This is the second post in a series I’m doing on career envy, a condition I’ve suffered from all of my life. I don’t know what I’m doing really. I just thought that if I blogged about the things I love about everyone else’s careers, somewhere along the way I would figure out what I should be doing/what I really want to do with my life going forward. I remain open to your thoughts/comments/suggestions, but I think we’ve established that I am ill-equipped to be a full-time stay-at-home-mom. So with that one career checked squarely off my list, I launch into my second career crush.
One of the best decisions my little brother’s made in his life was marrying a girl named Ashley. I completely understand why he fell in love with her. Plainly put, she is a magnet. Extremely bright, totally beautiful, and wondrously creative and I have always been envious of her for those and many other reasons.
When she was pregnant with their second child, Keller, she got serious about photography. She had her prenatal portrait done and really connected with the photographer who inspired her. But as we all know, good portraits don’t come cheap. As my brother pointed out, for the cost of the prints, they could buy themselves a good camera and some equipment and do it themselves. She jumped right in, transformed one of the rooms in their Houston home into a studio with backgrounds and props, and got started.
Her business has grown though they have moved halfway across the country since then, and she continues to snap pics of her three children in addition to being our family’s personal photographer. I only wish we lived closer. Right after I had Madison, I flew to Houston and she treated us to a photo shoot which produced some absolutely beautiful pictures of me with the girls. If I look up right now, I would be treated to some great pictures she took of my family during one of our Fourth of July family lake trips. You can see some of her work at www.ashleyhopkins.com or become a fan of Ashley Hopkins Photography on Facebook….or gosh, just come to my house!
I caught up with her to get a little more information specifically about her photography business and here is what she had to say:
Why photography? I had always tried to find a suitable creative outlet for myself (painting, scrapbooking, etc), but nothing really stuck. As soon as that camera was in my hands, I was hooked! I loved it. It was hard to figure out all the buttons and switches, but I took my time and before long I had the basics worked out. It took a few years to really get the hang of it, but I practiced all the time – that camera was always around my neck!
Who/What do you enjoy photographing most? Families, babies, pregnant women, etc. My busiest time of the year is from October through early December when I’m designing holiday cards.
What inspires you? Ohhh, I love a unique project! I love it when a family comes to me and pitches an idea that I’ve never done before. Or when a family is brave enough to try something new.
Would you travel for a shoot? Of course, but for the most part, that is difficult when you have a family. And while that is a limitation in the business, it’s actually the part that I appreciate the most. As much as I love what I do, I don’t want my job to dominate my life. I love how flexible this profession is – I can pick and choose what jobs I want to do and it doesn’t take me away from my family for long.
Where do you see your business in five years? I’d say that I don’t want it to grow much because I’m selfish with my family time. While I would like to add new dimensions to Ashley Hopkins Photography, I also like my smallish client base. I love that my clients are my friends and that I can give them customized products that are completely unique to them.
In addition to Ashley, I have to give a shout out to Heather Holinka, a photographer from North Carolina (www.heatherholinkaphoto.wordpress.com). I got turned on to her photo blog through WordPress and am HOOKED. Maybe it is the dog lover in me….or the fact that she can post a picture of a pair of sandals that instantly transports me to a summer day complete with the warmth of the sun on my skin, the smell of suntan oil and the feeling of slipping on a summer dress (minus the hose!). Ahhhhhh, the magic of photography.