I counted it up just now. 40 photography clients in 2019! (and growing as I’m still booking sessions for the Holiday season) That’s 40 brides, families, mamas, and graduating seniors that have trusted me behind the camera. It is so humbling to get to do what I do now. For the first half of this year, I was still teaching full time. I worked my butt off to get here, and I’m so grateful to have the opportunity now to do photography full-time.
Full-time Photographer in Colorado
In June this year, I left my teaching job. Now, I can say, I’m a former English and Journalism middle school and high school teacher. For almost a decade, I taught students how to write their own stories and also analyze other writer’s. I would celebrate with my students when they went off to college and got their journalism degrees or published their own work. I have several students that are now professional photographers or writers of their own accord.
I loved [almost] every moment of being an educator. I spent my teaching career working towards that next award for my yearbook and newspaper programs, or increasing my students’ growth in Language Arts. One day, something clicked. My students were getting to achieve their dreams, and they wanted me to do the same. It was time to rewrite my chapter.
I left my local teaching job to become a full-time photographer and wedding professional. I’m determined to make a difference in every one of my client’s lives by providing them an amazing experience and giving them a product that will be their family heirlooms. My clients’ images will live on. Now, that’s my goal.
Similarities Between Teaching and Photography
Last night, I had the most amazing dinner in Denver with Julie Hill, owner of Elysium Productions, and Emily and Samantha of Bella Design and Planning. We got to talking about how we got into this wedding industry, and realized 3 out of 4 of us have Master’s degrees in Education. I think that says something amazing about teachers! Sure, we left the classroom, but that doesn’t mean that we left the attributes and training we gained, and love for students/people, and life-long learning when we left. We just brought all of that into our current professions.
Because I was a teacher, I can manage large groups at weddings, make a teenage boy laugh, connect with my clients and build relationships. My wedding photography timelines are flawlessly planned out (just like my old lesson plans), and I can keep everyone on schedule no matter how crazy a wedding day gets. I also have a thirst for learning, and I’m always signing up for a workshop and following prominent blogs and educators in the photography industry.
Though I sometimes miss being in the classroom, I love living out my passion everyday and going after my dreams of being a wedding and portrait photographer; telling my clients’ story in whatever season of life they are currently in.
Booking Photography Sessions for 2020
I’m already booking weddings and photography sessions for 2020, and I’m so excited to work with more amazing people out of my home of Breckenridge, Colorado and other mountain towns!
You probably already know that I am a former English teacher. I loved teaching my students how to properly write a letter and format the address on an envelope. So here are my 5 tips for addressing an envelope!
1. Spell out everything!
Don’t abbreviate Street to St. or Drive to Dr. Don’t even abbreviate P.O. Box!
Mr. and Mrs. Tyson Stark
Post Office Box 2533
Also, this is my personal mailing address, and I love getting your Christmas cards. Especially when they are the new ones you ordered from your personalized gallery! 🙂
If you are worried about other ways to address correspondence, (married, unmarried, doctors, formal or informal) here’s a great article on Emily Post that explains the rules.
2. Handwriting all your addresses on the envelopes?
Print the actual address in all caps. It’s much easier for the postal workers to guarantee that your letter will get there.
3. The zip code should go on the last line on its own.
I like to align the address in the center of the envelope and write the return address on the back of the envelope.
4. Use a custom rubber stamp for your return address!
I ordered this one last year and LOVE it! I use it all the time throughout the year. Keep in mind, custom stamps usually take two to three weeks to arrive. Really helps with the hand cramps!
5. Mistakes happen!
Order extra envelopes to have on hand while addressing. My Holiday Cards usually come with a few extra white envelopes, but you can purchase 5×7 envelopes to have as a backup. I got some cute craft paper envelopes from Joann’s and just keep them in my office desk drawer.
Is it The Smiths’ or Smith’s or Smiths? I don’t know about you, but I still have to Google this rule all the time.
Last name: Smith
Do: Merry Christmas from the Smiths. You’re invited to the Smiths’ holiday party. From the Smith family.
Don’t: From the Smith’s
Last name: Jones
Do: The Joneses. The Jones family. The Jones’ holiday party. (When a name ends in “s” add “es”)
Don’t: From the Jones’
Last name: May
Do: The Mays
Don’t: The Maies
Names ending in “ch” (unless it’s pronounced with a hard k, like “monarch”), s, sh, x and z require an “es” to make them plural. All other names simply use “s.”
Need a spreadsheet in order to gather and organize your addresses for cards? I’ve created one that I love to use in order to keep all my addresses in one place! Please use my free spreadsheet template to organize all your addresses after you’ve gathered them.
Rachael and Ryan met in high school ceramics class. Years later, they’d reconnect, start dating, and build their life together in the Rocky Mountains. Since their story began with clay, we had to incorporate that into their engagement session. They brought their favorite hand made mugs with hot cocoa and maybe a little something extra to keep them even warmer during the session. I mean, they’re from Minnesota so they know how to stay warm!
Rachael is an incredible ceramic artist. She creates mugs, bowls, and a collection of beautiful pottery. She even makes Christmas ornaments! I have three of her’s that hang on my tree! To check out and purchase some of her custom pieces, go to her facebook page or on Instagram at @rachaelanneceramics.
During their session, we talked about their love story, how it started as friends and as their love grew, it brought them together in the mountains. So that’s why we planned a session with a beautiful, snowy mountain backdrop on the same road they take to work each day. That way, not only would their pictures hanging in their home remind them of their commitment to each other, but the drive to work would too.
Annie and Connor’s engagement session was one I’ll never forget. These two were just so easy going right from the start. I believe it translates through their engagement pictures just how in love and relaxed they were.
Planning is a big part of the prep leading up to any of my sessions. Annie, Connor, and I had been emailing about locations to shoot at around Breckenridge. Annie was interested in engagement shoot with mountains, lakes or rivers, while Connor said a good overlook or rock outcropping would be good. All the planning paid off!! We had a perfectly overcast day to go play atop Loveland Pass. Then we drove back towards Breckenridge, where they were staying, and stopped along Lake Dillon to get the overlook and rock outcropping location that Connor specifically asked for!
Here’s the sweetest and BEST review from Connor and Annie, they voluntarily wrote on Google, that I could ever ask for:
“We were both blown away by the time and effort Andrea put in for our engagement shoot. She scouted out areas ahead of time based on my fiancee and I’s requests in order to find us locations we would love. She was willing to be adventurous and had knowledge of the local area and weather patterns. She immediately made us feel comfortable in front of the camera and genuinely seemed to care about us as people. She got to know us in the short amount of time we were with her and this added to the overall experience of the shoot. Couldn’t say better things about her. Wonderful! Her eye and talent for photography is evident from the start and the unedited sneak peek she gave us was already amazing. Not only do we have great photos, but also a new friend! If you’re looking for a photographer of any sort in the Breckenridge area, she’s definitely the one to go with!”-Annie & Connor
This winter was exceptionally long but beautifully snowy. This venue in the summer is a pristine golf course. In the winter, it’s home of sleigh ride dinners and the club house can be turned into a perfect venue for any size wedding. One of the things I really enjoyed about this wedding was how much of a family affair it was. Before Sara walked down the aisle and the rest of the guests arrived, lots of the family, and even the kids, were out shoveling snow on the club house deck. Kevin’s sister even officiated the wedding. Sara and Kevin chose one of the most perfect days to say their I dos and cap it all off with a snowy sleigh ride.