A Long & Winding Road

I am going to be candid today. This isn’t something that comes easily to me, and only recently have I realized how much my shyness can and has hampered my dreams. Now that I recognize that, I am going to put up a good fight, so here I am.

I am Sarah, and I am a photographer.

I have loved photography ever since I was very young and watched adults with their fancy film cameras – loading 35mm film, getting frustrated when they accidentally exposed the film, and running out of film in the midst of a family event.

I took a summer enrichment course in middle school where I learned a little bit about single lens reflex (SLR) cameras, and we got to develop our own photos. Holy moly. I was in heaven. As someone who has no great drawing or musical ability (I canNOT carry a tune!), I had finally found my artistic creative outlet.

Going on to high school, I worked on the school newspaper staff as a photographer. I LOVED completing assignments. I would stay late after school and work in the darkroom.  I did this so frequently that the journalism teacher eventually let me stay after she was done for the day as long as I made sure the door was locked when I left. (I think that story means I was in high school “back in the day,” because I’m not sure that amount of free reign would fly these days.) In any case, I am so glad I had that opportunity.

With my 35mm Canon Rebel at dance camp in high school

With my 35mm Canon Rebel at dance camp in high school

My sister got married while I was in high school, and her photographer was so kind to me. When I was a few years older, this photographer hired me to be her shooting assistant at weddings. I was hooked.

I went on to the University of Texas at Austin where I studied journalism with a concentration in photojournalism. I loved my intro course, but Photography I…yikes. I had a adjunct professor who thought she was the bees knees and all of her students were just terrible. I was too sensitive. I took it all too personally. I would leave class crying more often than not. Many of my classmates felt the same as I did. None of us were encouraged. I did not take another photography course at the university.

After graduation, I was able to work closely with two prominent photographers and assist on photo shoots as well as act as the primary person for completing all of their post-processing (read: color correcting, image adjusting, Photoshop guru) and album designs. I opened my own photography company on the side and ran that well in my spare time.

A couple years later, I got married and moved to Germany with my husband while he was on active duty in the Army (stationed in Heidelberg). We had a fantastic four years there, but I did not have the opportunity to continue my business while we were on foreign soil.

Enjoying the glorious ice and snow in downtown Heidelberg in early 2009

Enjoying the glorious ice and snow in downtown Heidelberg in early 2009

Once his service was up, we moved from Germany to Austin, Texas, with our then 6-week-old in tow. I started up my photography business again, and things were going well. Unfortunately, with my husband in school full time and a baby to support, I needed a steady and secure income, so I began to job search.

I wound up working for the same company that employed me while we lived in Germany. It was incredibly nice to have a reliable source of income again, but the office life – 40 hours/week in a cubicle under fluorescent lights – is not what I wanted for my career.

A few years passed, my husband finished his degree and landed a fantastic job, which provided the opportunity for me to consider a career change. So, with a lot of help and encouragement from my husband and oldest child (we now have two kiddos!), I embarked on the journey to transition back to full time photographer.

Right now, I am somewhere in the middle, and it is crazy keeping up with my family and both of my jobs, but I am so excited to be on my way to achieving my dream, which has been on the horizon far too long. I won’t let this opportunity pass me by.

Just a few weeks after our second baby was born in early 2014

Just a few weeks after our second baby was born in early 2014

If you made it this far, thank you. I hope this has given you some insight into who I am and why I have chosen to pursue photography. In the days and weeks to come, look for posts on my  photography style and influences.

Bis später!


Whitewood Photography specializes in wedding photography and family photography in San Antonio, Texas, and the Texas Hill Country. San Antonio Wedding Photography. San Antonio Family Photography.