On this day, way on back in the late 70’s, I was born. At that time my parents had no idea what I would do with my life, neither did I.
On this day, way on back in the late 80’s, I was awkwardly coming of age and still had no idea what I would do with my life. Of course I was too young to know that answer anyway- I knew I loved the arts, but drawing, painting, playing instruments, singing, etc were not in my little box of talents.
On this day, way on back in the mid 90’s, I had been given my first “real” camera ( a 35mm canon rebel) by my dad. Within the few years following, I finally KNEW what I wanted to do with my life.
Sure, I wanted to “take cool photos”…but more than anything I knew I wanted my very own studio. For me, that was the sign of a serious professional, and I knew that if I wanted to do photography that I had to have it.
A few months ago I cleaned out an old chest at the house and ran across a lot of my old notebooks. I flipped through and immediately my eyes fixated on a page where I was doodling about my future studio name. Flip Side Foto, haha. Here’s the proof:
So yeah, I was pretty dead set on this even back in the 90’s. I was pretty odd back then, or wanted to be.
Anyway- time rocked on – I went through the stages of life rather bumpily (if that’s a word). I worked dead end jobs for many years. Eventually after I had my first child I got my first DIGITAL camera. It was 3 megapixels and cost me $350 – (my entire Christmas bonus from my Walmart photo lab job). By the way, I worked at the Walmart photo lab for about 7 years. Whew.
So, Here I was. a new mom, with a new camera, and a job that wasn’t aligned with my life goals. About a year later I went through a divorce, and started over completely. Rock bottom became the foundation on which I rebuilt my life.
Although I resigned to never marry again, there was this guy named Lonnie. And he was super cute. He had nice legs, and he was the kindest most thoughtful guy I had ever met. We had a lot of fun together.
He was total marriage material anyway, but the fact that he loved my daughter as his own was my sure sign. Shortly after we married we bought my first “real” camera. My daughter was my model every day. Poor thing. She’s 13 now and wont let me near her with a camera anymore.
So once I had the “real’ camera I immediately wanted to have my studio. I’m not too patient, so with a little elbow grease we made an old workshop on our property into my very first studio. I ain’t even gonna lie, ya’ll. It was a dump. It was infested with ladybugs and just in general was pretty po-dunk. I might have had 15 or 20 sessions here, and most of them were free or $25 lol.
Here is a photo of my parents. I was practicing my lighting and they were the closest victims:
The studio- It fit my skill level at the time, but it was short lived – we moved to a new house in a new town shortly after when I had my second daughter.
After the move I found a local studio photographer in town that let me “borrow/share” his space. He was a really talented photographer and a nice guy that I really learned a lot from. The only problem was that it wasn’t MY studio- I couldn’t put my name on the door or do just whatever I wanted with the place. I stayed there for about 2 years –
The studio owner ended up selling the building and closing up shop, so it was time to move on. I was still pretty unskilled in a lot of areas, and my confidence in my work kept me from really making a go of things, so I lingered in the shadows of business signs that didn’t bear my name.
Studio #3 came when I was offered a space at large factory-turned- office spaces type deal. It was pretty much a little conference room inside a big ol’ scary (haunted) old mill. Yeah. Good times.
I guess I stayed there for about 2 years or so. It was here that I had my first round of Santa sessions. It was also here that I became a believer in ghosts. Win/lose- it happens. I got the call one day from a good friend with a tip that there was a space opening up in town that i might be interested in, and because I was scared to be in my own space at the time, I jumped on it sight unseen. It was basically a couple of bedrooms in the upstairs of an old house that the city had acquired. There was a really cool staircase, and this place may or may not be haunted also. Just sayin’… Stuff happened. Although this place was cool and had lots of perks- I still couldn’t have a sign, and because the downstairs would occasionally be rented out for a party, it just couldn’t be totally mine to do as I wished.
So…studio number 4 was really good to me. I did a lot of growing here- and so did my kids. Also during my stay there, Lonnie came on board as lead photographer. Our business really exploded during the 4 1/2 years we were at this place. Leaving this studio is leaving a lot of memories behind. Our business grew so big that there just simply wasn’t enough space anymore. What a wonderful burden.
I’ve been searching for a new space actively for about a year now, and with a lot of help from my friend Amy, I finally found it. Today, on my birthday of all days, I got the present I have wanted for nearly 2 decades…..keys to my very own studio. Studio #5.
No, not my studio inside of another business front, MY STUDIO. (well, OUR studio i can’t forget Lonnie here lol). I can decorate and set up scenes however I want. I can lock the door and know it’ll be just as I left it when I return, and I can finally have a great big sign on the front that says
STRAWBERRY HILL PHOTOGRAPHY
It honestly kind of feels unreal still. There is a whole lot of work ahead of us to get things ready for business, but I don’t dread it. I’ve had 10 years to dream, now it’s time to hustle!
So if you see us in public, excuse the snobby attitude we may have- we are feeling a bit upscale lately- what with our OWN studio and all Tsk Tsk!
Grand Opening coming soon! ( Happy Birthday to me!)