You can read the Spark Notes version of my photography journey on my About page. But like a lot of stories, there’s a long version and a short version. Usually I’m all for the short version, but I thought it would be good to share how I came to run my own photography business. So here it goes.
My first camera was a little pink Olympus point and shoot. My brothers got one for Christmas, and I was jealous. So I decided to save up to buy my own. It was a proud day when my mom took me to Costco to make the big purchase. I had to say goodbye to that camera on a family trip to Washington D.C. a few years later. We were running in a rainstorm to catch our tour of the Capitol Building, and it slipped out of my pocket into a puddle. That day marked the end of that camera, but thankfully, not the end of my photography journey.
I took every opportunity to explore photography as a kid. In jr high I took yearbook and was on of the designated photographers. In 8th grade I enrolled in the photography class and really liked that. On career day in junior high we all got to pick a pretend job for the day and go around to different booths around the gym, writing fake checks to pay fake bills. By the end of the day, my pretend bank account had emptied while my friends who’d been doctors all day were loaded. Not going to lie, that was disappointing.
In college, my official major was Integrated Studies, which meant I got to pick three minors to clump together to create a major. I studied nutrition (because I’m a big foodie but I also love health), family studies (because my life dream was to be a mom), and photography (because I love it and married a man who encouraged me to pursue what I love). That’s where I started getting more training as a photographer but also started realizing how much there was to learn about photography.
While in my program, I did an internship with Kat Bruns, a photographer in SLC. From her I learned so much about how to run a business and interact with clients. Kat gave me the assignment to take photos of some friends, just to practice. I set up a photo session with one of my freshman roommates and her boyfriend (thanks Megan & Spencer). It just got a little more complicated when the boyfriend told me he wanted to propose during the shoot…Shoot! I was so intimidated to do surprise proposal photos, but we made it through.
When I looked at the shots later, it looked like I’d just taken them on my iPhone! I was so disappointed. I had been a photography student for over a year, and I thought it was supposed to be easy. Get a nice camera and learn how to shoot in manual mode. (It is not easy! There are a lot of things that go into taking amazing photos that are invisible at first.)
After graduating I continued to take photos and have lots of growing experiences (aka, I made mistakes and learned from them). Like the wedding I shot right after I graduated when I only brought one battery for the whole day and my camera died right as the couple was exiting all and I had to borrow someone’s phone. Lesson learned? Always have about six backup batteries on hand bag and always make sure they’re charged. In my defense though, the couple said that they were just going to have a family member take pictures on their phone or I could do their wedding as practice if I wanted… still pretty embarrassing though.
A big turning point was watching a free webinar from Amy and Jordan, a couple with awesome online photography training courses. I learned so much that I later decided to take their Shooting and Editing Course. LIFE. CHANGING. Seriously. Around the same time, I invested in a full frame Canon and a nice lens. I started to learn how to use light effectively. Who knew pretty pictures all come down to the light?! I’m now obsessed with using light in new and creative ways. Anyways, with the new equipment and skills, I started to see my work improving, which was so relieving and exciting.
I’ve come a long way since then, thanks to a LOT of practice, more education, and finding the right resources at the right time.
When I was finishing up the Shooting and Editing Course, I saw a post on a photographer Facebook group about an opening to be an associate photographer with Tasha Rose, a photographer based in Utah County. I applied, and Tasha hired me the same day I found out I was pregnant with our first daughter. (Interesting timing, right? Don’t worry, I took a little break to focus on new momhood.)
As an associate photographer, I would do sessions booked through Tasha, and then she would edit the photos. I loved that I could just focus on taking the photos and not have the stress of running a business. Seeing my photos go through Tasha’s editing process was also a huge turning point. My photos came alive with good editing. It gave me more confidence in the abilities I already had.
I worked as an associate for about a year before going solo. Since then, I’ve watched my little side gig grow. Sometimes the growth is organic, and sometimes I push it more. Now it’s a great creative outlet and way to help support my family. I love that I get to work with people and help them document their relationships with who they love.
Each year I find some course or goal that will help me further develop my skills. Just this year I purchased 3 (maybe even 4) new courses. Continuing to learn is really important to me as I want to continue to serve my families and couples to the best of my abilities.
Since that little pink camera, I’ve come a long way and learned A LOT — about photography, but also about life too. I know I still have lots to learn, but I’m excited to continue chasing pretty light and capturing tender moments. 🙂 Thanks for your support and for following along with my photography journey 🙂
I will never use another photographer ever again. We get our pictures from her every year and I always get compliments on them, followed by being asked who does them. She is great with our kids getting them to smile and laugh. She’s just amazing and I’m obsessed with her work!!! I gawk at her pictures all year until it’s time to redo them. 10/10 recommend Candace for your photography needs!!
"Candace is the top of the line. She’s professional, kind, & flexible."
"Our experience with Candace could not have been better!"
She was patient, easy going, and engaging with the grandkids and the adults. She has such an eye for locations and what makes a good background for the photos. She has taken our family photos for a couple of years in a row, and she did our daughter’s bridals and wedding photos. She is very reliable and professional and at the same time easy to work with! I totally recommend her!
"10/10 would recommend!"
Candace did our engagement and bridal pictures and they are stunning!! Our pictures were bright and beautiful and came in such a great quality! I’m not 100% comfortable in front of a camera but she made it a breeze and had tons helpful tips while also having a fun time. 100/10 would recommend 🤗
"She makes everyone feel at ease and comfortable..."
Candace has taken my family’s pictures the last two years. I can not recommend her enough. She does such a good job. She makes everyone feel at ease and comfortable even those who don’t like being photographed (husband!). I have four young children and after family pictures am usually left wondering if any pictures will turn out because my kids are crazy. I am always blown away by how the pictures turn out. They are so good! She does a great job at capturing posed pictures as well as several candid family interaction photos as well. Definitely will continue to use her in the future and recommend her to anyone needing a photographer 😊
"...we could not be more pleased with how the pictures turned out."
Candace is our family photographer and we LOVE her and her work! We schedule shoots with her every year and they are aways so good! She makes us feel comfortable, she always knows the best shoot locations, she works quickly, is awesome with kids and families and has an quick turn around time. I was extra impressed with how many quality images we received from our mini session. She even traveled to take family pictures at our family reunion. Our family is LARGE and we could not be more pleased with how the pictures turned out. Thanks, Candace!
"Candace was a dream to work with!"
Candace was a dream to work with! She learned every child’s name while working with them and made each one feel so special. Not only was our experience great, but the photos are so beautiful and we love each one of them! She captured us so perfectly!
"Would recommend 100%!"
"We love having Candace take our family pictures! She's done them for us for the last 3 years and we have gotten some real gems. She's great with kids, too. Would recommend 100%."
"I'm so happy we chose her"
Candace did an AMAZING job doing the engagement photos for me and my fiancé. She made us feel comfortable in front of the camera and made us look even better. Her editing style is airy and beautiful, and I’m so happy we chose her. Definitely recommending to friends!