When I started doing photography with the idea of actually being able to have it as a job and make somewhat of a living off of it (around 3 years ago) … I decided to make decisions based off of what was best for me as a person and not necessarily what was best for me as a business owner. And I still stand by those decisions. Even now, I talk to other photographers, listen to their advice, watch videos and read blogs all about how to have a successful photography business but sometimes I still choose to swim against the current. I don’t make these decisions just to be different than everyone else or to start a debate, I make these decisions because I’d rather do what’s right for me personally and relationally than what’s right for me professionally…
Since I started doing photography professionally, I’ve always said that I am a person first and a photographer second… if that even. My point in saying that isn’t to say that photography isn’t important to me, it’s to say that there are things much MORE important to me than photography and there always will be. At the end of the day, I COULD live without photography. I know that might not be the right thing to say, but it’s my truth. Would I miss it and would I crave it?! Absolutely! But I would survive and even continue to thrive without it. But imagining living without Jesus or my family or my friends…. I couldn’t give those up as easily… or at all. Do I LOVE being a photographer?! Yes! But I love being a child of God, a sister, a daughter and a friend even more! :)
Some things that I’ve chosen to do that most would say isn’t the right decision as a business owner would be to have separate Instagram accounts. I have a personal Instagram account and also a photography Instagram account. Let me make this clear, I don’t have separate accounts to keep my life private from my clients or those following my photography. I enjoy running a business that is honest and vulnerable and I have never wanted to hide who I am and what I believe from my clients or those following my photography. I also keep my posts and things that I share on my personal Facebook mostly about my personal life or thoughts. Not because I want to hide my photography business from my personal friends (I definitely post about photography every once in a while), but because I don’t want my photography business to completely take over my personal life.
Some photographers or any kind of business owner would say that photography is part of WHO they are. And there is nothing wrong with that, we are all wired differently. But to me, photography isn’t WHO I am, it is only a part of WHAT I do. I am happy and proud to be SO MUCH MORE than photography. When people think of me, I don’t want them to think of me as “Leah, the photographer.” I want them to think of me as “Leah, the good friend” or “Leah, the kind one.”
If you don’t want to hire or follow a photographer who would rather have you as a friend than as a client, that’s fine! Don’t hire me then, don’t follow me then. I understand that the way I choose to run my business doesn’t make sense to many people, and that’s okay with me, I hope it’s okay with you too. But if it’s not okay with you, that’s okay with me! ;)
I’m not saying the way I run business is the RIGHT way… I’m saying it’s the right way for ME! :)
“Do what you feel in your heart to be right- for you’ll be criticized anyway.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
And now… to show you that I’m not trying to hide my personal life from my clients or those who follow me, let’s take a look at some photos from my life over the past 6 months or so. :) Also, I am more than happy to answer any questions or talk about things that have NOTHING to do with photography! :) I’m also more than happy to answer to answer any questions or talk about things that are ALL about photography! :)
Fun fact: ALL of these photos were taken on my sister‘s camera. She documents my life (because she is a big part of it) better than I document my life! Without her, I wouldn’t have nearly as many photos of my day to day life and special occasions! :)
Another fun fact: actually, it’s just a fact, not so fun, haha. I do NOT like using the word “client” … it makes me cringe! I used it a couple times in this post because if I called my “clients” my “friends” it might have confused some people. ;)
This photo is of me and my siblings at one of my favorite restaurants, Rainforest Cafe, for my sister’s birthday last summer! Starting from the left in the Jamaican frog hat we have my younger brother Nick, then in the monkey hat is my youngest brother Matthew, then my slightly older sister Lindsay as the giraffe, then me as the frog and that’s my brother in law, Landon as the white tiger! :) We are silly. :)
This was the first photo taken with my siblings (my best friends) when I got back home after a summer spent in Portland! We went to see a movie AND it was my favorite kind of weather… RAIN! :) P.S. If you hire me to take your photos, this is what my hair will look like. It’s always in a bun when I’m shooting! :)
This is from a regular Tuesday night hanging out with my friends! :) …. Haha, just kidding! This is from a Halloween party with my closest friends! I’m Little Red Riding Hood… because all I needed for the costume was a cape! ;) But I love dressing up! :)This is me and my siblings reenacting a photo we took a few years earlier in the exact same spot doing the exact same thing. We’re weird… and I like it. :)This photo clearly doesn’t need to be explained… but I’ll explain it anyway. This is me and my siblings in Downtown Disney!!! We took a road trip just the 4 of us (my brother in law had to stay home to work) a couple days before Christmas and we had SO much fun!!! :) We decided to take the road trip because….…we went to see a live taping of GIRL MEETS WORLD!!! Yes, that’s right. I still watch the Disney Channel. Well, I only watch Girl Meets World on the Disney Channel because Boy Meets World is one of my all time favorite shows EVER!!! This is us (my siblings and friend Michal who lives in California) waiting in line to get into the taping! We ALMOST didn’t get in… but then we did!! And it was amazing!!! And we all got to meet….
…Cory Mathews!!!! I mean… uh… Ben Savage!!! ;) And yes, I’m holding a Boy Meets World DVD case that he signed for me! :)This is me and my closest girl friends at one of our girls nights!!! And my brother in law trying to get in the photo… haha.This is me and my sister, Lindsay, being silly at Christmas time! Picking out a tree and posing with a giant bear.Happy New Year!!! Every New Year’s Eve I celebrate with my closest friends at one of our houses! Sparklers are always involved. ;)
And lastly, even though this was taken before the New Year’s Eve photo, this was our Christmas card photo!! Well, the one on the left was and the one on the right is us being weird again. It’s funny how I was busy all fall taking Christmas Card photos for tons of families and then my family took this… haha. One year I will finally be able to convince everyone to have a professional family photo shoot together! :)