You'd think it would have been obvious to me...
My first experience with photography was when I was only 3 ½. My dad gave me a camera without film in to use as a toy. I still have a photo of me with that camera around my neck. Taking photos has always been a natural part of my life. When I was 5 or 6 years old, I remember running up to my grandpa, pointing my (now film-loaded) camera straight up his nose. (I still have that photo and it makes me laugh.)
As I got older, I almost always had a camera when my friends got together, elementary through high school. As soon as I would get the photos back from developing, I could hardly contain my excitement and would rip open the envelope. I would flip through the photos, over and over, never getting sick of reliving the moments. I took a photography class my senior year of high school and really enjoyed it, but didn't think much of it after that, but still continued to take a lot of photos. During my sophomore year of college, I bought my first digital camera for studying abroad in Europe. Digital photography gave me the opportunity to play, learn, and create art in a way I hadn't been able to before; I fell in love with photography all over again! I won a spot on the wall and an award for a photo essay contest for students who studied abroad. It was exciting to know that other people were enjoying my photos, and were able to understand what the photos meant to me. For the next 2 ½ years, I took photos constantly for laughs, for art, and just to capture the moment.
It was not until my senior year of college, when I was looking for my own wedding photographer, that the obvious became clear to me. While taking photos of a friend for fun, I mentioned to her the awesome wedding photos and websites I had been seeing and how it would be such a fun job.
"Sooo, why aren't you going to be a photographer...?" she asked in the tone of, "Why aren't you already a photographer?" She has known me since we were both 8 years old, so it was a logical question.
"I.. I don't know why not!" I said, absolutely stumped. I had never considered it before. I didn't even know it was an option!
Then the moment of realization hit, and I decided right then and there.
"Maybe I will!" I said. "Yeah... I'm going to be a photographer."
Only two weeks later, my first photography job fell right into my lap. The timing of this was incredible. The job was perfect for me. For two years, I learned and was blessed a great deal, all while being free to start up my own photography business. In January of 2008, I was able to go full-time with my business.
You'd think it would have been obvious to me earlier on in life that I was going to be a photographer. But, I realize now that it was obvious to me at exactly the time it was meant to be obvious. Everything in my life that led up to that point (not just taking photos, either) prepared me for when that door was supposed to be opened.
What IS obvious: God knows my heart. It is not only a gift to me to have a career that combines my love for people, the beauty of life, and desire to create, but a gift given to me so that I can share these things with you.