First Year as a full-time Photographer
It was about this time last year that I was walking the streets of London trying to decide if I was really going to take the leap, the leap into full-time photography. There would be no nets, no ”Plan B”, just either success or failure…
A few months prior to this trip to London I was actually in Israel (can you tell I like to travel?!) and I really felt like God was calling me into a new season of trusting Him more fully. I knew walking into this new season that it would not be easy, but even knowing that I did not realize just how hard it would be! To move forward it takes breaking out of comfort zones and just like in the gym, to grow stronger, you have to work through the pain. From the time I was in Israel to the time I was in London, I had already been faced with a lot of difficult decisions and a lot of letting go so that I could move forward. I had been pulled way out of my comfort zone and my job as an ultrasound tech was the only thing left that was comfortable. Don’t get me wrong, it was a hard job and I was over it, but I had been doing it for 6 years. I had a routine and it was really REALLY good money. The first time I heard God say "Hey, it’s time to quit your job and trust me to be your provider", I was visiting family in Charlotte, NC and was in a worship experience at Elevation Church. The pastor said, "Turn to your neighbor and tell them it is no accident you are here this weekend." As my brother turned to me to repeat what the Pastor had just said, I heard God say "Quit your job." I of course was like God would never ask me to quit my well paying job when there are no other options before me. It could not have been him, I must have heard wrong. Deep down I knew that I had not heard wrong and again had to make some difficult decisions. A few days later is when I left for London. The truth is I was actually supposed to be in Thailand exploring, but long story short plans got changed and I ended up in London. Now London is like a second home for me. My best friend lives there and I visit often. I can get around the city without a GPS and have been to all the tourist attractions. So when I visit London it's like a real vacation, I find a cool little local coffee shop and sit in there for hours reading. I sleep in and go to art museums, It is the best! Instead of running around Thailand trying to see everything I could, God knew I needed this time away to get refreshed and to decide if I was going to listen to the next step He was asking me to take. If you guys do not already know travel is my love language. Seriously traveling is my happy place and so to quit my nice job meant sacrificing the funds to travel. One day walking down the street in London I was explaining to God (as if He didn't already know. insert facepalm emoji) this love I have for traveling and if I quit my job what that would mean, I felt God say "If you only knew how much I love you. How I am more than capable of providing for you, not only what you need, but also your dreams. Sarah, I would never make you choose something you do not want to do, but if you choose to go your own route it will look different than the plans I have for you." I knew at that moment that I needed to trust. No matter what came my way I would rather be following God’s direction rather than being comfortable.
Now I would like to be able to say that as soon as I quit God opened the floodgates and I had more photography work than I could handle, but that would be a lie. In fact, after I quit, everything that could go wrong went wrong. Haha… no, but seriously! I got sick ( I never get sick), multiple visits to the doctor, an ER visit, X-ray, lab work, a CT scan, and a year later we finally figured out what was causing me trouble (nothing too serious. at this point just annoying). My camera took a tumble and it was a chunk of change to fix. For the first 6 months of 2018 I had more cancellations with clients (due to the most random stuff) than I had in all the years I have been shooting. But you want to know what?! Somehow I always had money in the bank. My bills always got paid and I was never lacking. I got to watch God provide in the little things every day. I might not be booked out a year like some photographers, but every month I watch God bring the right clients that fill my calendar. Not only that, this year I have traveled more than any other year! If I count up the days I have been gone it's probably close to the days I have been at home. This year alone I have traveled to Israel, Puerto Rico, South Dakota, California, Charleston, Charlotte, and many new places in Virginia. It has taken a lot of work and it has not been easy, but I have watched God bring this dream job of traveling and taking photos to life. I have made some incredible friends in the photography world and I have watched God provide for me time and time again.
If you are still reading this I guess I would just like to say that life does not always look like we want it to. Sometimes great things thing just fall into our laps and sometimes we have to fight for them! Why this is the case I do not know, but what I do know is that following after God will never be the wrong choice. It does not matter if it's the popular choice, God never fails. It does not matter that the photography industry is oversaturated, God never fails. Honestly, as of right now I have no December bookings, but I am not even worried about it! God has seen me through this entire year, why would I worry now?
Wow, that was long, but I hope this encourages someone out there! And now a few shots from my travels this year!