I can’t be for sure when the moment was – when my photography business went from part time to full time. It might have been the very second that I decided I wanted to at least double the amount of weddings I shot from 2012 to 2013. Or maybe it was the actual moment in which I actually had 16 weddings booked for 2013 and then later, surpassed that number. I’m thinking, though, that today is when my business finally goes from part time to full time. Today, because I am no longer a full time nurse and because I am choosing to focus on photography and growing my business… instead of trying to juggle both.
Around October of 2012, while I was setting my 2013 goals for Rachael Houser Photography, I decided I could probably book 10-12 weddings for 2013. Then, by the end of the year, when I already have 8 weddings booked, I picked the number 16. Sixteen weddings was what I was going to try for because it was exactly double the amount of weddings I shot in 2012 and double the amount of what I was going into the new year with. I was hopeful but not overly confident. I hosted a booth at my first ever bridal expo at the end of January, and now, I’m staring at the end of April with 17 2013 weddings to my name. It quickly became obvious that, in order to provide my couples with the quality of service that I knew they deserved (and to remain a sane person who gets more than 5 hours of sleep each night), I needed to cut back at my nursing job. When I learned that cutting back wasn’t an option, I had a very hard, very real decision to make: stay at my beloved surgery circulating registered nursing job OR honor my commitment to photograph the weddings I had booked.
I had been praying and chatting up my parents and Neil for the past month or so, trying to come to a conclusion about whether I should even consider cutting back. Now, the options were different. The weight of the new decision was more than I could take. I turned to God, and prayed that he would make His will for me known because I had been having very conflicting thoughts. I loved my nursing job, the place at which I work, and the people with and for whom I work. Sure, I had bad days, just like everyone else, but the good days definitely outweighed the bad. Even if I weren’t a full time photographer, I would be a photographer all the same because I have a burning passion for it. But to be a wedding photographer, the wedding photographer that I wanted to be, there was only one way. I knew this, and still, I was conflicted. I put it off as long as I could and then, a couple weeks ago, I felt it on my heart – I can only describe it as what I imagine it would feel like when God makes His will known to you. I’d not felt anything like it before.
I won’t lie and say that I felt completely at ease with the situation – after all, I had to continue working at the hospital. I continued to have great days, days when I would leave feeling like I might have made a mistake. But then I shot my first wedding of 2013. I was reminded of why I wanted to be a photographer in the first place. I was reminded of why I felt like this was my calling from God. And while processing the images from that day, I was reminded of how much time it really takes to be a wedding and portrait photographer and how little time I had to spend on being one. That is when I felt the calm.
There will be days that I miss my old job. Wow, it’s so surreal to say “my old job”. But I can now put my energy toward serving my clients and couples…. But more importantly, in my heart, I know I’m doing what God has been calling me to do for some time now. And that feels really good.