Once upon a time, specifically in October of 2008, this beautiful young lady took a chance and asked me to take her senior portraits. With much tempered excitement, I agreed to give it a try. Although I look back at those images and find it appalling that I delivered portraits with such poor quality in lighting and white balance, I can recall the flutter I felt capturing and editing them. I find it amazing that I am able to experience that same excitement with every portrait session, over and over again. I think they call that passion, and I am so blessed to have found mine. The blessing is even greater that I am able to make this passion my new career direction on a full-time basis.
The journey that has led me to this place has not been easy. Most things that we appreciate dearly are the things that come about as a result of adversity of some kind. You see, I was born as a teacher, a middle school science teacher, to be exact. I was fortunate enough to serve in this role for 25 years. I loved my students. I loved my science content. I loved my school. But, as they say, all good things must come to an end. The only constant in education is change. Sadly, there were enough changes in various entities that my role as teacher was no longer the same. It no longer allowed me to use my expertise as a professional to approach teaching as both an art and a science. I always felt that my creativity in these areas and my personal connections with my students made me an effective teacher.
The struggle was real, and it became manifested in a contentious teacher strike. One ugly event lead to another, and after a very difficult journey over the past nine months, I have found myself in a very good place: a place of excitement, rejuvenation, and some healthy fear. I have made the conscious decision to leave the "security" of a contracted teaching position with all of its benefits to pursue my photography business on a full-time basis.
So, what does this mean for my clients? It means that they have my dedication of time and talent to make myself more accessible to their needs and schedules. It means that I am dedicated to my professional development as I participate in courses, workshops, and webinars to learn new techniques and improve my skills. It means that I am free from distractions and able to truly focus on my role as photographer. It means that I can offer better customer service and make each portrait session a priority. Most importantly, it means that I have found a new emotional eye for my art, and this translates into more meaningful portraits.
This new "emotional eye" that I mentioned is the result of the journey that I have traveled, with the most meaningful miles passing in the last nine months. I have been forced to examine myself with raw honesty and forced myself to face the difficult questions. I credit the rewards of this journey to my amazingly supportive family and friends, my counselor who helped me to see what I already knew, and my God who placed me on this path and helped to show me the way.
Meaning and purpose. You see, I am passionate about anything that I pour myself into. At one time, this was teaching. When I was no longer able to find my meaning and purpose in education, I lost my passion; I lost myself.
Here comes the scary part. How do I find my meaning and purpose, and still contribute to the family? Already having my photography business on a part-time basis for nine years made the transition to full-time much easier. Nonetheless, I am taking a leap of faith that I can maintain this business at a sustaining level. I am pouring myself into making this work because it is my passion.
Meaning and purpose: it is here, in my role as a photographer. When I look through my viewfinder and see the composition that focuses on my subject and blocks out everything else, I feel the emotion that I intend to convey. When I see that image pop up on the LCD screen on the back of my camera, I often gasp with excitement. When I show my client their beautiful portrait, I see their face light up with a new appreciation for who they are. I see them gain some confidence. I see them embrace the process because they trust me to show the beauty they possess. When I see the emotion well up in parents as they gaze on the portrait of their child with an appreciation for the lasting memory that I am able to provide for them, I have found my meaning and purpose.
So, it is with much gratitude that I formally announce my commitment to being your full-time photographer. My journey has helped me to not only see what really matters in life, but to focus on it, and to provide you with a tangible way to hold on to it, in all of its stages, forever.
You make the memories; I will help you cherish them.
Love and smiles,