Photog Accomplished

Graduation-1I have taken more than 15,000 photos this year on my way to becoming a professional photographer.

Now I’ve taken a lot of photos in the past – like that one year the local print shop knew me by name because I printed off hundreds of pocket sized prints for my albums – but never have I dedicated so much time to snapping pics.

It has been amazing.

I graduated last Saturday from the Fotofly Academy in Salt Lake City – a place where I went from hobbyist to expert.

I’m not going to lie. It was a crazy four months. I decided to enroll the very last day possible and started class January 3. My family made a lot of sacrifices so that I could pursue my dream. I missed out on many of my boys sporting events and scouting activities. I’m still sad that I didn’t get to see the Knight Bus we made race in the Pinewood Derby.

But my husband filled in enough for the both of us. He ran kids around, cooked dinner, picked up the house, bathed my babies and took them out fishing and hiking. And he took pictures of the stuff I missed (good ones too).

Going to school was challenging. Not only did I have to juggle a busy family schedule while studying, doing homework photos shoots and editing hundreds of photos, but I had to get used to being gone.

Something that has been good for me and my kids. They got to see mom do something she loves. And I got to do something for myself.

I also had to learn to let go of a lot of the stuff I normally did. My flowerbeds have been neglected, my office is bulging with junk mail and homework to sort through and my toilets have been stinkier than I would like to admit. I’ll be forever grateful that I have been able to order my groceries online. Otherwise we may have starved.

But through it all we have survived. And I have fulfilled a life-long dream – becoming a professional photographer.

I still can’t believe it.

I even have my own website! (

I know how to crop and shoot. I know how to focus then recompose. I know how to tweak my f-stop, shutter speed and ISO so I can shoot in manual – and I’m never going back.

I know how to naturally pose someone and get expression out of them. I know how to control a toddler.

I know how to add dimension to a photo by finding good lighting. I know how to edit and upload work to an online gallery. And I’m really good at shouting, “Oh Yeah!” when it all works together to make a beautiful picture.

There’s no better feeling in the world when it all just clicks.

According to my 10-year-old it’s easy. “Just push the button,” he would say when I’d get anxious before class or a photo shoot.

If only it was that easy. Above anything else I’ve learned it’s much more than button pushing. It’s truly connecting with people and using everything that you know to help them represent their best selves.

And it’s so rewarding.

I can’t wait to find more people to shoot.

And I can’t wait to see how my next 15,000 pictures turn out.

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