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May 18, 2018

Making the Leap as a full time Wedding Photographer

Last week I shared that Drew and I are moving to Indianapolis and hinted that some more big + excited news was coming your way!! With the upcoming transition to Indy, I’m so excited to also share that…

I’m going full time as a wedding photographer!

It’s been quite the journey to get to this point. One that’s been incredible fun, rewarding, tiring, hard, and stretching.  Especially stretching of my faith and marriage which at times felt super hard but looking back I’m incredibly grateful.

I’ve had a passion for photography since my sophomore year of high school when I joined my high school yearbook with some field hockey teammates thinking it’d be an easy class. That class turned out to be such a saving grace for me after my mom passed away and one of the classes throughout all my education that has really prepared me for going full time as a small business owner. The first time I held a fancy camera was in that class and I was hooked from then on. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought I’d make this my career though!

Throughout high school and into college I loved photographing people as a hobby and means for extra money for clothes, going to the movies, and going out to eat with my friends. When I look back on the images I literally cringe because I had NO clue what I was doing ha. Drew and I graduated college May 2016, got married almost exactly one month later, and I started my first job July 2016 doing media and marketing for a small company. Since we lived in Oxford, a small college town, you pretty much either worked for Miami or a local church/ministry or you commuted an hour one way to Cincinnati or Dayton. For me, that meant commuting to Dayton.

When things started to change

Around October of that year (4 months into my first full time job), I randomly reached out to my now dear friend Kelsie to see if she’s be interested in collaborating on a styled shoot. That November we shot our first styled shoot and it really just started to take off from there.

During that season of life, I would leave for work anywhere between 5-7am, work anywhere from 7-6pm, get home anywhere from 4-7pm, then I’d start working on my photography business. On weekends we’d shoot anyone that would pay us and I used everything we made to put back into the business to purchase new equipment and education.  I did that for 7 months until I was personally at a point, and our marriage was at a point where something HAD TO CHANGE. It was not sustainable. I was miserable. We were miserable.

Drew was in grad school full time, working part time IT, I was working all the time, never home (or if I was, I was devoting all my time to the business), didn’t feel like myself, and just generally wasn’t in a good place because I had little balance and boundaries in my life. At the time I was really enjoying photography and I didn’t want to give that up so we started boldly praying for a new job that would be more compatible with photography and man did God provide!!

In February 2017 I started working as an Office Manager for Indiana Wesleyan University at their Dayton satellite campus and it has been one of the biggest blessing. I had consistent hours and a less stressful work environment. Our weekends we still full with weddings but we were able to have a lot more balance in our lives. That’s when we really started to see the business blooming. It has definitely been challenging at times working two full times jobs, Drew being in school full time and working part time, but neither of us would change the past two years because it allowed us to stay debt free (Dave Ramsey enthusiasts) and grow a ton!

Eventually the business reached the point that I was making more with photography than I was in my day job so we felt confident to move forward with this as my full time gig. With our upcoming move, the timing to transition just made sense to us. I have so many mixed emotions as we say “see you later” to so many dear friends and co-workers, but I am excited and thankful that I have the opportunity to dive into self employment! I can’t wait to see how God shows off in our personal lives and growing photography business!

I will say that I wouldn’t be where I am if it weren’t for YOU! Yes you, the person reading this right now. Thank you so much for your constant love and support over these past 2 years! It means the world to me!! I am thrilled that I get to keep sharing our life and business with you!



Full Time Wedding Photographer | Monica Brown Photography

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