It is with very mixed emotions that I write this post, and I suspect it is going to be a long one, so you might want to grab yourself a glass of wine and make yourself comfortable.
If you're all settled in for the long haul, here we go...
I'm feeling an overwhelming need to start this post from the beginning, and since it's my blog I guess there's nothing stopping me from doing just that. So, back to the beginning we go:
About a billion years ago (ok, maybe more like 11 years ago), I very briefly dated someone. A few months later the best friend and wife of this someone moved into a house across the street from mine. One day this couple saw me working in my yard and came over to introduce themselves and explain that we shared a mutual acquaintance.
Fast forward a few years, the couple had a baby and the wife bought a DSLR camera and started a blog to document her son's life. At the time, I was very deeply entrenched in the blogging world and her blog quickly became one of the many that I followed at the time. As it turned out, the wife was crazy talented with that camera of hers and before she knew it a senior portrait photography business had exploded for her, and her little ole blog about her son's milestones turned into a hugely successful, and widely read, photography business blog. I fell in love with her style of photography and continued to follow her blog regularly as one of her many faithful readers.
Once again, fast forward a few years, and I found myself feeling bored and restless with my life, and filled with an overwhelming need to just do something different. Only I had no idea what that something different should be exactly. So, I ended up enrolling in classes for an associates degree program at a local university. I needed some elective credits, and I opted to take a photography class.
During my class, I had weekly shooting assignments, one of which was to take portraits. While I enjoyed the entire class, it wasn't until the portrait assignment that a true passion for photography grabbed hold of me. I honestly think that all those years of following the wife's photography blog sort of gave me 'an eye' for portrait photography, and I instantly felt at home behind the camera while photographing other individuals. When I turned in that particular assignment, my professor and fellow classmates were all stunned to learn that I was showing them my first attempt at taking portraits. They all encouraged me to pursue it farther, and I did. I began taking portraits of every single person I could beg or bribe into sitting for me. It didn't take very long and I was hooked!
Of course, I would have to fall in love with an area of photography that is impossible to do without other people involved. I knew that taking portraits was what I really wanted to do, but I didn't see a way to continue down the portrait photographer path without having a photography businesses, so I immediately decided to start Michele Whitacre Photography.
At the time, starting my business was the best thing I could have done. It renewed my passion and excitement for life as I became involved in learning something new. It occupied hours (and hours and hours and hours and hours) of my time while my husband was busy completing his undergraduate degree, and later when he was consumed with law school. It introduced me to a ton of wonderful and amazing new clients (some of whom turned into great friends), especially when I didn't know a soul after relocating to Phoenix. It got me out of my comfort zone and got me testing my limits as I taught myself new aspects of photography. And quite frankly, it taught me a lot about myself.
Part of knowing myself, means knowing when it is time for a change. As it tends to do while we aren't looking, my life (and consequently my needs) have drastically changed over the past 5 years. The reasons that kept me moving forward with my photography business in the past no longer make sense with my current life. So, I've made the incredibly difficult decision to close my photography business effective immediately. I have been struggling with this decision for the past 6 months or so, and even now I'm not 100% sure that I am making the right one. But that's the way life goes, I suppose.
So now what?
The answer is that I really just don't know. I do have a few sessions and events that I have already committed to during 2015, and of course, I will be honoring those commitments. I'm sure I will be shooting some portraits and events in the future for family and very close friends. I'll probably continue to shoot some fun concept sessions when the mood strikes and I can convince someone to model for me. And I'm really looking forward to stretching myself and my photography skills in new ways. There are a lot of other areas of photography I've been interested in learning more about, but just never had the time. I'm also very interested in sharing what I know with beginner photographers, so I'm considering exploring my options for doing some teaching in the future.
While I have decided to close my photography business, nothing has changed regarding my love of photography. I still have every intention of continuing to take photos, and I will be sharing the photos I take on my blog just like I always have. (Although, I may end up closing down my business Facebook Page - the jury is still out on that one.) So, I hope you will continue to join me for the ride.
As always, a HUGE thank you to every single individual who has been a part of my photography journey the past 5 years. It has been an honor and a pleasure sharing in your lives, and capturing special moments and memories for you all. You all rock!