If you would have told me ten years ago I would be where I am today I’d probably roll my eyes and laugh out loud in disbelief. Ten years ago when I graduated high school I was set on being a police officer. Yep, a police officer. I wanted to help others and most importantly I wanted to serve and protect, as is the police officer motto. I did a ride along with a local police officer for a day and I was hooked. Afterwards I was even more excited and driven to be a police officer and go through the training. One of our lectures was on what do we do when we approach a scene and it relates to us, how do we handle it and keep our composure? I knew in that moment I couldn’t do it, I didn’t have the strength to keep it together. What most people don't know is, twelve years ago I lost my sister in law and niece in a bad car accident. Loosing them was the biggest loss I ever had. It hit me hard and coming to an accident scene with a mom and child I knew I didn't want to ever witness that scene. It was the worst and still is the worst day of my life. I never went back to that class because I wasn’t ready for the reality of it all.I told my parents and they understood why I didn’t want to go back to my criminal justice class. I didn’t know what to do next because I wanted to be a cop since my freshman year of high school. After speaking with a few friends form high school they suggested I do photography classes.
I thought about that for a while, being a photographer. Could I really make a career of being a photographer and doing what? Back in high school when my friends and I got together I was always taking pictures, I enjoyed it. I thought about why I took so many pictures and why this would be a good fit for me. I enjoyed taking my friends pictures because I saw how it made them happy and it felt good seeing how excited they were over their new pictures. I thought the editing and changing an image was really cool how a simple change could make the photo come to life even more. When I took pictures of friends through high school I didn’t want to forget my friends and our shenanigans. I wanted to hold onto that sliver of happiness they brought back to my life. Being around my friends they helped me laugh again and see the good moments in life again. One day when my brother, Matt, was over he had his "nice camera" with and told me to go play with it and see what happens. I walked into my backyard and a butterfly was in my backyard. I chased that little butterfly and I was amazed at how good the picture was for literally just picking it up and snapping a few pictures. I decided I would give the classes a shot. I changed my classes to photography and began the journey. I enjoyed the classes and learning about the different styles and types of cameras. Unfortunately, I did not succeed in the class, I barely passed with a C. I was incredibly frustrated that I didn't do as well. I didn't stop though, I kept going and kept learning. I took many bad photos but I knew I could get better and I just needed to keep practicing. I found a hobby that I enjoyed and I was not going to stop over a few bad images.
When we loose someone the first thing we look at are pictures of our loved one. We look back on memories and milestones. When we lost the girls it was the first thing I did, looked at a picture of my niece and I just a few months prior to the accident. I remember in those next few days feeling like we didn’t have enough pictures even though there were mounds of picture boxes. I wanted to remember every detail of the girls.
So when I’m photographing your family I do my best to capture everything about your family. From dirty piggy toes, messy hair, a tantrum or smiles, I’ll give you your true family. Life is messy, emotional and wonderful. I tend to over deliver because if it was my kid making a pout face, I would want that image. That’s your child in that moment and I want you to forever remember all of those pout faces, smiles and laughs. Life isn't perfect, it's really messy sometimes but hopefully your ups out weigh the lows. I am so thankful that so many of you come to me milestone after milestone for documenting your life. I love the feeling you guys give me when you comment, share and post your images online. You have no idea how happy it makes me that my photo meant something to you for you to share with others. Thank you for that.
When my oldest was born I kept going, I had a little boy to raise and I wasn't going to fail for him. I got more serious and I really dove into learning so I could to be better. My brother, Matt who is a tech guru helped and built my website and helped find printing labs and legal goods.I had fun my first year, going out taking pictures of friends and my little boy. I learned a lot from all my failures and successful sessions. I had days where I wanted to give up because I hated my images or a client was being difficult but I learned from every thing I was doing. I learned where I needed to beef up my contracts and skills and I learned what worked. When my second little boy came along I got more into newborns and really capturing kids. I did both before but with each new milestone in my life I realized different things about life. I never wanted to miss my little boys details and photography really became more about capturing people for who they were.
When my youngest was eight months old I moved back to Byron to raise my boys on my own. I hit another milestone, another change. I just left a very unpleasant and un-supportive marriage. I got a temporary job babysitting my friends girls to supplement what photography wasn't covering because my boys needed me, a life that was stable, supportive and healthy. I debated a lot on if I was good enough in many areas of my life to really take things to the next level. I decided that I wanted photography to be my full time gig because I LOVE my job. I wanted to keep the flexibility so I could be there for my boys and still be happy with my career choice. I took a break on weddings because my heart couldn't handle them and I focused on what made me happy. Families, kids and seniors. I worked on these three areas while I healed and thought about the direction of where I wanted my business to go. Those two years were much needed so I could get back and be ready for the big things I wanted to accomplish.
It took a long time to be thankful for some things in my past so I could grow and really know what I want in my life. It was a hard two years of building myself back up after five years of someone tearing me down. I am so thankful for my parents and the friends who stayed in my life during my ups and downs. Especially my mom, that woman is amazing. She's the first one I go to for advice on anything and without her encouragement I can honestly say I probably would have quit a few times and wouldn't be as successful as I am today. I have so far to go yet but I will get to my ultimate goal.
Last year I reached the first step to my goal, opening up my new brick and mortar studio in Byron. My first studio was my garage at my old house and I will forever remember where I started this business of mine. That little garage was revamped by my mom and brother, Derek. They worked many hours on getting drywall up and a small storage area for me together but it was small. I was limited on what I could do there and when because during winter it was cold in there. The space heater only did so much and let's be honest, it was a garage. So when my boyfriend, Nate, came along and into our lives we hit another milestone. It was time to move on from the garage studio and a bigger house. Through the process of us finding a bigger house I found my current studio space and I'm so incredibly thankful for my bigger space! I can finally have client meetings and not worry about my clients being cold! The first year there has been so incredible and healthy for my business. My business has grown again and 2019 is looking even brighter for CMP! Every up and rock bottom low has been worth it because here I am today, 27 and a mompreneur.
This years goals will be crushed and I can't wait to show you all what is in store for CMP. I'm breaking out of my shell and I am running with my ideas. If you made it this far reading this, thank you. Thank you for supporting and believing in my dream and possible. Without so many amazing clients I would have the few bad apples ruin my dream. Thank you for making this career so enjoyable. xoxo