There are a few key moments in life when you realize something BIG. Something that makes you pivot away or toward a point in your future. One of mine was a weekday in the fall of 2012. I was working at the Marshfield News-Herald at the time and had one day off during the week, so I would try to schedule all my sessions and meetings on that one day. On that particular October day, I drove to Madison to meet with a potential bride and her mom for coffee. I then met with my friend and fellow photographer, Beth. We got lunch and took some new head shots for each other. Then I drove to Milwaukee where I met with another couple for their engagement session. After that, I stopped at Crate and Barrel and drove back home to Marshfield. Whew! It was a typical Laura Schmitt Photography day when I ran my business and worked full time. But on this trip, I realized that this could be my life. Granted, I didn’t really want to drive over 300 miles every day, but planning my own schedule, meeting new people, taking photos, and doing whatever I wanted was pretty awesome. That was the day I decided to quit my job at the newspaper and give my business a full time shot. It took me another six months to be really ready, but on April 12, 2012, I turned in my iPhone and key to the News-Herald.
Five years and about 125 weddings later, I am still happy to be able to plan my days. But with a toddler, I plan the majority of them with WAY less going on 🙂 I finally have an iPhone again and I have a key to my house, where I run my business! I can structure crazy drive days where I drive to Madison to meet a couple and then Iowa for a shoot. But I can also plan that on the next day, I can hang out with my mom in Iowa.
Optimistic people often tell you to, “Find something you love and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Cynics will tell you that everything always turns into work once you have to do it. I feel lucky that five years into this business, it still doesn’t feel like work. Some days I would rather not figure out how to mitigate my email to a new server … or something (not a tech person at all!) but photography is something that I still love, and have loved since I was a in high school. It is never “just another session” to me. Each couple and family is unique, each wedding day is special, and every story is different.
What makes this business possible is the wonderful people I get to photograph. I am honored to be able to photograph couples as they start their marriage. I am so grateful that I am welcomed into homes to photograph sweet new babies. And I am humbled when families ask me to come back to photograph their important family milestones. So an amazing thank you to everyone that has invited me to into their lives to photograph their moments. You all have helped my little business succeed and grow 🙂