I used to have this sinking feeling that I had nothing to offer the world.  Of course my family needed me, but beyond that I felt useless.  It was the worst feeling in the world, to feel like I didn’t matter.

One day as a friend was showing me her photos from an international trip, I felt inspired.  Her photos told a story and were pretty good quality.  She’s not a professional photographer and her camera wasn’t a professional camera, but I had this desire to try.  I bought a camera like hers and it cost $350.  It didn’t even have interchangeable lenses.

I started playing around with it and taking pictures of the animals around me.  Then I took some photos of the kids.  It was fun!  It was a way of capturing how I felt, somehow.  I could never put my feelings into words.  Pictures explained them perfectly, even to myself.  Horses help me find my feelings as well, so the moment I started photographing horses I was hooked.  There is so much emotion in horse photos for me.

My excitement was uncontainable, so I couldn’t wait to find time to get the camera out and practice.  I taught myself to shoot in manual mode.  I learned how to take crisp action shots and use creative depth of field.  When my feet hit the floor in the morning I was thinking about what I would shoot that day.  What WAS this newfound feeling anyway?  Passion?  Could it be?

Once I had maximized my knowledge with what that camera could do, I upgraded to a DSLR with interchangeable lenses.  More fun!  The most amazing part was just around the corner.  Typically, people make me nervous, so I was always worried about how I was being perceived by others.  I became so focused on taking photos that I could forget about people looking at me.  I am definitely a nerd…but I don’t care!  The passion inside of me took over and I was completely engrossed in what I was doing while photographing horses.

So, as wonderful as this experience seemed to be, how in the world would my horse photos become useful in the world?  That mattered to me.  I kept that question in the back of my mind as I pressed forward and practiced.  As it turns out, my communication with the horses make communication with people easier, and it’s been no different with photography.

God is good and His timing is perfect.  He has been patient with me and given me small opportunities precisely when I am ready for them.  Slowly but surely I started taking photos of my family and friends.  It was more fun than I had anticipated!  After a number of portrait sessions I would take a break and go back to horses to get refreshed and keep my confidence up.  Then back to people.  A little ways into this process a dear friend asked me to photograph her small wedding.  Yikes, big time pressure!  I didn’t feel qualified, but I couldn’t let her down.  Life had thrown her one of the toughest curve balls I had ever seen and I wasn’t about to let her down.  So for her, I tried.  God knew she would be a soft spot for me.  What a blessing it turned out to be.  I enjoyed the process and provided her the photos she wanted.  WIN!

I am constantly learning more about photography techniques as well as the business side of it.  I’ve had the opportunity to do more weddings.  I’m enjoying them so much!  A few years ago I never would have guessed that I would be shooting weddings and loving it!

As my own self-confidence has grown, I have high hopes of helping other women build their own self-confidence.  When I can take a beautiful portrait of a woman and have her see the value and beauty within herself it is PRICELESS!  That is the ultimate reward for me.  Many women feel more comfortable in front of the camera when they can bring their horse into the session as well.  It provides them with lifelong memories of the interaction with their beloved companion, and also helps them relax and feel sure of themselves during the photoshoot.  I love it!

Although this is my own success story, there have been plenty of challenges along the way.  I worked to figure out how to build a website, make price lists, schedule clients, budgeting, sales tax etc.  There is just as much “business” knowledge to be learned as there is photography.  Whether you are a photographer or have another kind of business I want to encourage you to keep trying.  Believe in yourself and continue taking action toward your goals.  If you are struggling I’d love to talk it out with you!  Keep working!