When I first started my photography business in 2016, I was a 20-year-old college student shooting any and everything I could get in front of my camera. I was attending my third college in hopes of obtaining a degree in elementary education. I was also working for a daycare center. As I continued photography, it became clear to me that I did not want to be an elementary school teacher anymore. I knew I was meant for a different path but was so far into school that I felt like I couldn’t give up.
After a lot of thought and prayer, I decided to switch to a sociology major. With this path, I knew I could graduate sooner and would be able to really focus on my business. While I worked toward a degree, I worked part-time at the daycare center and when I wasn’t at school or working, I was shooting. It was one of the busiest seasons of my life. I obtained my business license, found an amazing CPA and squared everything away on the business side while I was still in school. I wanted to be 100% ready to go full time as soon as I graduated. By the end of July of 2018, I received my degree in sociology. I put in my two weeks’ notice with the daycare and September 1st of 2018, I launched a full-time business. I decided to specialize in family photography and I have not looked back.
It took a lot of hard work and discipline to get through those first few years. All I wanted to do was be a full-time photographer but I knew if it was something I was genuinely passionate about then I would still be just as passionate about it once I finished what I had started.
Getting started was not easy. I look back and realize how much time I lost with friends and family because I hadn’t learned to say no yet. I see how many clients I lost because they had booked me at my $40 price point. I see the girl who still lived at home and had nowhere to shoot indoors. I used to travel to my clients’ homes to do a cake smash. I had to get a bigger car just so I could fit a roll of savage seamless in it. My tiny childhood room was so packed with props that I had to buy a loft bed just so I could still fit in it. I see so many mistakes and what-ifs but I also see a girl that had a lot on her plate but never gave up.
I now run a successful family photography business. I work full time out of my own house where I have a studio upstairs. My clients now come to me for their cake smashes. While I still often feel like I am in my busiest season of my life, I am SO grateful that I am busy doing what I love. I have learned to say no and I have learned to carve out time for me. If you are just starting out in this business and you feel like you’re drowning, it does get better. It might seem impossible to grow a successful business while you have another job, but it’s not. If you’re fighting the battle of wanting to go full time but you have other commitments right now, please reach out! It is a big step and can be scary, but I will be cheering you on every step of the way!
I am so excited to lead my styled shoot at The Reset Conference in September! See you there!
Mallory Jackson is a 23-year-old family photographer based out of Richmond, Virginia. She graduated with a degree in sociology but decided to pursue her passion of photography full time instead. She has been photographing families since 2017 and it is her favorite genre. She prefers to shoot her family sessions outdoors an hour before sunset in a wide-open field, her favorite type of location!