Physical therapist…wedding photographer… I am sure you are confused how I went from one to the other. So today I wanted to share exactly how I went from pursuing a career in physical therapy to a wedding photographer!
As a senior in high school, I was pretty unsure about what I wanted to major in at college. But I got good grades in high school so I figured maybe a science degree would be a good fit? I was a dancer throughout high school so I was well acquainted with physical therapy and thought I might want to do that as a career. I also knew I wanted to help people. My brain just decided that physical therapy seemed like the logical thing to do.
So as a freshman in college at Lindenwood University I went in as an exercise science major with the plans of eventually becoming a physical therapist. But after one semester I realized two very important things:
These were obviously very big problems for me because exercise science involved – you guessed it – SCIENCE. It also involved more years of school after undergrad. Yikes. You might think at this point I would have considered the idea of entrepreneurship considering my hatred of sitting in a classroom. Well you’re wrong!
Instead, I change my major two more times. First to therapeutic recreation, then to business. So now you’re probably thinking, “Wow business, so you FINALLY figured out you wanted to be an entrepreneur!!” Nope! 🙂 I changed my major to business simply because I was about to be a junior so I was running out of gen-ed classes to take. It was the time where I had to pick a firm major and I decided business just might be my best bet because I can do so many different things with it.
However very quickly after this decision I somehow stumbled upon the wedding photographer world on Instagram. I’m now going to pause real quick – something I haven’t mentioned yet is that I loved photography, and I knew this at the time. I have loved photography since Elementary School. I remember when I was 7 years old at my Uncle’s wedding, my mom let me have her camera and I took pictures the entire time and LOVED it. But for some reason there is this massive stigma, especially in the midwest, about having a career in the creative industry.
People would see that I liked photography and ask me all the time if I wanted to be a photographer full time. I would always, without thinking, reply, “Definitely not, I could never make enough money to do that as a career.” Lol. But I enjoyed doing photography as a little side gig, shooting mainly family sessions and seniors. People would ask me if I wanted to shoot weddings. I would say, “NEVER – wayyy too much pressure!” Again, lol.
You know how it works: you start following one wedding photographer then Instagram shows you like 10 others to follow. Well after I started following these photographers I started to see what the world of wedding photography was actually like. I saw people who were not that much older than me, self employed, making good money, doing something they loved.
It really was that fast. As soon as I was introduced to the possibilities of being an entrepreneur and the world of wedding photography, I was IN. I KNEW this was what I was suppose to do. I made this decision in April 2018 and by August 2018 I had created my website, became a legal LLC, created my portfolio, and booked two weddings for the following year just over those few months.
And honestly, ever since then, I still haven’t really slowed down. I ended up booking 9 of my own weddings in 2019 along with second shooting another 9. In 2020 I booked 20 weddings. I graduate in a week with a degree in Business Administration with an emphasis in Marketing. I’ll be doing wedding photography 100% full time after that.
After I decided I wanted to be a wedding photographer I haven’t looked back. I knew in my gut it was the right choice back then and every step of the way has only shown me that more. Now, I am NOT saying it has always been easy. But I always knew it felt right.
So with all that being said, here a few key takeaways I learned from how I went from a physical therapy major to a wedding photographer:
Listen – I definitely got a fair share of confused looks when I told people and my professors that I am a wedding photographer. How did I combat those remarks? I said screw ’em. (By that I mean I was still very nice & gracious and politely explained how I am a legal business, shoot at least 20 weddings a year, blah blah. I mean I once had that same stigma myself, so I can’t really blame them). But inside your brain – screw ’em!
HAVE TUNNEL VISION. Don’t let other people project fears and lack of confidence on you. Keep your head down and focus on what YOU KNOW you need to do.
It might feel really daunting to start from scratch. I get it. Every time I switched my major it sucked. I had to keep starting from the beginning with new classes, new professors, and a new building. But those major switches were all worth it when I got to the one that MATTERED.
How I went from a physical therapy major to a wedding photographer required starting from scratch; there was no way around it. It’s okay to start something new and it go bad, ugly, or messy. That is just how new beginnings are. I am quite the perfectionist myself, so let me tell ya, this stage really sucked for me! We ALL like being in our comfort zones, but that just simply isn’t where you grow. I’ll be honest, looking back on some of my older work is a little embarrassing! But THAT IS OKAY. Everyone has to have work that they aren’t totally proud of. What you should be proud of is that you STARTED. Because you will never get good at something without being bad first!
Now I’m NOT saying you need to go to college to be successful. I can 100% say that I could have still become a successful wedding photographer even without a degree. But you do need to educate yourself in what you want to get better at. Whether that is reading books, listening to educational podcasts, going to seminars or workshops, getting help from a mentor, there are no excuses. You’ve got to learn.
I may have went from nothing to a full fledged business in just one year, but that is 100% because I learned AS MUCH AS I COULD as fast as I could. Also, getting educated helps build confidence because you know what the heck you are doing. Win win.
My photography business would not be where it is today without my family and friends who have supported me from day one. On the days that I become overwhelmed with my to do list, feel like I’m not good enough, or just feel like my head is going to explode from editing, my support system has always been there encouraging me to believe in myself & to take a break when needed and get back to it all tomorrow. You can do A LOT on your own. But you can’t do it ALL.
So as weird and all over the place as to how I went from a physical therapy major to a wedding photographer may sound, that’s my story! I hope you learned a little bit more about me and maybe some of it even resonated with you. 🙂
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