August 29, 2018
After my anniversary blog back in June (where I chronicled how Will and I met), someone reached out and asked if I could share my work history… how I came to be a photographer. I thought that was such a fun blog idea, so here we go! *Disclaimer: This isn’t a photo blog… mostly just words. I hope that’s ok ;-)
While my entrepreneurial spirit exhibited itself early in my life when, from the ages of 7-12, my siblings and I used to have lemonade stands and what we called “Kid Sales” (where me and my siblings would gather all our happy meal toys and even some cool rocks we found, display them on our Fisher Price picnic table out in our driveway, and try to sell said toys to our neighbors and even our mailman), I guess technically, my first job was in middle school. I would babysit a few times a week for a few different families. I probably started around the age of 12 or so. I remember getting $9 most evenings for babysitting gigs, but every now and then, I would get a whopping $15 if the parents stayed out a little later that night :) I saved up my babysitting money to buy things like glitter eye shadow and cute earrings from Claires.
When we moved to Alabama when I was 15, I got a job at Chick-Fil-A in Madison. I worked there for about 3.5 years and seriously loved every minute! I really enjoyed that job and the people I worked with (including my awesome boss) so much! Two of my sisters worked there too and, eventually, my best friend joined as well! That was a super fun year! :) I also babysat some during this time as well.
When I was about 19, I started working for another amazing boss, who was/is a strong female small business owner of a professional geriatric care management firm. I worked as the receptionist at first, eventually taking on the office manager role. I gained alot of valuable experience at that job that I didn’t even realize I gained until I started my own business. I also got to do alot of other non-office-manager things at that job including helping out with some client visits/projects at nursing homes/assisted living facilities (we worked with seniors and their families). I really enjoyed loving and serving our clients and their families during what was often times a hard time in their lives.
It was while I was at this job that my family moved back up to Virginia, I started doing photography on the side to help make ends meet, and I met my future husband, Will.
I photographed my first wedding around this time, not even fathoming that I would become a wedding photographer one day. It was not even on my radar… not in my wildest dreams. From that first wedding, I got a referral, and then another and another. I continued doing some photography on the side and making a little bit of money.
When I was 22, a month before Will and I got married, we decided that I would step away from my job as an office manager and focus on final wedding prep, then after we were married, we would evaluate things and look into this photography thing.
In June 2009, after we got back fron our honeymoon, we made some plans and set some goals with regards to what I would do work-wise. We knew that I would try to make photography work, but in the meantime, we decided that I needed a short term job to tied us over until photography could support me a little more. So, I reached out to a temp agency and got hired that week at a wire and cable distributing company in Madison. I did data entry for a little over a year at that company. I loved my boss and manager and my wonderful co-workers. Yet another wonderful work experience.
While that job was nothing but a delight, that season was rough. I was working full time at that job, getting home around 5:30pm, and then editing photos from about 6pm until midnight most nights (I was slow at editing in those early days and didn’t have good editing software either). Then on the weekends, I was doing weddings and photoshoots. I didn’t really ever have much time off and I was completely overwhelmed and exhausted. I am thankful for that experience and what it taught me, but I am also so thankful that it didn’t last too too long.
Less than a year and a half after starting that job, we reached our photography goals allowing me to put in my two weeks notice so that I could start working at Erin Lindsey Images full time in the Fall of 2010! And the rest is history!
I went from shooting less than 8 weddings a year to 25+ a year within my first year or two of going full time. And now, as we approach my 8th anniversary of working full time in my business, I am so thankful that we have grown my business to allow me the freedom to cut back to just 8-10 weddings a year to allow us more time to spend with family and friends on the weekends.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the fact that Erin Lindsey Images WOULD NOT exist if it weren’t for my husband, Will. He has done so much for me and my business, including but not limited to second shooting with me at almost every wedding I’ve ever done, helping set up and keep track of things like my business license, taxes, etc., and encouraging me every step of the way. I often feel like a fraud when talking about “my” business because the fact is, it is just as much Will’s business and hard work as it is mine. I couldn’t do it without this man and that is the truth <3
Since going full time with Erin Lindsey Images, I’ve been able to grow my business to offer manual photography workshops, private photo editing to photographers, as well as coaching and mentoring new photographers as they start and grow their businesses. I am blessed.
Looking back, it’s all a whirlwind. I sometimes have to pinch myself when I realize I have my own business with the freedoms I have to work from home at my own pace. It’s not perfect and I certainly have my days/weeks/seasons of frustration and/or overwhelm, but overall I am just in awe. I am so thankful. The journey I took to get to where I am now is still so bizzare to me.
The fact is, I never planned to be a photographer. I honestly never dreamed that I could be a professional photographer and actually make a living out of it. I don’t have a photography degree. I honestly wasn’t even a good photographer back in the day when I started doing photoshoots and weddings! I don’t know why people hired me back then, I really don’t. So it’s just a God thing that things turned out the way the did. I accidentally found my passion and found a way to make a career out of it.
And I’m not just talking about photography. My passion stretches beyond photography… my passion is my clients. My followers. Other photographers. Encouraging people. Uplifting people either with my photography work or just with my words. I love the people I get to interact with — brides and grooms, their families and friends, other photographers, small business owners, and everyone in-between. So many of my dear friends have come into my life via Erin Lindsey Images in one way or another. I am just so thankful.
This blog started out as just a little work history recap, but I’m realizing it’s become much more than that. It’s a reminder of where I came from. A reminder of how far I’ve come. A reminder of how thankful I really am. A reminder to keep dreaming, keep working hard, keep trying, keep pushing. These are reminders for me right now as I’m typing this, but I what I really hope is that these become reminders and encouragement for YOU. I don’t know who you are or where you are in your journey. I don’t know what your dreams are, career or otherwise. But I hope and pray that you feel encouraged. Encouraged to work hard and to dream big and try big things. I am a walking example of it! The sky is truly the limit!
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