From Labor Nurse to Newborn & Family Photographer!

I get asked by almost every newborn client, "how did you go from a labor nurse to a photographer?" Good question! Let's start at the beginning. Disclaimer: This may be an awesome read for an insomniac ;)

I graduated nursing school in 2008. Now, you might be thinking, "Hmm, she's young"...but I have you fooled, my friend. I graduated high school in 2000, you can do the math now. I was a pretty indecisive person in my young years and had no idea what I wanted to be when I "grew up" (has that actually happened yet? I'm not so sure). So, I went for business marketing. I mean, why not? There were so many things I could do with that. Who knew if I'd really do anything with it.

Upon graduation from college (the first time), I got my first "big kid" job. An account executive for five different radio stations. Ummm, six months in and a big, "No thanks!" came from me. It just wasn't my thing. I mean, I had the liberty of overseeing myself. I delegated to myself when I saw clients to get radio ad sales, to upgrade them or to get them on the air for the first time. I was responsible for me. My paycheck showed it. I was 20 years old and still kind of wild and crazy. My boss had no idea that I just showed up in the morning, went to his meetings, made a few calls and then "went out for the day to see clients" aka: went home, took a nap, worked out, watch soap operas...oops. So, long story short, I graduated in May and by the following school year, I said, "good-bye" to my fellow radio peeps and enrolled at good ol' SDSU!!! Go Jacks!

I had no idea what I wanted to do when I got there. I just knew something medical...okay, a dentist! Sounds good, sign me up! A semester rolled by of being a pre-dental student. I had a 4.0 and was busting my butt...then I saw my class requirements for my second semester...Physics!!! NOOOOOOOOOOO! NO NO, Just NO! Now, I'm not saying I chose nursing at that point because it was easier. I'm saying I chose nursing at that point because there was NO PHYSICS! ;) Turns out, it was the best choice I could have made.

It was no cake walk and I certainly did not maintain a 4.0, but it was where I was meant to be. I'll never forget the first time I saw a live birth. I sent a mass text to everyone I knew. "I just got to be a part of a live birth!! This, this is what I was meant to do!" And that is when I knew I wanted to be labor nurse!

Fast forward a few years. After starting on a trauma unit at Mayo in Rochester, then transferring to an ER in Sioux City, IA (that's where my husband-to-be lived – we were middle school/high school classmates that started up old flames-but that's a different blog...maybe), I then became an OB/Labor nurse for the next 7 years! I LOVED it. It was the happy world of nursing! It was babies, babies, babies! Of course, there were plenty of hard times too, but the good far exceeded the bad and I loved what I did! I miss it.

So why am I a photographer that now specializes in newborns? Well, it all started when I moved in with my husband. I have always had a passion for photography. It has always been my number one hobby. My husband saw something in me, instilled his faith in me, bought me my first professional grade camera and set me free!! At first, I just dabbled in anything and everything from newborns to weddings. During this time, I continued my career as a nurse. I grew as a labor nurse and my love for babies grew along with me.

For a while, I let my dream of owning my own photography business go and focused on my nursing career. Then, I became a mom for the first time. I was obsessed with taking her picture, obsessed. Her newborn pictures still make me kind of sad. I thought I had some "talent" back then and I didn't hire a TRUE PROFESSIONAL, I thought I had it. Seriously people, there is a true art form to newborn photography. If you are going to spend any money, spend it on someone who is trained, both in newborns and in photography, otherwise, it's a huge waste! Newborn photography can be very expensive, I agree, but if you're going to give someone your hard-earned money, don't you want quality in return? Yes, we all start somewhere. I'll always have a special place in my heart for those very first clients that brought their newborns to me. Regardless, if you hire a professional or someone just starting, please just make sure they have some basic knowledge of photography and some training on handling newborns. I see so many "newborn photos" and it makes me cringe. The safety in the posing, the posing period (I mean you want your baby to look alive in the least, am I right?), the lighting, the props, etc.

Ummm...oops, off on a tangent there. There will definitely be more blogs to come on that subject ;) Now, where was I? *Yawn* Oh yeah, back to me and my careers... I continued to practice more and more, mostly on kids and families...some newborns. Then people started paying me. They started telling me I could make some money doing photography. So, I started charging. I remember my first mini sessions were 15-20 images for $65! We all start somewhere! I was so proud of that. People were signing up to have ME take their photos and then paying me for it!!! It was amazing.

Well, being me, I wanted to be the best ME as possible at whatever I was doing. So, I started to educate myself: asking other photographers questions, educating myself some more, investing in seminars, watching YouTube video after YouTube video, reading blog after blog, etc...and the rest is history.

I soon started doing photography pretty much full time while still working part time as a nurse. Within six months, I was able to leave nursing completely and I haven't looked back. Of course, I miss it, but I'm where I am supposed to be at this time in my life. I feel I have come a very long way from when I first started, but I also feel I need to continue to grow and better myself. If I ever feel I "know it all" about photography and stop seeking to learn more, then it's time for me to move on to something else. I can't imagine I'd ever feel that way, but I guess my point is, one should never stop learning.

Thanks for reading my first blog post! I'll be honest with you. I'm only blogging because supposedly it's a must for SEO (search engine optimization) and I want y'all to find me!

Until next time...

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