I recently had the opportunity to speak at a Lunch and Learn event at our local library. The coordinator was a client of mine and she wanted me to discuss how I learned about photography and started KCM. I was SO nervous to accept because I'm still dealing with a lot of imposter syndrome despite all the learning, skill-building, and practicing I've done. I (somewhat hesitantly) accepted her invitation and began to think about my path to photography and starting my business and it really opened my eyes. Now that I'm officially a business, I've been so bogged down trying to figure out where my next paycheck is coming from that I forgot why I started doing this in the first place.

I've always felt called to a creative career path. When I was searching for colleges, I was certain I wanted to enter the fashion industry. I loved sewing and designing clothes (I made my prom and homecoming dresses in high school) and it seemed like an exciting opportunity. But fear got the better of me. So many people in my life told me how challenging it was to make a living in creative industries like fashion, so I panicked and went to a safe school with a business program.

I learned very quickly that a business degree was NOT for me. I took macroeconomics my first semester and saw my first ever failing grade. I hated going to my business classes and couldn't imagine myself sitting in some corporate office for the rest of my life. So I started trying out different majors and eventually found some exciting learning opportunities in political science. I loved every class I took. Every topic fascinated me and I often had a hard time narrowing down my class choices. But as much as I enjoyed learning about politics, I also knew that a career in politics wasn't for me either. But at this point I had to stick with a major, so I did.

I was heavily involved in extra-curriculars, so I figured I'd get into a career in one of those areas. When I finished undergrad, I had an opportunity to be a graduate assistant in our housing department and get a master's degree. Since I had no other plans or opportunities available at the time, and I liked working in housing, I decided to go for it. This ultimately led to me working in higher education housing departments for 7 years. I moved around a bit as new opportunities presented themselves, but I felt stuck in the field since I didn't have much experience to go a different direction. 

When I met Kyle, I knew that I would have to find a path out of higher ed because it wasn't conducive to being a military spouse and I was grateful for the "out". I took advantage of some military spouse scholarships to broaden my education and experience and landed a job as a virtual health coach around the same time we found out we were expecting our little nugget the following spring. At first I loved this job. There were so many opportunities to advance and develop! But the company realized they over-hired and they were forced to restructure. Suddenly my opportunities for growth were gone and I was once again stuck in an entry-level role with little hope for challenge or advancement.

After returning from maternity leave, I was miserable. I couldn't motivate myself to love the work again because I had 1) an amazing kiddo who filled me with purpose and 2) no reason to commit myself to the work aside from a paycheck, which isn't much of a motivator. After a few agonizing months, I turned in my two-weeks notice and spent several months as a stay-at-home-mom. As much as I loved staying home with Jude, I knew it was short-lived. Kyle and I agreed he would start at a local preschool in the fall to provide him with opportunities to socialize and grow as an individual away from our parental influence. So I started thinking about what I would do when that time came. I applied for a few jobs but didn't get any of them, and honestly it was a blessing in disguise.

I had been practicing with my camera for many years and–with encouragement from a local military spouse–finally started accepting paying gigs. Being on a session and spending time with families and couples having fun being together filled my heart with so much joy and excitement. Getting behind the computer to edit the photos is just as heartwarming because every time I sit down to edit I get to relive the fun of the session and feel the joy all over again. Photography fulfills my yearning for creativity, my love of structured tasks and organization, and my desire to connect with others and bring them joy.

When Kyle returned from deployment we talked about my career options and he said something that really struck a chord with me. He told me, “I’ve always known you’d start your own business. Working for someone else limits you and your potential. I fully support you in this.” He said what I had known for many years but never really listened to. It always sounded so scary to not have the dependability of a “stable” job. But I had Kyle’s belief, support, and encouragement, and that muted the fear. It’s only been a few months, but I am happier than I’ve ever been with a job. I get to see so much love and happiness every single day and capture those emotions for the families and couples I serve. Every session is a gift for me and reminds me that I’m doing what I truly love.

I started KCM because I had fun with my camera and had some natural instincts for photography. Never did I dream that I'd have the privilege of making this my full-time job. Learning and growing every day, being my own boss, building relationships with AMAZING clients, and providing them with memories they can look back on for generations to come is such an honor. Each day as a creative entrepreneur is exciting, challenging, and more rewarding than I ever could have imagined. I can't wait to meet you and share my passion and excitement with you!