From Newbie to Fulltime

I remember sitting on the couch of our first apartment sweating just a bit as I pressed the send button. Crickets… I didn’t hear back from ANY of my dream photographers after asking them if they had any tips for me and if I could second shoot for them. For a while, I gave up my dream of becoming a wedding photographer. I picked up a part time job and did shoots on the side. To be honest, I had no idea what I was doing. Keep in mind, this was all in the days before instagram became a big deal and before “community over competition” was a often heard phrase.

You could say it was a *bit* lonely being a brand new photographer in a brand new city with a big dream. Not only did I need clients but I needed to know people in the industry. You know what though? I wouldn’t take back a second. I wouldn’t take back working that part time job, the hours on google, all of that fear I had to overcome. I’m so grateful to be where I am today, and for those of chasing after your seemingly far off dream, I would tell you this:

Keep Shooting

Shoot your dog, your mom, your coffee table, your neighbor next door. Seriously, keep shooting. Keep shooting until you have a cohesive portfolio and know how to handle light in all situations. Back when I started, workshops weren’t a thing. I had my dad’s old camera and to be honest I was really bad. I cringe thinking that the photographers I sent emails to had to look at my horrible editing and lighting- but we all start somewhere! Luckily, Jackie Wonders at Jackie Wonders photography took me under her wing and taught me so much during our internship together. She and her amazing personality was a God-send! Today, there are avenues available to aspiring photographers who are wanting to build their portfolio- mentor sessions, workshops, shoot-outs (shoutout to my friend Brianna at The Shootout Society). Clients + wedding industry professionals can tell if you haven’t refined your craft and there is no way to skimp out on this one.

Your Clients Are GOLD

Treat each and every client you have like they are gold. Even if they’re not trendy or cool, or paying you a lot. Even if you have 3 clients this year. Even if no one is noticing all those little things you do for them. Figure out ways to go above and beyond for your clients. It could be client gifts, it could be sending letters, it could be sending thoughtful emails every time you chat. Figure out your own GOLD and set that as the standard for your business. These clients will talk about you and be your best way for spreading word of mouth advertising. Do not, I repeat, do not skimp on treating your clients well.

Step Into Fear

Step into fear, or rather run straight towards it. I know what it feels like to feel like your favorite vendors won’t give you the time of day. I know what it feels like to feel like a nobody (heck I still feel like a nobody sometimes!!) and feel like nobody cares what you’re putting out there. Keep pushing past those feelings and past the fear of putting yourself out there. Keep sending out those emails, keep reaching out, joining Facebook groups, asking questions. Keep your eyes open for opportunities because you never know when the perfect one is going to show up.

Show Up

I’ll never forget driving by Native Poppy at the Coffee + Flowers location and thinking, oh my gosh that would be my dream person to work with! I loveeee her work! When that shop opened, you better bet I was there. I was scared to meet somebody so successful in the industry, but you know what? I realized she is only a person too! A person worth building a relationship with and putting in the time. It’s relationships like the ones I’ve built with Natalie + Meg at Native Poppy that provide the sweetest San Diego community for me. They’ve been a big part of my journey as a wedding photographer here in San Diego. We’ve put together some really amazing shoots just like this one over the years.

Create From Your Heart

Create beautiful work from your heart. Do you have a vision you’ve been wanting to put out into the world? Don’t wait until someone tells you it’s worth it, your creative heart is beautiful and you don’t need someone else to tell you that. My favorite shoot that I dreamed up 4 years ago is still the header on my blog (shoutout to the dream forest team that day!) and this shoot is the reason that a lot of my clients have booked me. It also was the first shoot I ever had featured on my dream blog- Green Wedding shoes. You would’t believe me if I told you all that went wrong (car accidents, snow, lost keys) It’s fair to say, I was 99% sure this shoot was not going to happen. I’m so glad I stepped forward with this vision and did it anyway- despite the fear, snow and self-doubt.

For all you dreamers out there, keep shooting, treat your clients like the valuable amazing people that they are, keep networking and keep creating out of that beautiful soul of yours! I’d love to stay connected if we aren’t already, you can subscribe to get weekly encouragement mailed to your inbox below!


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