I have loved photography for most my life.  I was one of those goofy kids who made scenes with the Barbies and took pictures of them.   I was ecstatic my senior year of high school when I finally had room in my schedule for a photo journalism class.   Studying photography in college didn’t seem like a realistic, responsible choice for me so I opted for my other love architecture, but my love of capturing images never stopped.  Then, a couple of years after college I took a workshop in portrait photography and my love was refueled.   When I think about it, I have seriously wanted to pursue a career as a  professional photographer since 1999.  Finally, about 10 years later, I got tired of letting life (kids, husband, job, you know, LIFE)  get in the way and I decided to more seriously pursue my dream and seriously started working on becoming a photographer.

I joined online forums.  I bought books.  I checked out books form the library.  I read all about the exposure triangle.  I read lots of articles on photoshop.  I read books on posing.  I took a couple of online courses on lighting, and posing.  I took lots and lots of pictures.  I posted pictures on the forums for critique.  I cried, then sucked it up when my images were shredded and tried again.  I took more pictures.  I spent lots of money and time on CreativeLIVE.  I scrounged enough money for a couple of in person workshops.  I have spent lots of money on newer and better equipment.  It was happening.  I was becoming a photographer…  maybe.

Sometimes I get worn down.  Sometimes I get defeated.  Sometimes I get really frustrated at the progress I am making.

Some people in a group I am in on Facebook recently started posting some “Then&Now”  pictures.  They were fun to look at.  Some people had some amazing progress.  They encouraged me to dig up some old pictures and compare them to some newer pictures.  It was hard without digging up old hard drives, but I found some.  It might not be as dramatic aas some of the examples I saw on Facebook, but I saw progress.


I think the picture on the left was from my second maybe third EVER senior portrait session.  Honestly, I am not embarrassed by it.  I don’t think it is bad, but you might say it is more simple than some of my more recent work.





This next girl was a dream to shoot.  She had so much personality and was so at ease in front of the camera.  When I look at this “Then” picture, I still think it is nice.  If I were to retake this picture, I would pull her hands out so that they weren’t hidden in her coat and I would probably try and catch a little more back light on her hair.  The little bit that is there was purely accidental.






When you are first starting out in photography, your first victims  are close friends and relative.  As is the case with sweet Erin.





It is good to look back and realize that I have progressed in becoming a photographer.   Next, I have to make the same progress towards becoming a businesswoman.  🙂




4 thoughts to “Then and Now | Becoming a Photographer

  • Kim De Araujo

    I see the progress! I know it’s hard to see in yourself. I can’t see it in me, really. You really do make these seniors shine and you are doing a great job at it. I think becoming the businesswomen is hard to do.

  • Leigh Hilliard

    Gretchen-you take beautiful pictures, then and now! So glad you have pursued your passion.

  • jennifer Weems

    Your hard work and passion push you to be the master that you are. Any senior would be LUCKY to have you be their photographer!

  • Gretchen Blair

    Awwwww… you guys are awesome!


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