When I was at school, I remember feeling helpless when it came to choosing my A-Levels.
I didn’t know what I wanted to do at that age, nothing was jumping out at me, and it seemed to be only me feeling that way. All my friends had it sussed.
I ended up pulling out of my A-levels halfway through knowing that it wasn’t my path.
I got myself a job as a receptionist, made my way up to management level, managing a team, and stayed at this organisation for 13 years and counting. I have always known that this is not where my heart lies.
Passion for pictures
In this time, I have had two beautiful daughters, Heidi and Annie, who gave me a completely new lease of life. I became obsessed with taking pictures and videos of them which in turn lead me to buying a hobbyist camera.
Before long, my friends were asking me to take pictures of their children which made me realise how much I enjoyed it, seeing their faces when I delivered the pictures, it was an amazing feeling.
Finding a mentor
I emailed the only lady I knew who was a photographer, as she photographed my wedding in 2014. Little did I know she would play a huge part in my journey. Within a couple of days, she rang me and we spent an hour talking about photography; camera, lenses, software, training.
With her support, I then began to hone my craft and my pictures became more professional.
Through social media, I received interest for paid work, which led me to create my business Charleigh Victoria Photography.
I started out small taking photographs of families in the park, first birthday cake smashes and gender reveals. This, in turn, led me to do my first social event, a christening, which got me used to working with bigger parties and boosted my confidence in working at bigger social events.
Throughout this, I have kept in touch with my wedding photographer who has shown interest in my work and supported me throughout.
She then invited me to assist her on a couple of her weddings which I can wholeheartedly recommend doing as this gave me invaluable experience.
With this newfound knowledge, I was accepted as a second shooter for another wedding photographer …. and got paid! This was very exciting for me and cemented the dream of doing this as my sole career.
Fast forward a couple of months, I achieved my biggest goal to date as I got to shoot my cousin’s wedding as the main photographer. From these pictures, interest has led to seven bookings for next year and I am well on my way to fulfilling my dream.
Find your passion
I still get so much pleasure in doing family lifestyle shoots and spend many an evening and weekends editing, but always find time for my family and friends. A healthy balance will always stand you in good stead for longevity.
Remember, you don’t have to know at an early age what you want to do with the rest of your life, but once you’ve found your passion (I was 28) then go for it with all your heart.