If you had asked me 2 years ago if I would have been a photographer today I would have said “if only”. I never saw myself as a big risk taker. Certainly not someone who would open their own business. So how did I get here?
I think it all begins back in school. I completed my GCSEs and attended a meeting at school with a deputy head teacher regarding my choices for A level. I remember sitting there really quite nervous and then he asked me to complete his sentence. “Plan your work….”
I had no idea the end of the sentence. When I was told it was “work your plan” it made me feel even worse because I had no plan. I feel many children don’t at that stage. And it seems like a lot of pressure to be making major life choices when you’re still too young to vote and drink.
At that stage I had no life plan. I was on a path to study mathematics at university simply because it was one of my better subjects. Then near the end of my Alevels I approached the university I had been conditionally accepted to and applied for a year deferral as well as a change of course to chemistry- another subject that I was good at.
I took my gap year in Florida working with children and young people in a church. It was a worthwhile experience for me. On return I attended university to study chemistry. During my first year exams I was very ill. This coincided with ongoing health complaints and as such I was misdiagnosed with chronic fatigue. I really thought that this was going to be my life from now on. I thought I would forever struggle to get out of bed (oh but I do still love sleep). I thought I would always have severe joint pains in my hands and I wondered how I would be able to work or have a family. And I certainly didn’t want to be a burden on anyone.
And then I was given a second chance. It was discovered that I have a rare kidney syndrome, which I share with my sister, and simply by taking 30 or so tablets a day I can be normal. Yes, it has made having children complicated and there are times when it still affects me with symptoms similar to chronic fatigue but I am able to work and raise a family. And I am so grateful.
It took a while to get the correct diagnosis and I struggled through my degree. I made the decision to complete my last year over two years. It was hard but it showed me that I have “stickability”. I don’t give up – and I still don’t when I’m determined to capture a shot during one of my sessions!
When I finished my degree I had lost a lot of confidence. I had been isolated during my illness and fell out with classmates and friends. I also felt that I didn’t deserve my degree. I felt that I hadn’t given it my all, I’d merely muddled through and that that would hold me back from a career in a chemistry related field. So instead I used my degree to gain employment as an accounts assistant. I worked there full time and then part time after my first child was born. When my second child’s maternity ended I became a stay at home mum. I am completely grateful to the hard work of my husband for that opportunity.
Being a stay at home mum has some really amazing points. I love spending time with my children and giving them the security of me always being around. But it can be isolating and is hard to not feel worth in a job title.
So what did I do with my three children? I took a million photographs. It began on my phone and during that time I definitely did not have the best quality camera. My husband saw potential and bought me my first DSLR camera. Over time people began to comment that I had even more potential if I wanted to persue it further.
I’ve been taking courses, watching tutorial videos and reading up on branding and the business side of things for over a year now. I will continue to do so as long as I am a photographer. I feel like I could spend a lifetime learning and still find something new. And it excites me. I’m so passionate about taking photographs that I miss it when I don’t take any for even a day. I look forward to every session – to taking photos, editing them and hearing the reactions from clients and their families. It is a real honour to capture so many beautiful moments in your lives.
I have faith that in the future my business and my passion will continue to grow.