How I Started

April 28, 2021

When I was ten years old I got my first camera for Christmas and I spent the following year annoying the heck out of everyone – shoving a camera in their face and then editing the photos on the editing software that came on an old Windows PC. My first job in high school was taking old western photos in a theme park, then I moved on to taking high school dance photos, and then pictures of the kids basketball and t-ball leagues for the city. When I got to college I found a way to work photography into my internship at the Utah State Legislature, there I met a fellow intern who trusted me enough to let me shoot her wedding. After that I realized that I needed to be a lot more prepared for my next wedding and I took a break from photography. During that year and a half break I got married and we had our first baby boy. When he was six months old I realized that if I was going to be away from him I wanted to LOVE what I was doing. So I quit my job, bought a new camera, got registered with the city and state and never looked back.

 

When I decided that I was going to start my photography business I knew that I wanted to do it right. Before I even made my first $600 (after $600 you’re required to report it as income and become a licensed business in most states), I knew that I wanted to get a business license, get contracts, and set up a separate bank account for my business. I found a friend who was a photographer and I asked if she would let me shadow her on shoots – she let me ask her a hundred annoying questions and was my second shooter for my first wedding as a business. I also knew that if I wanted people to invest in me, I had to invest in myself and my business. I purchased courses and online classes, paid for mentor sessions, set up a website, gallery delivery service, legal contracts, client guides, and a client management system. And since then I’ve invested in every single one of these over and over. I’m in NO way saying that in order to be successful you need to buy or do these things right away, this all happened over the course of a year. I barely paid myself that first year and invested everything I made right back into my business. Over the last five years I’ve changed my editing, learned composition, posing, and found my own style. But the thing that made the biggest difference in my business didn’t even cost money, just time.

 

I found a community. A community of like-minded photographers that changed my life. They gave me support, advice, and feedback. I offered to second shoot or assist for free, just to learn. We planned content days and trips where we all pooled our resources together to make it happen. Eventually my community grew to include even more photographers and creatives from all over the wedding industry. I still lean on them when I need advice, support, or even just a pick-me-up. So my biggest advice to all you little starfishes wanting to learn and grow? Find your people and invest in yourself.