few things on Facebook (back when Facebook was still cool and actually effective at running a business) and friends started contacting me for sessions.  Then I had high school friends in Oklahoma wanting me to do sessions for them when I was in town.  It just happened.  I didn’t really plan for it at all, it just happened.  A hobby became a reason to get out of the house and then became a job.  I finally stopped trying to plan what I was going to do with my life and just lived it.  I’ve had more revelations in the past year that have put me on my new path within photography, but that’s a post for another day.  🙂