As mentioned in an earlier blog post, I'm interested in not only telling my client's stories, but telling my clients MY stories.
I guess a good place to start is the story of how I became Stephanie Benge Photography.
Well, to be honest, photographer is the only thing that I ever wanted to be for more than just a few moments in time. When I was in fourth grade and really liked my fourth grade teacher I wanted to be a teacher. Except that I don't actually like kids, or teaching, or anything that teachers have to do. So that was short lived. For a while in middle school I wanted to be a lawyer, but I feel pretty strongly that this phase in my life was a direct result of the movie Legally Blonde and not founded in any kind of reality about lawyering. Later in middle school I fell in love with American history. I still love history, but I don't want to be a history teacher, a historian, a historical writer, or a politician. In high school my favorite subject was band. Yes, I was a band geek. I thought for a long time my career was bound to be tied up in that. But I don't want to be a band director (again, that's teaching), and professional saxophonists aren't really a think unless you're Kenny G. And who wants to be Kenny G? Nobody. Not even Kenny G, probably.
What I wanted from my job was the ability to be my own boss and make my own hours. I wanted to do something that I personally cared about rather than doing a job just to be doing a job. I wanted to be able to sit behind a computer (you're looking at a serious introvert here), but also provide a customer service and interact with cool people when I wasn't busy introverting.
Right when this realization was hitting me I met Amanda. Amanda had just graduated from college and started a photography business. I thought to myself - that's a think I could do! I have always loved taking photos, though they were never professional level. Amanda took me along to a couple of weddings and taught me a bit about how to use my camera - and I was hooked! After the first wedding with her I thought YES. THIS IS MY THING. I did my first solo wedding later that year and I've been chasing down that dream ever since.
I was still in college for several years after that first solo wedding, so I focused on my school work rather than my business. Immediately after graduating college I didn't have enough wedding work to make that my only income. It wasn't until just recently that I was able to make photography my FULL TIME job.
I guess my message to you is to find a passion, not a job. What's the thing you really LOVE to do? What's the thing that clicks YES, THIS IS MY THING? No matter what you have to do to chase that - chase it. This is your real, one-and-only life. You should be doing what you love. I am. :)