I recently celebrated the first anniversary of owning my own business, and my-oh-my has it been a roller coaster! Photography has been in my passion for more than 10 years, when I first started taking snapshots of our high school marching band with my parent’s 5MP camera. I decided to attend Shepherd University to study photography and while there a memorable teacher always advised us, even if we end up not having a photography career, to just. keep. creating.
I took these words to heart and from the time I graduated until a year ago I did a few family portraits a year and some minor graphic design work for the business where I worked. So how did I get here? I literally woke up one morning and decided to quit my job. Seriously. I told my husband and he was hesitant about my sudden career shift. I can’t blame him — I have a very adventurous heart and talk (a lot) about many ventures that have yet to happen. But, this was different. I KNEW I needed to be my own boss, and I knew the only way I was going to be happy was creating artwork.
And so it began, the most stressful, yet most rewarding year of my life. When this journey started, I wasn’t sure how I was going to cope with the everyday challenges of owning a business. I fully expected to work 2-3 days a week at my retail position before I would be able to replace my income. Happily, this was not the case — at all. The business took off like no one, especially me, could have expected. I was shooting an average of 3-5 shoots a week for the first month, which picked up to now shooting 6-10 shoots a week, and, at times, up to 16 shoots in one week!
My weekly shoots range from fashion and product photography to family and senior portraits, seasoned with the occasional wedding. I’ve worked with a handful of fashion designers, dozens of female entrepreneurs, and even a few government and local agencies.
I would not be successful had it not been for some incredible people in my life.
Thank you to all the women of Stylebook, especially the person who makes this daily blog possible, Madelyn Orfitelli, for continuing to support and promote my business. Thank you for trusting me with your product photography and introducing me to some of the most fascinating women through our Street Style feature. Nothing says “motivation” more than meeting and photographing a successful, beautiful woman each week!
A special thank you to the previous editor of Stylebook, Christen Kinard. Without her, quite simply my business would not be where it is today. She’s hired me weekly to photograph for a handful of blogs she writes, and she spams my name on social media, throwing my name out to friends anytime she can.
However, the thing that has stood out the most to me is the unwavering support of the Alexandria community. I am so privileged to be surrounded by so many successful women — it’s what keeps me going when I think I may not be “cut out” for this. It’s an incredible feeling to realize you’re not alone in this journey. So, for those of you who have supported me, I would like to share what you’ve helped me accomplish: more than 250 shoots in one year, internationally published, doubled my income, hired my first employee and most importantly, learned to love life. I am beyond grateful.
To celebrate, I would like to share a few of my favorite shoots with you from this past year.
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