A decade ago I was in the thick of “making it” as a wedding and portrait photographer. I only had two young kids and it was pretty great that I could both mother full time and do this photography gig on the side.
With every kid we added my ability to do photography as a business seemed less and less viable. I was already not great at the business side of things and found it challenging to keep up while also keeping up as a mother. I made the decision that my calling as a mother was more important and stepped away from doing photography, save a couple of times a year when friends might ask me to take their pictures.
In 2019 I upgrade my very outdated camera because although I didn’t make an income from photos anymore, it was important to me to photograph our everyday life as a family. I was able to purchase a really amazing camera and wide angle lens and it really took my photos up a notch.
My old lenses were for the most part not compatible with this new system, so when people did still occasionally ask for photo sessions I was partly using a very old camera and partly using a lens that did not suit portrait photography. I was often left unhappy with the results (I’m sure they were good, just not the excellence I hoped to deliver) and I took on even less opportunities to photograph others because of it.
This year I was asked to shoot a wedding and I knew that I would have to do something about my equipment. My old, old camera was too slow to keep up with the rapid fire finger needed to capture all the events of a wedding and I could certainly not capture everything with only a wide angle lens (wide angle tells a great story but lacks the beauty and depth needed for portraits, not to mention the need for a longer lens to capture events unobtrusively).
I have felt unworthy to buy a new lens because they are very expensive and I can’t really justify it for the amount of paid work I do.
Brad and I had a lot of conversations earlier this summer about my photography and if I should monetize it again somehow, and while I have decided to open my time up to branded author photos and a few more family sessions, the biggest takeaway I got from our conversation was that it’s OK for me to view photography as a hobby and therefore spend money on it.
I felt a lot of freedom in that and purchased a beautiful new 85 mm f1.8 lens before this summer’s wedding. I got to break it in right away by doing one of our apprentices headshots and could not believe that I was finally getting the photos that I had been imagining in my head all along but wasn’t able to pull off with the wrong equipment.
I had no trouble shooting the wedding and thoroughly enjoyed getting to stretch my creative muscles again. I have had a couple of opportunities since then to shoot family sessions for friends and it has been so much fun to deliver photos to people that capture how beautiful their families are.
It’s freeing to finally have the right gear so that what I see can actually come to fruition. For years I got caught up in the lie of believing that I didn’t deserve the right equipment because I was no longer using it to make money, but what I didn’t realize is that by now having the correct equipment it makes me so much more likely to be able to take on opportunities that could potentially make money.
And even if I never make another dime on a session, it’s still such a gift to be able to document our life as a family. I cherish the moments I have captured.