Where to begin?
After years of being an Amateur Landscape Photographer, I decided that it was time to take my photography skills to the next level. Yep! Semi-Professional! So my journey begins. Let me slow theses horses down for just a second.
When I started, I had no clue about focus, aperture, shutter speed, iso… AKA the Triangle of Exposure or Exposure Triangle…not even technical discussion, I was just pointing and shooting. I couldn’t see the finished product from the original Mother Nature, which my eyes were seeing.
I would take ten frames of the same subject with different figurations of the Triangle of Exposure.. overexposed and underexposed … was how my first year of images looked. Everyone has their own process of learning, mine is very hands on.
Then, I decided that I really should learn the Triangle of Exposure, so at my local community college, I took a few photography classes … mainly focusing on Exposure, Camera Modes, and Basics. I probably took enough courses to have an Associates degree in Fine Art Photography, by now. Funny really since I got my Bachelor’s degree in Chemistry. LOL. Since I wasn’t open for business yet, during college, but I was freelancing as a Shoot and Burn Photographer. Oh yes, my shoot and burn days, $150 for an hour session and an online gallery of usually more than 40 beautifully professional retouched images. Wow! Still can’t believe my young self. I literally was making no money, to keep myself afloat or, at least, have the ability to tread water. There were months where I had no ideas if I was going to be able to have enough money to pay bills, buy gas, groceries, or even pay rent. It was like a roller coaster, trying to save when I could, using coupons, deals, and even doing drug trial testing… anything I could do to make it to the next month. But somehow I managed. After I graduated from Louisiana Tech, I was offered a job in the chemical industry. Which after two weeks, I realized that it was horrible.
1. Driving up to two hours one way, every day.
2. Team was rotten
3. Team had two internal unwritten teams
4. Top inner unwritten team – were micromanagers
5. Manager was rude… putting down the lower team members
6. horrible 9-to-5
7. I listened to music to drown out the negative that was surrounding me in the team.
8. I was able to shut off my brain and not think… just be the robot they wanted
9. No way to climb the company ladder – stuck at the bottom
10. No escape from this nightmare – since I needed the paycheck and insurance
Since I spent most my time during the weekdays – driving in Dallas traffic, working, dying a little bit, and sleep – my life as a recipe – rinse and repeat. I did, however, enjoy my weekends photographing other peoples’ memories, to help them remind the small things in life. Those two days kept me sane for the rest of the week, well as sane as I could get. Then I saw the light at the end of the tunnel – going back to school to get my Masters. That was an experience going from Chemistry Education to Biochemistry was instancing, particularly as it was entirely online. 100% online- Full-Time Job – Weekend Part Time Job – Part Time Master Student- FULL PLATE. I went thru three different universities in a course of three years: Grand Canyon Unversity, Western Governors University, and the University of St. Joseph, when I changed my major to Biochemistry. Yep! I learned my lesson – no more online classes for Chemistry period. Even if I ever decide to go back, because I may not. Even though, after leaving my very first big girl job after college and being jobless for almost ten months – this was a great time for me. I was able to reconnect with God, get my feet back on the ground, before I was starting spending my time, completely to doing photography. In this time, I went from being a semi-professional photographer to being a full-service photographer, which gave me the strength to start my very own business, and so Photos by Stephanie was open for business.
Then I was offered a fantastic job with the current chemical industry job; that help restore my faith not only in myself but also in the industry that is completely Male-Dominated. However, that was not the case the genders were equal, weird thing, it was Left Handed-Dominated. Yes, I am left handed, thank you for asking. I have been thinking of taking some business courses to help run the non-creative side of owning a Photography business, understanding COGS and CODB. So that my prices covered COGS and CODB, and still being able to be paid for not only my talent but also my time at the session and in the post-production.
80% business: 20% photography
However, my goal this year for my business is to education every potential client, the value of photographs that freeze a moment in time, and actually, would rather display their beautiful Fine Art, then just asking for the digitals. Also, take marketing my business more seriously. I wanted to have more time doing photography and less business, so I hired a Studio Manager, who works twice a week, from the inside of her home so that she can remain on bed rest for her last few months of pregnancy. I know TMI. Sorry, no filter.
My Journey to the end of the 9-5.
xoxo till the next time,