Hello and welcome!

On this quick episode, I’m sharing my photography journey in honor of World Photography Day on August 19th. I love highlighting other mompreneur stories but today I thought I’d share about more of my own. Photography has been an absolute blessing in my life. So many people have shaped my journey and I’m forever grateful.

Main Topics included in this Episode

  • How I was introduced to the world of photography and what it grew into
  • My evolution into my current niche and style
  • What I’m the most grateful for

Connect with Alysha

Music Licensing Info

Music by Eli Lev - Dancin' on the Lawn


Episode Transcription

Hello and welcome back to the Messy Mompreneur podcast. I'm your host, Alysha Sanford, and I'm so happy to have you here. August 19th is World Photography Day. I love highlighting other mompreneur stories here on this podcast, but today I thought I'd share a little bit more with you about my photography journey. It's been an absolute blessing in my life. So many people have shaped my journey and I'm forever grateful. I have highlighted three additional photographers so far on this podcast that would be Aaron and Skye and Lucy, but I'm excited to share more about my background as well. As a little girl, I was obsessed with babies, dolls and playing house. I photographed my baby dolls pose on a white comforter backdrop at my grandma's house with her old film camera constantly. She was very gracious and actually printed those and had them developed for me. I still have the scrapbooks. With those prints somewhere. I'm still trying to find it, but I do have them. Fast forward to 2009. I picked up a camera again and started dabbling in portfolio build. Full transparency for the first year or so, I would borrow my step dad's Nikon D90 for shoots and various projects. He was generous enough to trust. Me with it. My step mom then connected me with a gentleman who was a retired professional and he shared some of his wisdom with me as I got started, we would meet up in a local park and he would go through various little lessons that he prepared ahead of time. Very, very sweet opportunity there. I also worked part time at the local camera center in the mall at this time and I sold cameras to customers as well as worked with various projects of photo restoration, photo finishing, photo editing, film development, etcetera. It was my it's probably my favorite job aside from my actual business. I made connections. And just got a little bit more exposure to the world of photography there. And then with a tax refund shortly later. Shortly after I purchased my first small DSLR camera and a couple of pretty standard lenses, and I pushed forward with portfolio building. My husband joined me during my first few portfolio weddings as a second shooter and that was a fun experience. Over the next few years, I gained experience and offered many different photo session options and styles. I felt a stronger and stronger pull to newborn baby and family photography as the time went by and I was also DIY in most of my training, learning, marketing and branding on a budget. I spent a lot of time watching creative live and some YouTube and finding various platforms with editing tools and some freebies and. Yeah, some blogs were helpful too. During one of my last weddings that I took on as the primary photographer, I was out of cell service and as I drove back home. I was notified that a birth client that I was on call for was going in for an early induction, so I raced to the hospital after getting home and changing and it was at that time that I decided I needed to pick a path and the babies won. With support from my grandparents, I obtained my first studio space in 2014. It allowed me to really offer a safe space for my newborn clients to bring their families into at such an intimate time in their lives by this point I had also built strong friendships with a handful of local photographers. I'm so thankful that they received my Facebook group invites well and that they were all able to get to know each other within that group and we were really working, working on fighting against the stigma of competition being a negative thing. It was really fun to. Turn it into a positive. I had partnered with one of those friends to be her regular second photographer during weddings and this filled so many of my spring through fall weekends for actually quite a few years. We traveled all over the state and had so many great times on road trips. I actually really missed those days. In 2015, we found a beautiful retail space downtown in a prime location and took the leap on sharing the studio. And again this was with my photographer friend that I was partnering with for weddings. In 2016, we brought in another photographer friend who also specialized in infants. We had completely different styles and approaches and we felt comfortable working within the space together. We took so much pride in this space and loved joining in on all the Community events downtown. That was a really fun time. I learned so much from these ladies and I'll forever thank them for their friendship and generosity during that time. I also really developed my print and product offerings for my clients seeking to