It's simple really. I was lost and now I'm found.
I always come across people who ask me, "How long have you been doing photography?". They always expect me to give them a certain amount of years or what school I got my training from. Sometimes they even expect me to give them a long story about how I spent time training with another photographer and honed my skills over tedious retouching and strict lessons. Imagine their shock when my answer to their question is simple. "Six months." Sometimes I get the added question, "That's how long you have been in business right? How long have you been doing photography though?". I smile and simply reply, "Six months." Then I wait for it finally click.... GASP! I'm...NEW! Yep, I am. After this exchange I am often told that my work doesn't look like I'm new at all and I am always grateful for the compliment. Ego boosting, yes... but I try to stay grounded and humble. Then they ask me the question, "How did you get into photography?".
For all those experienced photographers out there who cringe at the people who "buy a good camera and then assume they are photographers", it's ok... it didn't quite happen like that either. Although, I don't knock the people that do find their way like that. You never know until you actually buy a camera and try right? Anyways, I actually have ALWAYS loved taking photos of people. Ever since I was a kid. I always found something interesting about a photo and how it is taken. However, my young mind was focused on becoming a singer/actress at that time. Photography was one of the things I knew I wanted to try, but that came after singing and acting on my list of life priorities. As I got older and came into my adulthood, singing and acting slowly became something I no longer wanted to do for various reasons. Once I realized that, I started doing what most young adults do... I started trying to work in the corporate world and have a career. Customer service was what I did. I was good at it, but did I love it? Nope. Not even a little bit. Now that I think about this, I realize that there are millions of people who are working jobs they HATE, but stay to keep food on the table. To them, their dreams seem like... well... just that. Dreams. Never to come true.
I realized I wasn't happy with what I was doing and decided to get into doing what I loved. At that time (2 years ago) I decided to become a youtuber. I started a channel and website called Thoughts Freed and used it to vlog, make poetry, and talk about whatever was on my mind. It was at this time that I bought my camera. Funny... I bought my camera to make VIDEOS, not photography. I learned how to use it and started taking photos of myself. I slowly started learning how to use various programs for my videos and photos while blogging and just being me on my Youtube channel. This went on for about a year and a half and then it happened. I was jobless. My career that I was trying to build had come to a crossroads. Was I going to find another job in customer service doing something I wasn't really into or was I going to try something else?
I decided I wanted to shoot for my passion. I have always been passionate about creating. Creating something beautiful and knowing that you had something to do with the final product just makes me so happy. I get into a certain zone when I create! I had close friends that were telling me to get into photography and I declined at first because I felt I didn't know enough about it to do it professionally. Luckily... I am a curious person who likes to try things out. I spent a month taking photos of people for free and seeing if I could handle the workflow of it all, I did this to see if I would even like it. I LOVED it. I felt like I was truly doing something that really came from my heart. Something I actually CARED about at the end of the day when I got home. It stayed on my mind all the time. Ideas flourished and I often couldn't wait until the next shoot. I was hooked. I was in love. I found my calling, my purpose. So the next month I legally started my business and didn't look back. Ever since then (six months ago), I have gone through so many hard challenges and exciting times and I feel so alive through it all. I have so much passion and love for what I do. Being able to be creative and share that with the world does so much for my soul and it truly makes my heart smile. I hope to be doing photography until the end of my days and make millions of people smile and love their portraits until the end of their days.
If you ever have a time in your life where you are able to truly follow your passion... do it. It really changes your life and helps you see things clearly. Don't start a business or work just for the money. That doesn't keep your soul happy. I realize that many times we have to take care of our families and that is fine. However, if you have have a chance to even work your passion on as a side job or even as a hobby... DO IT. It is important that you use your gifts as much as possible. Watch how it changes your heart.