Amanda HartComment

How did I start?

Amanda HartComment
How did I start?

People frequently ask me how I got started in photography. Over the time of me owning this company, am I realizing more and more that people don't just hire a photographer, they hire a person. I did it subconsciously even when I hired a photographer for my wedding. I remember when I was hiring a photographer for my personal wedding, I wanted to know her as a person just as much as I loved her work. Because of that, I am going to share how I got started! 

Now a lot of people like hearing the dramatic stories of how people get started like "I knew nothing, picked up a camera, what awesome at it, now I make all kinds of money and the rest is history!" No. I wasn't so sure about photography at first. I feel like my story isn't super dramatic and interesting, but its my story. Its what has made me the person and photographer I am. 

Back in high school, every student approaching graduation gets asked the daunting questions that we all hated, at least I did. "Where are you going to collage? What will you study? What are your goals?" My parents are entrepreneurs. I grew up in that environment and lifestyle. My dad quit his full time, good job 15 years ago, with a wife and 3 little kids to start his business. I watched them struggle and I watch them succeed. If you had asked me at 17 years old, I would have said I wanted a job that I could go to work every day and be a stay at home mom when I had kids. I loved the idea of owning my own business, but I knew the work that was required to do it and I wasn't sure I was up to that. I knew how hard it was. I watched my parents work 10 and 15 hour days, 6-7 days a week. I spent countless hours as a child in office buildings and offices doing homework and watching tv because mom and dad were working. Don't get me wrong, it may sound this way, but I never did feel neglected or like my parents didn't give me and my brothers the time we needed. They would go our of their way in order to make our school events, have family nights and spend individual time with each of us. This is just what life was like. 

I knew as graduation approached I had to make a decision. In my family, saying "we'll figure it out" was not an option. I had to have a plan. My plan was to get a degree in business like I thought others wanted me to do and get some boring job to make money and live life. I was raised in a Christian home. My amazing God fearing mother, who I knew was praying for me, one day asked me to come look at something. I had been taking some photography classes in high school and I guess she noticed that I liked them. I didn't say much until it was time to enroll in collage. She approached me and said she wanted to show me something. She had found a local community collage that offered a photography program. Ill be honest, my first reaction was "how would I made a career out of that? Yeah, I would LOVE that, but I would later have to go back for a four year and I don't want to do that much school." Because of how much fun that seemed, I decided to visit the campus.

That is the beginning of my photography journey.

I applied, got accepted, enrolled and graduated high school, not really knowing what the future held. I am a planner. While I am not the most organized, I was taught since a child to weigh the consequences and the effects of my actions before making a decision. This field was a little unknown and believe me, I heard it from my peers and teachers the private school I attended. I had to do the hard thing. Trust God and trust that it was going to work out. 

Little did I know the gift that God had given me at that time. I have included photos of my first ever photoshoot. Looking back, I laugh. They are so bad. But they were a start. They were a start on a journey that would change my life. Even then, I had no idea what my life would look like almost five and a half years later. 

Has it been hard? Yes. I can't tell you how many hours spent on this business. At one time, I was working a full time 40 hour week job, spending another 35-40 hours on my business, had a husband and tried to have some form of a social life. I'm here to tell you, I have made lots of mistakes. Even with that, everything about this business I love. I can't imagine my life any other way. Best part is, without knowing, I have accomplished and am still journeying on the path I originally started out on. I am a wife, a future mother (unless you consider I'm a mommy to my puppies) , entrepreneur and so much more. I owe 100% credit to God first and foremost. Secondly to my husband and mother who have stuck by me even when I knew they wanted to hurt me out of frustration for differing reasons, but they saw the bigger picture and withheld (thank goodness, even though I'm sure I deserved it). Third, I owe a large amount of thanks to my clients. They are what make this business a reality for me. I have so many great clients who have stood by me and watched me through this journey. I can't thank everyone enough for the support. 

Hope you enjoyed my story. (don't make fun of my first photos too bad) Feel free to comment!