reflecting on 10 years {fort lauderdale child photographer}

I've been thinking about how to commemorate my 10 year anniversary as a photographer for some time now.  It's given me some time to reflect on how I got here and how lucky I am to still be doing what I love.  It all brings me back to my dad, who gave me my first Nikon SLR film camera when I was probably around 18.  I had always taken photos of my family with my little 110 camera as a kid, but never thought about it much.  I didn't even take a photography class until I was about 23 and in law school, when I took my first black and white film class in Old Town Alexandria, VA, often torturing my little sister, Gena, who was in college in the area, to model for my class assignments.  And, I fell in love.  But, I never thought it could be my career.  I finished law school, went to work in Virginia Beach as a public defender, moved back to FL, got married, and had my son.  It was then, when I had some time off from work, that I went back to photography.  I took classes and started photographing my friends' children.  Then, I had my daughter, and after "practicing" for a year, I started my business.  But, soon after, I became a single mom, and so to support myself, I went back to the law part-time, and did photography part-time.   After a year, I quit my job as an attorney, became a full time photographer, and never really looked back. I think back to my dad - when I had some doubts as to whether this new career as a photographer would support me, he would ask if I was doing a little better each year.  And, I was.  Then, he would tell me that I had to spend money to make money.  And, I bought better equipment and spent money on marketing and branding.  I remember someone asking me once if it drove my parents crazy that they put me through law school, and that I wasn't using my degree.  I thought about it, and told them that actually my parents preferred it this way - they didn't really like me hanging out in jail all the time with my clients, and having to be so adversarial every day.  I think they knew how happy this made me.  Plus, I use my law degree in other ways - contracts, business transactions, taxes, etc.

I think about my dad, hauling hay for me into the park when I would set up for fall minisessions.  And when I was teaching myself studio lighting, and I would make him sit while I tested out the lights.  And, the night before he died, I sat with him as he rested.  I knew it was close, so I asked him if he was glad that I was a photographer, and he said yes.  And, that meant everything.

Here is my dad about a year before he passed away, after hauling the hay, supporting me and being there for me, not too thrilled to have his photo taken, but there for me always.