The Big Announcement & Chasing Dreams


Hang with me, this is a long one.

This announcement is coming a lot sooner than I had planned, but since word has already spread I figured this would be the best possible way to address “the word on the street.” So . . . After this school year, I will be pursuing my photography career and leaving Wilson Middle School. This has been one of the hardest decisions I’ve ever made, but it’s a decision that needed to happen for multiple reasons.

Unless you’ve been out of the loop, you’ve probably noticed that my photography isn’t a side-gig or a hobby. It’s now a 30-40 hour per week commitment that has left me isolated from most of my friends and generally absent from my family. I can’t tell you how many nights I’ve worked from 7 or 8pm until 2 in the morning, then gotten up 4.5 hours later to get ready for work. Coffee and random naps have been my LIFE. The funny part is, this was never my plan, it’s just one of those things that happened.

Do you know what kind of guts and planning it takes to comfortably resign from a full-time job with retirement and benefits? Actually, can anyone REALLY do that comfortably?! Well, let me tell you about it, because I just did it yesterday and it was one of the scariest moments of my life. You know that feeling when you are so nervous and scared that you are between throwing up and running? That was me yesterday. Thankfully, my principal (the amazing Bob Beem) couldn’t have made that moment any better for me and that is something I am seriously going to remember for the rest of my life. I look forward to finishing out the remainder of the school year at this amazing school and I’ve enjoyed my time there very much.

This past year, I shot 15 weddings, multiple engagement sessions, and many other portrait sessions and events. I’m not sure how many people truly understand the time commitment that goes into a wedding from start to finish, but I typically spend 40+ hours on each one. Then there are all the other aspects of running a business that no one REALLY wants to think about when they start out. Things like maintaining a website, blogging, SEO, accounting/taxes (my financial spreadsheet Leif created is my life), answering e-mails, planning for wedding expos, advertising/marketing, taking classes, improving my craft, meeting with clients, etc. . . . and some of these tasks are a full-time job in themselves!

Even with all the time off as a teacher, the busiest seasons are smack-dab in the middle of the school year. So . . . the point of all this rambling is that no matter how hard I’ve tried to balance my teaching schedule with my photography, I’m still torn in 800 different directions . . . And let’s not forget the fact that I have a husband, a son, and friends who think I don’t exist anymore.

I know how much I can take and I’ve officially reached that limit.

I’m so thankful that my husband Leif and I have prepared for this as much as humanely possible. I think the only thing we AREN’T prepared for is sharing an office!! (He also works from home as an account manager for an awesome company) Between fighting over his comfortable office chair and my inability to stop talking, I may end up moving my office into our walk-in closet!! All joking aside, I’m not sure we could be in a better position for such a huge decision. We are so excited!

The fact is, LIFE IS SO, SO SHORT!!!!

Around 8 years ago, I went through some pretty awful life events and when I emerged on the other side of that storm I vowed that I wasn’t going to “settle” because it was easy or comfortable . . . or because it was the so-called “right” thing to do. I vowed to start being honest with myself and trust my heart even if it meant doing something people might shake their heads about. So, with that said, I refuse to look back on my life someday and wish I would have “just gone for it” when I was 32. I’ve made quite a few big mistakes in my life and this is NOT going to be one of them no matter how it turns out! I realize how lucky I am to even have the option to make this decision and that’s not something I’m willing to throw away.

This past November I found myself in a random restaurant in Canmore, Alberta having dinner with Two Mann Studios (they are kind of a big deal if you don’t know). I’m not one of those people that tend to dork out when I meet someone I admire, but this was one of those moments for me. The reason I am telling you this is because both of these photographers had other jobs before becoming two of the best photographers in the world. I’m not aiming to be the best in the world or anything, but it was pretty amazing listening to them talk about their transition into full-time photography. What they’ve accomplished is incredibly inspiring. My point is, I feel that I have a lot of opportunities that I’ll only have a chance at IF I have the time. Some of those goals include teaching, traveling, and maybe even speaking at conferences. I still value the art of teaching and would love to pursue these opportunities.

I have so many people to thank for making this possible.

So many people that it would probably be impossible to name them all . . . but THANK YOU to everyone who has been there, whether you are a random Facebook/Insta follower, a client, a friend, a mentor, or a member of my crazy wonderful family.

Again, I’m incredibly thankful to have this opportunity. My 2018 wedding bookings are off the charts, 2019 is booking steadily, and I’m looking forward to explore additional ways to expand Cadenza and improve my client experience. My clients are some of the best people and I am so thankful for them. They’ve often been my biggest cheerleaders and are truly the people that motivate me more than anyone.

2018 is certainly going to be a year to remember. So get ready, because I’m pulling out all the stops.






Hilton Head Photographer - Quad Cities Destination Wedding Photographer - South Carolina




Photo Credit: Katelyn Malo Photography