About 5 years ago, I bought my first Nikon DSLR camera. I was 17. I had some cash laying around from a seasonal side job I had and thought, “ehh, why not?”. Thought it would be a fun hobby and only ended up picking the thing up a couple of times… To be honest it overwhelmed me. I looked through the manual for a half a second to only realize I had no idea what I was doing. It basically stayed in auto mode until I upgraded a few years late
My friends have been real troopers since the very beginning. They ending up getting roped into being my models that early spring as I decided to take them out to Antelope Island. It was probably a really painful shoot for them while I messed around with my settings the entire time, trying to figure everything out. I was overwhelmed but they were patient and we ended up having a blast.
I popped my memory card into my computer and it actually found to have some awesome pictures. I had a proud moment, as I was surprised to what I was actually capable of. I wasn’t expecting a whole lot, ya know? But that is what triggered me to pick my camera up again and again. Not because my friends loved the pictures I gave them. Not because I wanted to show them off and tell people “I’m a photographer”. It’s because I honestly and truthfully loved and enjoyed taking pictures. I loved being creative and trying different things. I loved learning about my camera and the things it could do. I loved hanging out with people and getting to know them better.
I spent the next little while doing fun (free) shoots to “build my portfolio”. Between my sister, friends and friend’s friends, I got some good experience under my belt. I started to grow my IG page and getting a good following. A short while later, I start getting contacted by people wanting to pay me for my services. This scared me SO bad, mostly because I knew I was just starting out. I didn’t want them to over pay because if they hated the pictures, I didn’t want them to ask for their money back. I would have been so embarrassed and I know now that if that would have happened, I probably would have quit. Right then and there. A lot of the sessions I did were just $20-$30 at most. But that was fine with me because I loved doing it and I enjoyed giving people images they liked and posted.
Yes, I like to consider myself as “self-taught.” As far as learning my camera, learning composition and lighting, exposure and posing, yes. I read a few articles here and there. I spent a few hours total on Pinterest looking at poses and “How to Grow Your New Photography Business” blogs. There are a few things, however, I couldn’t have ever learned without the help of another photographer I looked up to (and still do) very much. And it’s Charissa Lee Photography.
Charissa and I have known each other since junior high. We lost touch through moving and high school but reconnected when I hired her to be my wedding photographer March of this year, 2017. I had followed her photography page since day 1 (biggest fan right here!). There was no question as to who I wanted as my wedding photographer. She learned that I was starting out with some interest in the industry and invited me to a styled shoot with one of her engagement sessions to follow that evening. She might not know this but after that day, I decided I am going to work my buns off to get where she is at. I wanted to know everything she knew. I wanted better equipment than what I had at the time and overall better resources. From there forward, I practically changed my whole business and how I did things. She invited me over to her house to mentor me on editing, client organization, marketing, payments, pricing, you name it. She sat me down and let me ask her any stupid question I had in my head. There is no way I could EVER repay Charissa and her mentorship. Since our reconnection, she has been there to support me from my horrible times and bad clientele stories, to being excited about my new equipment and letting me send her pictures I was proud of. So, Charissa, thank you for allowing me to come and be your second photographer any chance you had. Thank you for teaching me things and for encouraging me when I’m doubtful. And lastly, thank you for being such a good friend.
I consider this year of 2017 my very first year at photography, as in Brynlee Paige Photography officially “opened its doors” this year. I have booked multiple weddings, senior sessions, families, LDS missionaries, maternity, and newborn sessions. And I’m just getting started.
I couldn’t do this without the support of my clients, family members and friends. Thank you soooo much for being there with me from the beginning!!!
I wanted to blog about this journey and my beginning for the record of it. I have days where I am done, I tell my husband over and over that I quit. That BPP is done forever. In those times it’s easy to forget where you came from and where you started. It’s easy to focus on the negative and its easy to be hard on yourself. I wanted to blog this so I can look back and see how much I’ve grown. It’s very hard not to compare yourself to others, but you need to compare YOU to YOU. Be fair to yourself and charge what you’re worth. Take risks and don’t be scared to protect your name. (a little note to self)
XOXO – Bryn