How & why did you become a photographer?

I often get asked how I started photography and how it became a full time career. Becoming a photographer changed my life. It was a very unintentional act that turned into the best thing that’s every happened to me. midwest photographer

At 18, I had been using my uncles PI camera and destroying rolls of film while attempting to understand how cameras worked. Once I was photographing this antique furniture that had been thrown in the trash and someone called the police (really funny story). I decided film maybe wasn’t for me as a beginner, so I purchased a camera on Amazon for $300 and was super late on my rent that month.

I worked at a Dara’s on highway 177 back then, and always brought homework or a book to read during work. The week I got my camera, I read the manual from front to back several times and then back to front. Let’s just say I’m a nerd and I raised some eyebrows. A customer pushed me to join this online group of photographers and after lurking in the group for a year, I got the nerve to actually attend a workshop.

In all reality, I was instantly hooked. Being super shy and easily intimidated, I struggled with confidence and being proactive with photography. You can’t be a shy photographer, it’s just not a thing. I started photographing anyone and everyone who would volunteer, booked my first wedding in 2012.

I was sure that this was the career for me early, hustling hard towards it in college while pursuing a Journalism degree and working two other part time jobs. After college I went full time at Hy-Vee and after a few years, decided that the grocery store lifestyle wasn’t for me.

I’ve been a full time photographer for a little over a year now and encourage others to do the same. I knew what I wanted and thought it was out of reach. I had to give something up in order to be happy and move on, so I decided to quit my job and pursue photography.

Fast forward 5 years, 250 + weddings, 8 cameras later, here we are. 2017 has been good to me and it’s only April!

Well, that’s the HOW of how & why I became a photographer. The Why has slowly been developing as the years have gone. The answer to ‘why’ used to be because it was fun. Of course it’s still fun, but the answer to ‘why’ has changed and reformed itself.

I love people and I love the stories they hold. I want to tell those stories in a manner that will be timeless and organic. I want them to walk away with something they can share with everyone around them and know that no matter what they’ve been through in their lives or are going to live through, they are worthwhile. That moment that my shutter clicks, is forever still. It may not be a profound life-changing moment, but to me it’s something incredible.

Thank you to Chris Hsieh of La Brisa Photography for starting a positive and phenomenal group of photographers. If you’re interested in photography or just want to hang out with us, you can join here.


(Photo cred: Wyn Wiley)