As much as I love photographs and photography, I never thought I’d be a photographer. I always viewed it as a hobby or pastime. Even now, I pinch myself for having a job that I absolutely LOVE doing. But as much as a career in photography was under my nose, it certainly didn’t fall into my lap. I had to take a leap of faith, as they say.
photo by: Small City Folks
When I was in highschool, I was a bit…distracted. But I’m happy to report that I excelled in photography class 🤓. I found the whole process super fascinating. Being in the darkroom, setting the chemicals, hanging my prints, and getting to see the final product—yup, I was one of those kids.
I am also one of those people who builds a strong connection with photos. Being the second child, I don’t have a ton of pictures with my family from when I was young. (A classic tale.) However, as I got older and acquired my own camera, I certainly made up for lost time. (Lots of selfies and duck faces with my friends and family.) Although I kinda cringe looking back at them, I hold these photos so close to my heart because they take me back to a memory—like sleepovers & parties with my best friends, Sunday dinners with my fam where something grilling on the bbq was a staple, or simply some landscapes of my adventures. Beyond the selfies, they offer warmth and laughter that I can always return to.
But does that mean I thought I’d be a photographer? Nope.
I actually worked a restaurant job for almost eight years. I made many life skills and beautiful friendships. And as you’ve probably heard, it’s great money. But there came a time when the money just didn’t cut it. Life felt stale. I wanted something more. So when an opportunity came up to work at a dance studio, I was all ears. If you didn’t know, another passion of mine is dancing. So to me, this felt like the creative opportunity that the universe was offering me. I took the job. Soon after, I quit. You know that feeling when something isn’t right, but you can’t identify why? Yeah, that frustrating feeling—that’s what I felt, and it sucked. At that time, I was dabbling in photography. I’d go out with my friends and take creative portraits. There were also odd jobs here and there—mostly through recommendations—but I never went full force with photography. When do you decide that it’s no longer a hobby or a side hustle?
To be honest, I never really figured that out. It was my now fiancé who brought up starting a photography business. And by brought up, I mean he gave me a big kick in the pants and said something along the lines of being super talented and a boss b**** and to get out there and start my business. (Anth, this is why I love you. Thank you.)
photo by: Angela Ruchienski (our engagement photos, obsessed with them)
So I did. I started a business. I applied for a business name, I built a website, and I made it Instagram official. (@mariahmilliephotography—get at me!)
Soon after, friends of mine asked me to shoot their engagement photos. They loved the photos and asked me to shoot their elopement. That’s the validation I needed to keep me moving on this path.
And I’ve never looked back. Every year I strive to be better. I attend workshops, webinars and classes. I watch Youtube videos and tutorials. And most importantly, I take more photos.
This blog is intended to share all the knowledge I acquire along the way. To motivate my fellow photographers. And to help my clients capture their love and memories beautifully through photographs.
Anyway, thank you for attending my Ted Talk (lol),
Until next time,