Welp... here it goes. About two weeks ago, I turned down a very nice job offer to pursue my dreams and start my own business as a photographer. It is pretty nerve wracking and there is so much to think about. There is so much more that goes into owning your own business than I EVER imagined, let alone being the person who creates and edits the product! Phew. Here's how I got to this point:
I'm going to say this up front- I am not a writer. I apologize now if my thoughts are random and sporadic; it's part of my charm.
THIRTEEN YEARS AGO: I have been a photographer since the age of 5. Yes, you heard that correctly. My brother, Greg (who also helped me design this website!), made me a little cardboard box with a hole in the front and the top and told me it was a camera like his. Any chance of being like my cool older brother was so exciting to me. Much to his chagrin, I was always copying him and photography was one of his high school hobbies. I clearly remember "taking pictures" at church that day and then coming home and drawing my "photographs" with crayons.
HIGH SCHOOL: Flash forward 9 years to high school and it was all over. I am fondly (and sometimes not-so-fondly) known to my high school friends as "the paparazzi". Candid has always been my style, so it would drive me nuts when people would look and smile at me (I've quickly gotten over that don't worry) and I would always have my camera in hand. So people were always a little annoyed when I snapped one of them struggling to carry their books. Later in high school, I created a separate class with my photography teacher, Mark VanWormer, that focused on photojournalism and I LOVED it. No one looking and smiling in those types of pictures!
Then, I brought my camera to my cousin, Lisa's, wedding. Talk about looking up to someone- my cousin is one of the most beautiful women on the planet and the fact that she didn't mind me running around at her wedding with a camera at age 17 makes her an angel too. Side note: my friends have LITERALLY made fun of me for being so in love with love. I get insanely excited when ANY of my friends (or acquaintances) meets the guy or girl of their dreams (even if they realize later that person wassssnt quite "the one"...). So put me in a situation where I get to be a photojournalist while my cousin married the guy of her dreams?!?! What's the photo equivalent of a happiness bomb?
I should have realized right then that was my calling, but alas, I was a teenager and only a lucky few of us figure life out that young. I was not one of them.
COLLEGE: Through a serendipitous chain of events I wound up at Syracuse University in their Newhouse photography program- but only as a minor! Why? Because someone told me if I was good at Economics, I should major in it - yuck! (I'm yelling at 18 year old Meredith right now) I suppose it wasn't TERRIBLE advice but the bottom line is it wasn't what I loved. Being a minor in Communications Photography still allowed me to take all sorts of classes including Graphics and Fashion Photography in London and Prague.
THE CRUEL REAL WORLD: Shortly after college- my camera broke. I was a struggling just out of college type and was heading in the economics direction anyway so getting a new camera wasn't high on the priority list (more yelling at now 21 year-old-Meredith). So I "put my camera down" for a few years and would only tell people if it came up that I "used to be a photographer". (I hate modern abbreviations and words like "perf" and what not, but I have to say *tear* is very appropriate here).
Jump ahead another couple years- my brother Greg (yes that same Greg!) got a new camera for Christmas and then asked if I would fly out to Iowa to take his family portraits. "Uh what?" was my response, "Greg, I haven't even touched a camera in like 3 years, I doubt I'm any good at this point." I believe "humor me" or some derivative was his response. The second the camera was back in my hand I felt like my missing limb was back. I think I shot 1300 photos of them that day (went a little overboard) and was glued to my computer editing for the next week.
At the time I was working with a lot of real estate agents and (I'm sure some of you may have noticed this) they NEVER update their headshot. I was looking at a 25 year old version of the 56 year old in front of me- yikes. So headshots in Boston quickly became my "thing" while also working a full time job. I found myself looking forward to days when I got to take and edit headshots and hated the days I had to do anything else. So like your typical Millennial (I still think that generation starts after me... but I'll give in just for this part), I had an epiphany! Why am I waking up every day to do something I hate? There has to be more to life than this.
TWO MONTHS AGO: I had been feeling this "there has to be more to life" thing for far too long, so I started applying for jobs elsewhere in case it was my company (It wasn't, they're great). I really dug deep and realized it's not my company's fault that I'm just not doing what I love and I couldn't help but feel that the next place I would go would be keeping me from doing what I love also and I would build that same resentment towards them. With the love and encouragement of my ever supporting boyfriend, Chris (who is now super excited to be my second shooter!), my parents and my brothers, I turned down the job offers. I decided to make the leap and build my own business as a photographer!!
TODAY: I'm two weeks in and LOVING it! I'm going to be honest on this blog and tell anyone who might be reading... I'm so so nervous. How am I going to learn it all? What if I fail? What if I can't afford the equipment? Alright, back to researching and getting the ball rolling. Thank you all for your love and support as I start this journey. The next blog posts won't be as long I promise...