So, I've decided to tackle my multiple career paths first and name it the '9 lives' series. I probably only have about 6 lives (...after really thinking about it, I probably really have 9 for real) right now but my journey is far from finished so I'm just guessing I haven't experienced the other 3 yet or even more, maybe I'm a super cat lol. What can I say my life of being an ambitious dreamer is really what has transformed me over and over. So for this chapter of my life I'm going to tell you about how I became a professional photographer and why I stopped doing it.
Photography was the first career path that came to me and it all started from joking around. I just started doing my degree in Mass Communications with an emphasis in TV Production (the film section is a whole other chapter) and during that time I was really admiring Ryan Lue-Clarke's photography. I was just amazed, the concepts he came up with were so cool and even then I wasn't like, 'Oh I want to be a photographer!' I just thought it was super cool.
One day, Kareen (best friend) and I had just finished eating at the school cafeteria and I was like lets do a photoshoot (I was about 16 or 17) and we went around the back of the cafeteria and I whipped out my iPhone and started taking pictures of Kareen. We were doing portraits, we were pretending to smash stuff, we were posing with broken chairs. We had a blast. When I got home, I 'edited' them (i just turned them black & white and contrasted it) and wrote. D. Andy Photography on them and I thought I was so cool.
I uploaded them on my Facebook and people laughed and say 'ennuh easy ennuh' and dem ting dere. But I realized I didn't really take it as a joke even though we were just messing around and I was just became determined to come up with better and better concepts everytime. I really think it was the fact that conceptualizing the photoshoots made them have a story. So i started to shoot all my friends and myself and uploading it with D. Andy Photography and everybody was loving it till one day somebody asked me how much I charged for a photoshoot and I was like...with my iPhone? They didn't care, they loved my eye. So my first job I charged $1000 and did so with that iPhone for a while and that was the start of D. Andy Photography.
It was great, I was having a blast and I just wanted to get better (I'm obsessed with growth) So I begged my Daddy to buy me a fairly inexpensive camera half professional camera and bargained with him that if I'm making money with iPhone, I would make more money with a real camera and I would pay him back.
Boom! I got the camera, Price raise and bere tings. More jobs, more recognition and I even got to meet Ryan and he even photographed me and Kareen. Until my school decided they would take a chance on me and let me photograph their graduation photos. I wanted to make them more fun and have more of a concept. Anyway that job started and boy was it a lot of work, I had to do the 3 branches and it was almost like everybody was graduating that year lol. But I did my best & I made it and that's how I made my first real cheque from photography at about 17 or 18 and that was big money to me! I was excited. I bought equipment and a new camera, I was ready to take over the world.
My parents were especially proud of me and decided to give me a shop they owned to run a photo studio. I think that's when I bought my studio equipment, I was so excited, I bought pink & black paint and got my mother to help wrap an old couch pink & black (I have the most DIY Mom and she is an artist so she get creative with everything), She did sign making at the time from vinyl. I had designed up my logo by this time (thanks desktop publishing class) and she wrapped a showcase for a place for me to store stuff and my boyfriend and I at the time painted my studio pink and black. Fontana was across the street so I would just do my photo printing there. I set my prices, made the announcement on Facebook and one Monday morning I was open for business at the young age of 19 :D. (Prepare to die with laughter with my dramatics, I sure did. Lmao! But I'm just really passionate about anything I decide to do. Is like I can't half ass things.)
You can imagine how excited I was, on top of the world, making moves. I arrived at work early, dressed up, booted up my laptop and I sat down and waited for my first customer. And I waited. and.............waited and waitedddd.......and waited till it was 5 and it was time to close. I was so sad that day, I can't really forget it, to the point where my parents gave me $1000 to make me feel better and told me that's how business goes. It was like that the entire week until I got one customer, lol that one customer don't know how they made my entire life that day and that was the beginning of my photo studio. Business picked up and even had a special on Christmas Eve that had the place packed and me running across the street like a headless chicken into the early morning but boy did I feel great. During that time, a fan of my work and my ambition offered to build a website for me free of cost, I was just being blessed during my time as a photographer.
However, I was still going to school and when it started again, I had to go to class and then to work when I had free time. This caused my studio to be closed a lot and as you know school is a thing that can get hectic and I was determined to do great in college. I really liked what I was doing in school so I do think my business suffered because of it but school was my priority and I had internship in Kingston & all that. But I still didn't give up, I was trying to expand and use some of my video talents and add more services and call it D. Andy Photography. I even tried hosting a powershoot which failed miserably. But that's me, always coming up with ideas. However I did get recognized for my hard work and talent. Where I was nominated for Most Improved and Most Growth in the Market Mixx Awards and won Most Improved and I was featured in Buzzz Magazine. :D Pretty exciting for a young girl from little Mandeville.
When I finished school, I knew I didn't want to waste my degree, so a lot of people thought I would just run the studio full time after that but I wanted to know what it was like to get a job and get paid and all that. On top of it, my parents were pretty strict so I wanted my freedom. I had finished college and had my degree, it was time to move out.
I really liked photography, it was the first of my talents I really stumbled on and it was really awesome to me that I could monetize something I really liked that was fun for me. But here is the reason I really stopped doing photography. Working at my photos studio was a great accomplishment but with it came the business, where I was doing a lot of the photography I didn't want to so I could pay my bills at the studio, passport photos, children photography, regular studio shots and very little of the conceptual photography that made me love it in the first place. You also become that 'photographer friend' that apparently wants to carry their camera everywhere and shoot all the time and not actually enjoy the events your invited to. "You carrying your camera right?" I mean. I get it. Not everybody gets to have a friend who is a photographer, especially at that time when the market wasn't oversaturated. It was really about the art for me and once I lost the enjoyment for it, I knew it was time to stop. And the business reality of it was that everyone was becoming a photographer so it was hard to fight for something you stopped loving and ready to move on from with the odds against you.
At the time, I did wonder if I'm a quitter or a failure and I didn't really understand why it had to happen that way where I stopped loving something that had such great promise and I had worked so hard for, achieved a lot with etc. The reality is that creatives can lose their passion, but my time in photography had it's purpose but that's for the next chapter and the final chapter. Till next time.