Business

The 10 Reasons I decided to Pursue Photography

July 29, 2021

I didn’t always know I wanted to be a photographer. In fact, if you know my story, you know I spent a few years teaching kindergarten and first grade before ever picking up a professional camera. But there are so many reasons why I decided to pursue photography, and the truth is, I’ve never looked […]

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I didn’t always know I wanted to be a photographer. In fact, if you know my story, you know I spent a few years teaching kindergarten and first grade before ever picking up a professional camera. But there are so many reasons why I decided to pursue photography, and the truth is, I’ve never looked back after going down this path.

It’s such a creative and meaningful career, and while I’ve made *plenty* of mistakes along the way, I couldn’t be happier with where it landed me: documenting the most special moments in families’ lives and helping them create their legacies.

I didn’t always know I wanted to be a photographer. In fact, if you know my story, you know I spent a few years teaching kindergarten and first grade before ever picking up a professional camera. But there are so many reasons why I decided to pursue photography, and the truth is, I’ve never looked back after going down this path.

It’s such a creative and meaningful career, and while I’ve made *plenty* of mistakes along the way, I couldn’t be happier with where it landed me: documenting the most special moments in families’ lives and helping them create their legacies.

Here are 10 reasons why I decided to pursue photography

This career has been one of the most special parts of my adult life. I can’t imagine what life would look like if I hadn’t made the leap to become a photographer!

01. It allowed me to be home with my kids.

I had my first baby Claire when I was still teaching, and as much as I adored teaching little ones, I also yearned to be home with my own babies. We knew we wanted a large family, and I wanted to have an active role in our children’s growth and development, especially in their early years. Teaching does have its perks (summers off being one of them!), but it still took me away from home five days of the week most days of the year.

When I picked up my first fancy camera from CostCo (yep, CostCo!), I had no idea that I could create a career out of snapping photos for others. Many YouTube tutorials later, and lots of practice on my own fam, I began booking a few clients. A few turned into a few more, and soon I was balancing teaching AND shooting families most days of the week.

I quickly realized, something had to give, and after a couple years of the balancing act, I made the tough decision to hang up my teaching hat and jump into photography full-time. It ended up being the biggest blessing and the BEST decision. While I still had to be away from my family and kids at times for shoots, I could create my own schedule (and even bring them with sometimes)!

Plus, on non-shoot days, I could work on editing at home while hanging with my fam. It was the best of both worlds, and although it’s not always an EASY balancing act, I am so grateful to have the flexibility to be with my kids.

This was taken during my “first photo shoot” with my first baby, Claire. It’s where it all started.

02. I could grow, scale, and work at my own pace.

Speaking of working from home, as a mama with now FIVE littles, there have certainly been seasons where I’ve had to slow down with photography (hello, postpartum days), as well as others where I have more margin to work.

There aren’t many jobs that allow you to choose how much and how often you’re working, but this is one of them. I can schedule shoots for three weeks straight and then take a month off if I want to, or I can do a more steady and gradual pace. I love being able to work when I want and need to, rather than having to go along with someone else’s demands and schedule.

03. I didn’t have to pursue someone else’s dream.

While I did love, love, LOVE teaching, I didn’t love not being able to fully pursue my own vision, goals, and dreams. I was too exhausted at the end of the day to really go full force with my own thing. There is absolutely nothing wrong with supporting someone else on their journey to success, but for me, I had so much untapped creative energy and this drive to pursue something bigger than myself, and so I knew it needed to be used in some sort of entrepreneurial pursuit. 

04. I could spend time with families & help them create memories.

People are the most important aspect of what I do. I love meeting new families, connecting with them, and documenting their love and relationships in a way that’s unique to them. It’s the best sort of challenge to discover what makes a stubborn 4-year-old giggle, or how to make husbands actually enjoy themselves at a photo shoot.

I love making everyone feel comfortable and just making the environment fun, exciting, and carefree! The added bonus is that our time spent together equals forever memories for them with pictures they can print, frame, scrapbook, and hang onto for years to come.

05. It didn’t cost a huge amount of money to get started.

Don’t let anyone fool you into thinking you need fancy branding or an expensive logo and website to get started with a career in photography. All you truly need is a DSLR camera and the desire to learn… that’s it! 

And yes, cameras CAN be an expense up front, but you don’t need the nicest one to get started. You can even buy one that’s used or wait for a sale, like Black Friday. I bought mine at CostCo… remember? It was a good camera to start out with and cost a few hundred bucks, which I totally made back after a shoot or two.

06. I could feel creative and fulfilled every day.

Need I say more? I don’t know about you, but this means everything to me. To feel like my creative cup is filled every day and that I’m helping others is an enormous benefit of being a photographer.

I can feel like I’m being challenged in a good way and also positively impacting other people’s lives. That’s what I want for my legacy, that people remember me as loving others fully and showing up for them as much as I can. 

07. It’s a job that looks different every single day.

While you might think photo shoots and editing sessions get old and repetitive with time, let me assure you, they do not! With the many personalities, locations, and environmental challenges, every single day and shoot looks different. And that’s a great thing in my book.

I’m not the sort of person who lives for routine. I mean, I have a skincare routine I live and die by, but in terms of the work I do? I want it to be something that keeps me on my toes and reaching for excellence and new heights every time I pick up my camera. Photography certainly does that.

08. I truly feel like it adds value to others’ lives.

My mission is to help others create memories that last a lifetime. While you could argue that photography isn’t a life-or-death sort of career like medical professions, it IS something that’s incredibly important to those who want to document special occasions and seasons of their lives. 

From having a first baby to getting married to commemorating a new year of growth together, family photography is special in so many ways. It helps families feel connected to each other and a specific moment in time, so they can look back with future generations and celebrate the times they spent together.

09. I could practice with my own littles.

This is just a super practical bonus of being a family photographer and a mama of five. I have my own little crew of practice models to work with, and that has been invaluable to my photography growth (AND to our gallery walls and memory books)!

10. It’s allowed me to travel and meet the most amazing people.

Finally, this job has shown me so much more than any other job I’ve ever had. From traveling to shoots on location around the country to working with the most incredible families, influencers, and even a few celebrities, I’ve had the most special opportunities to grow, learn, and expand my worldview as a photographer. It’s the best career I could’ve asked for, and can’t imagine what my life would look like without it!

Thinking about launching your own photography career?

I have helpful resources and courses for you to learn how to use your camera and build the business of your dreams. Learn more here!

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I’m Jillian Goulding, a photographer and educator raising babies and building my life in Sacramento, CA.

Over the years, I’ve transformed my side hustle into a thriving photography business that has taken me and my camera to the beaches of San Francisco Bay, the pages of People Magazine, and the screens of Extra TV.

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