Scroll, scroll. Tap. Heart. There I was, doing it again: I had 10 or so “entry-level” cameras in my KSL favorites list, and a dream of creating beautiful photos – ones that would MOVE people, to bring them to tears or laughter, or at least a smile to their face. I think I realized at that point that if I really was going to get my own camera, I might as well do it right! So I dug in, researched everything I could think of, tried out a couple camera brands just to test the waters, made some decisions on what I liked and wanted, and finally asked Ben (my all supporting husband) if we could spare $280 to get me a used Canon T5 and 50mm lens. Ohh, I still remember holding that little crop frame camera in my hands in that grocery store parking lot and pretending to know what I was doing – looking it over, taking a test shot – before handing over the money (which seemed like a lot at the time) to that random stranger of a fellow photographer. I didn’t have a clue what I was doing, but that little camera was the start of what would become my own photography business.
Over the next few months, I remember getting my camera out every chance that I could – keeping it in manual mode, taking pictures of anything and anyone that would let me. I bought a Lightroom subscription and started messing around with editing. Attended online trainings about posing techniques. Looked into contracts and pricing guides. And I kept dreaming, playing around with the idea of photographing weddings – or maybe seniors. Families?
A dear friend of mine had her baby shower that Fall, and it was then that I realized that this photography thing could also be a great way to serve my friends in a valuable way. So, I gifted her both a maternity and newborn session. And MAN, how I loved how those turned out, she loved how they turned out, and I had another realization – this photography thing could also be an AWESOME opportunity to snuggle (oh yeah, and to photograph, that too) some cute lil’ babes!! (#babyhungry)
Over the next couple years, I continued to grow and improve as I photographed anything and everything – friends’ engagements, traded anniversary photos with another photographer, cute newborns, some family portraits, senior pictures… I even helped a friend photograph a wedding! I also was very generously gifted a new, full-frame camera – I was touched that someone could believe in me and my ability to do something good with my new skills THAT much.
At the same time, I was going to school – taking math and chemistry and fluids and a bunch of other fun classes to get my Chemical Engineering degree. I had an incredible group of nerdy friends to rely on, worked hard, got an engineering internship and then full-time job up in Salt Lake… and ya know, I really enjoyed it all! But when it came down to it, I kept feeling this subtle but firm pull to come home, have a family (again, #babyhungry), and build a purposeful photography business instead. I knew that would involve me losing a solid engineering salary, but that pull kept getting stronger.
So I kept researching; I attended more online trainings about entrepreneurship and running a successful business, looked into websites and branding and marketing. We reviewed our finances. Looked at when it would be best to start our family. 😂 Ohh, and though we wanted to make the right choice, and taking the time to think it through was the right choice for us, it felt like I was waiting foorevver! So I’m VERY grateful that once we took the leap, everything fell into place quickly. Within a month of us trying, I had a positive pregnancy test, and we were on our way to becoming parents!
The process from that moment onward in my motherhood journey – pregnancy, birth, breastfeeding, recovery (I wrote a whole blog on it here!)- SHIFTED something in me and everything I hoped to accomplish through my business. You see, I completely expected becoming a mother to change me. But I didn’t quite expect to be pulled SO strongly towards the world of birth and motherhood. To feel like, “hey! I think I can make a difference here, and truly enjoy it.” To fall in LOVE with the sacred journey to motherhood, with birth. To yearn to leave every mama I encounter feeling a bit stronger, a bit more at peace with the everyday beauty in their motherhood journey. To do that by putting that beauty, that peace, that strength, that journey in a photograph. By creating a community, supported by my business. By serving my mamas in the ways they need. This was different than the initial baby hunger and just love of snuggling cute babes. This was DEEP, and I needed to DO something about it.
So, slowly, through the postpartum and working fog, I started things rolling, started making plans. Photographed my first birth. Listened to a bagillion podcasts driving from Provo to Salt Lake every day. Missed my girl. Earned an awesome engineering salary 😊 Finally (thankfully not after tooo long), my incredible husband finished school, and accepted a job offer with Hill AFB, allowing me to quit my job and come home this May. (HUZZAH!)
And that, my friends, brings us to today. Today, I spent all day with my precious, growing, crawling baby girl and found a couple more things I need to be better at to make my dual full-time SAHM and work-at-home mom life work. 😬 I’m working to create a place where I can build my community and create beautiful things for beautiful mamas. It’s not complete, it’s not perfect, but it’s happening – here’s to helping each other create something beautiful!
Credit to Elizabeth Ashdown Photography (birth), Sarah Quinn Photography (newborn), and Brenna Hoffman Photo (motherhood) for being incredible photographers and giving me these images of my motherhood journey thus far.