help them display their memories. In a beautiful way that would last decades and decades and not just be hidden away on, you know, a. Technology device somewhere. In 2017, I obtained a full time day job alongside my business to provide additional support while my husband went back to school full time. I eventually stepped away from that studio space a bit more because I felt myself becoming a little overwhelmed trying to do both of those things. Full time. I needed to reevaluate the direction I had wanted to take my business. I knew that my long term dream was to have my own family continue to work as a photographer, and to document my sweet families as they grew. I just needed to wait a little bit longer to jump back in full time. Fast forward to February 2020. I was ready for a studio space of my own again, a friend, a photographer friend actually connected me to my current tiny space downtown, and I took the leap again 3 weeks later. The March 2020 lockdown hit my landlord. My new landlord, was incredibly. Generous and paused rent payments for a few months. I resumed photographing sessions when the restrictions lifted and continued to be able to document the beautiful milestones happening in my clients life. In 2021, we had our sweet baby girl after an infertility battle. I jumped back into photographing sessions. At about four weeks post cesarean delivery and eased into my new normal, I honestly struggled to navigate the lack of sleep. Keeping up with the baby recovering during the postpartum period. Scheduling sessions around a baby who nurse on demand refused a bottle and refused to nap without nursing to sleep. Our journey so far has been a learning curve and continues to evolve. I'm so grateful. For my patient and gracious clients, as I work into this new me, this 2.0 me as both a mother and a business owner. I'm also very, very grateful to my husband, who has taken the lead, if you will, with being the primary bill payer in the household. Because I'm able to do. I'm able to do this part time and stay home with my daughter full time and that was always my biggest goal and hopes and looking into the future. I don't know if we're going to be home schooling or not, but I really want that opportunity to be able to decide to do that and work my business part time around it. I have such flexible clients and being able to schedule the session, the photo sessions. Around my daughter's needs has been a blessing. It's been a challenge, to be honest, but it's been a blessing as well to have that opportunity. September this year, of course, starts the typical busy season for photographers. We're coming into holiday photos the fall season that seems to spark everyone's. Interest in the fall minis that happen around here, the Christmas Minis and so on. Of course I've got infants with due dates and they're exciting milestones that's going to be really fun. I love the busy season, and with that often comes a slow season in winter, I would say. I don't know. January through April is often my slow season. Occasionally I will open for. Spring minis. I don't know. I usually focus on Christmas Minis if I'm going to have a themed mini session event at all, but I'm really excited for what's to come right now. I'm still kind of coasting as far as my marketing and my promotion. I'm coasting at a part time. Pace because I want to navigate toddler hood and leave some room for. Learning and for grace on myself because I. I've shared before, but I have ADHD and the and anxiety, so I'm trying to build in that buffer. I want to be able to serve my clients really well and if I take on too much at once I. I worry that I will have challenges with that, so I am forever grateful for my clients who book with me through the years and in advance to lock in their sessions. I am so grateful. For you and I am grateful for all of the relationships I've been able to build. I love my families that I work with. I work with some of them super frequently. Some of them I see once every couple of years and it's just. It's such a blessing to be having a conversation with a 10 year old that I remember. Photographing their maternity session and then their newborn and then their six month and one year, and then sometimes yearly. After that it's just. It's honestly surreal. They feel like they feel like family, so I'm going to try not to get emotional about it right now, but yeah, so in celebration of world Photography Day, I just wanted to share a little bit about my journey and my heart. As a photographer, I know I'm leaving things out, but I will probably just make sure to include those. In future episodes, as they are relating to those topics to come. So if you have any questions for me at all. I am an open book. Whether you're a fellow photographer, if you're new to the area, if you're an inquiring client, or if you're just kind of enjoying watching. The process unfold on social media. Any of it, please reach out whether you're reaching out on the Messy Mompreneur podcast, Instagram account, or through my photography e-mail. You can find me with any of the links in the show notes. I would be happy to chat. I love connecting. I love building relationships and. So with that, I guess we will wrap up. Thank you so much.