This week I’ve been revamping my Meet Michelle page on my website. My old about section talked a lot about why I do photography. In other words, how did I get into photography in the first place?
Rather than doing away with that information on my website all together, I decided that it would be stellar blog topic.
I started high school in 2004. This was just in time for social networks and front-facing camera phones to start taking over the lives of teenagers everywhere. All of my friends were on MySpace (Facebook was not popular for us until about 2007). One of our main activities on MySpace involved photos. Taking photos, posting photos, captioning photos (sometimes with other photos – photo inception?!), and commenting on other people’s photos. People were constantly updating their profiles with new and subjectively better photos. How could anyone keep up with the demand?
My friends and I were avid fans of America’s Next Top Model. By fans, I mean we’d watch all day marathons of ANTM – and this was before Netflix. We took inspiration from the photoshoots on this show as a solution for our constant need for new and better MySpace photos. We shamelessly would hang out with photoshoots being the main purpose. We took these very seriously, spending oodles of time on our hair, makeup, and ridiculous outfits. We’d walk to various locations, sometimes in the backyard, other times underneath bridges. We didn’t stop there. Afterwards, we spent hours editing the photos. We enjoyed this!
Looking back, I have no idea how we weren’t embarrassed. I’m actually not really that embarrassed about it now, but then again I’m not sharing all of those photos. You should be thankful for that.
My first year in college I changed my degree from Elementary Education to Art Education, because, duh, Art is life. I day-dreamed that one day, as an art teacher, I would also run a side business as a photographer. I had no real timeline for this in mind, but nevertheless it was a part of my life plan!
During my college years, I took exactly ONE photography class and ONE Photoshop class, both required for my Art Education degree. For “Introduction to Photography” I used my mom’s Canon Rebel for various assignments and generally just really enjoyed my time in that class. I even took senior photos of my sister for one of my class assignments!
This is where things got real. During the second semester of my first year teaching art, I was approached on two separate occasions by friends asking me to take photos for them. I was honestly taken aback – I had not even considered starting my “side gig” of portrait photography yet! Why do these people want me to take their photos?! Aren’t they worried I’ll fail? (They weren’t. I didn’t.)
I took a deep breath as the realization flooded over me. Isn’t this what I had always wanted? Isn’t this how I always found myself spending my time? Photographing people and then editing those photos? Everyone starts somewhere!
Thus, Michelle Christine Photography was born, Spring of 2013, with just a Facebook page.
Not once have I looked back and wished I hadn’t taken that plunge. Shout-out to those friends who pushed me into starting, supported me, and have cheered me on along the way. The real MVP’s! My love for portrait photography lives on.
I guess there’s kind of a “moral” to this story. Don’t quit your day-dream. If you have something you love doing, something that you find yourself spending ample amounts of your precious spare time doing, don’t stop. Keep doing what fuels you – you never know what may come of it!