For Photographers: My Journey

For Photographers

Hi!  This is the story of a girl who found her passion, walked away from it, got a little lost, became kinda successful but not happy and then finally successful AND happy.  This is the story of my journey and at the end you’ll see why I’m telling you.

Let’s take it back to when I was in high school.  Everyone was scrambling to apply for college and figure out what they wanted to be when they grew up.  I knew what I wanted to be; a photographer.  Problem was, back then you either worked for a large corporation like Sears or a magazine.  There just wasn’t the market that there is now.  I side bared that idea and kind of floated along.  I went to school, moved to Chicago for a bit, moved back, landed a career as a surgical coordinator and fell in love.  Problem was, though I felt somewhat successful with my career, it didn’t fill my soul.

One afternoon, I found a letter I had written to my Grandmother when I was in middle school, telling her about how proud I was that some of my photos where going to be in the yearbook.  I’m not sure how I wound up with it – I’m sure my Mom slipped it to me at one point, but it ignited something in me.  Brandon bought me a new camera and for the next year I read anything I could get my hands on.  Seriously staying up for hours at night reading blogs, googling things I didn’t know, learning about nationally known photographers and their tips.  I learned how to shoot manually.  I got a mentor.  I got a big girl lens.  I shot a ton of sessions for free or nearly free.  I got another camera.  I second shot weddings for free.  A lot.  And then some more.  I shot my first wedding for $500.  I was bit by the bug and I couldn’t be happier.

All the while, I still worked my surgical coordinator gig.  I loved it there.  My coworkers and the doctors I worked for were my family and I feel like I’d probably still be working there if it wasn’t for Norah.  My business was doing well and I was about to have Norah and that would mean two under two in daycare (which if you don’t know costs a freaking fortune!).  As expected, I had to be pried away from my surgical coordinator job.  It was hard.  It was sooooo scary.  But it was the best thing that could have ever happened to me.  I had more time to shoot and my business flourished.  I also was able to be home with my babies as they grew.

Over the past few years, I have experienced career ups and downs.  There have been awards and publications, but also a few tough lessons.  I’ve made some forever friends in other photographers as well as past clients.  Every year, I do at least one thing to further my education and experiences in my craft.  Last year, I went to a workshop and shot two styled shoots.  This year, I met one of my idols and was able to go to a taping at Creative Live as well as I am now a ClickPro to help further education for others.  I am exactly where I should be.

My experience has been a gift and I need to give thanks.  Something I’ve been planning for a while is teaching my craft.  I will be starting with blog posts on various topics and within the next year, I would like to teach my own workshop.  I know many of you have asked about about a beginner’s photography class and I’m hoping to do that as well.  If you have anything you’d like to learn from me, comment on this post or email me at erin@eschmidtphotography.com :)  Thanks for listening – xo, e

Headshots by: Kerby Lou Photography

Family photo: Kendra Koman Photography

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  1. Kristine B

    April 3rd, 2017 at 6:17 pm

    Love hearing some of your story! I look forward to future educational blog posts! :) I would want to know… how did you begin to define your style?

  2. Wilbur

    April 4th, 2017 at 1:13 am

    Your journey is inspiring. I’m currently in a situation where I am having the debate on whether I want to leave the military and do this full-time or stick it out through all of the things I don’t love.

    Your post was informative and your images are great.

  3. Jacqie

    April 5th, 2017 at 1:41 pm

    love your story. thanks for sharing pieces of you! :D

  4. Destinee

    April 6th, 2017 at 12:47 pm

    I loved reading this and learning more about you! You are beautiful and so is your family! Thanks for sharing!

  5. Rachael Allex

    April 6th, 2017 at 4:48 pm

    This is inspiring! I’ve kept a pretty steady photography business until about 2 years ago when my son turned one…It was just too much, I couldn’t keep up with teaching full time, photography and being a mom. A few months ago (I had a baby) and my family moved to CA. I am a stay at home mom now and I’m just starting to get back out there in the photo world. I hope it will be successful now that I have more time to focus on it!

  6. TB

    April 9th, 2017 at 1:25 am

    Lovely story Erin… great website too!

  7. jenny g

    April 9th, 2017 at 1:44 am

    Awesome story and congrats on your success! What a great inspirational story- your hard work is well deserved! XO

  8. lauren

    April 10th, 2017 at 12:29 am

    Yeah, girl! GET IT!!!!! xoxoxo, wishing you so much continued success <3 <3

  9. Natalie

    April 11th, 2017 at 1:00 pm

    Awww yay!!! You’re going to do so great. I adore your work and can’t wait to see all the awesome things you are going to do this year!

  10. Karen

    April 24th, 2017 at 9:55 pm

    Love this story! Its so inspiring, I always knew you were fabulous inside and out!!!! Thanks for sharing your origin story! xoxo
    Glad you listened to your middle school self!