I spent 8+ years as a Neonatal ICU RN before deciding to stay at home with my 2 kids, later 3, before I fell into Photography. Being in the ICU, I was surrounded by machines that I had to understand. That desire didn’t change, it just shifted into photography. It became an obsession for me to figure out and understand how to make the image I could see in my head. Life is just a series of challenges and I welcome each situation and strive to treat my clients as new found friends. My heart is to serve each to the best of my ability.
RN to Mom to PhotographerWhat I am best at
After deciding to be home with my kids, I needed a hobby that I could do while raising my kids. I had several hobbies already. I loved to crochet, cross-stitch, and sew. However, throwing kids into the mix just didn’t fulfill me the way it used to. But taking their photos allowed me to try a gazillion different things and learn quickly. My Hubby bought me my first DSLR camera for my birthday in January 2012. Before long I was beginning to get noticed by my friends and family. Everyday I tried to learn one new technique or understand something further. I wore out YouTube and moved into taking workshops and attending online seminars to improve. I’m such a perfectionist about things that I try it a million times before with my kids before I’ll try it with a client. Then I have those “A-HA!” moments and squeal. Like an inventor…”it works!”
When I began, I also loved to document my kids lives, whether inside the house or outside. I needed to know how to shoot in any scenario where the light changed dramatically. I’ve always shot on manual mode so I can have full control over the situation. And I’ve added flash and off-camera flash in recent years. So now I can create more dramatic looks or just shoot in the dark when there’s nothing lighting my subject.
I’m always working on personal projects because I find that keeps me passionate about my craft and immune from burnout. And I love printing them to display on my walls. Having a useful hobby that brings me so much joy is incredible.
Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.” – Confucius
My StoryWhat makes me tick?
I was born and raised in a small town in Texas. We had a small farm with Longhorn cattle, a horse, bunnies, dogs, and cats. From an early age I was taught the value of hard work and earning bragging rights. Whether I was picking peaches or bottle feeding a calf, I absolutely loved being outdoors and taking care of things. I grew up independent and I try to instill that in my own kids.
Our home was unique. My Dad buried 4 train cars underground back in the 1980. There was a catwalk and spiral staircase that led downward into the courtyard where the train cars faced inward in a rectangle. It was naturally lit due to the giant skylight dome and was quite cooler than surface temps, but we did have central heat and air. I lived there for 14 years before my family moved to a more traditional style home. I’m sure this has contributed to me thinking outside the box on occasion.
My Dad also races at Bonneville Salt Flats. He started in 1989 when I was only 8 years old. When I wasn’t in school I would join him and be part of the pit crew. My job was either taking out the spark plugs after a run or selling T-shirts. Being on a crew with the specific goal of making a land speed record taught me more about hard work. We all had a hand in achieving those records.
I met my hubby, Lee, in high school and we went to all our formal dances together. I guess that’s rare these days. We got married my 3rd year of college when I started Nursing school at Texas Woman’s University in 2001. We built our first home in Frisco, TX and joined a church family. Lee and I would spend the next 10+ years building and serving in various capacities within that church. I served as a Children’s Worship Leader and volunteered with the VBS program between my pregnancies. A few years later in 2006 we had our son, Simon. Man, did life change! Then in 2009, we had Ellie and my Mom passed away from a 2 year struggle with cancer. Life changed again. I felt compelled to stay home with my 2 kids and leave the 12 hour day hospital setting. Fast forward to 2012, Lee bought me my first DSLR camera. It was a Nikon D90 and my photography journey began. While I didn’t necessarily have spare time with 2 kids and all my volunteer work, I spent that extra time learning everything I could about different photography techniques. I was soon being hired to take Family Portraits and my first Commercial gig was being flown to Laredo and shoot some factory shots for American Standard. In 2013, Abby, my last daughter was born.
The following year we would make the decision to move to Virginia for Lee’s job. He had telecommuted for a year prior. This was a huge decision since we were both Texans through and through. But, we trusted that there was more out there and made the leap. He drove and I flew across the country with 3 kids aged 1, 4, and 6. Yes, I was crazy! But what a great story it makes now. It took some time to get used to not having Texas BBQ or Tex-Mex or mild winters. We also spent some time trying to find the right area where we would fit in. Moving 3 times in 4 years also pairs down your belongings.
During this time I began taking clients and getting my business re-established in Virginia. Weddings was something that always scared me and I thought I would stretch myself and second shoot a few. I fell in love with the whole process. Getting to know a couple as they plan the most important day of their lives is such an honor. Then getting to meet the people that raised them and support them…I might just start crying thinking about it. I’m usually teary during all the Firsts. The First time Dad sees his daughter as a Bride. The First time a Groom sees his Bride. The First Dances, The Grandparents dancing, The Toasts from longtime friends. It’s incredible how so much love can be packed into one day! It’s definitely something that I respect and cherish.
Now that our family has settled into Loudoun County, I’ve enjoyed meeting more people that value a slower more rural lifestyle. We’ve adopted a couple sweet puppies that you’ll see pop up in my Facebook Feed from time to time. Oliver is a beagle and Cookie is a beagle/shephard mix. Both are a handful but worth it. They’re super sweet and playful and the kids love them.