I have my basic story about me on my website, but I wanted to go a little bit more in depth to really scream it from the rooftops!
I have always hated writing an “about me” since MySpace days. I always ended up using what my friends had said about me on their “Like this for an about me” statuses on Facebook. I know so pathetic, hah! It just really makes me feel weird talking about myself, so I avoid it at all costs. Well, not today sista! I am here to shine and bring you along my journey of how it all began!
Back when I was in school, my family always had these huge get-togethers during the holidays. Since my family lives all over the place, we always went to Erie, PA. My aunt had this “big camera” that I always would snag from her and walk around town taking photos of flowers and other plants. From there, my interest in photography blew up. I took classes through high school and then got into business with the mom of an ex-boyfriend. I know…. that is crazy to type out right now but trust me, it was so worth it. Michele Ashlee really guided me through teaching me the in’s and out’s of wedding photography and we ended up having so much fun doing it together. When the time came that I had to go to college, I was bummed that I was not going to be able to do weddings as often as I was in high school since I attended SUNY Fredonia. Freshman year, I went in undecided. I toured the art department but I never really felt like it was what I wanted to do. You know, like that gut feeling when you just know- I didn’t have that until I stepped foot in the film darkroom in the creepy basement of Igoe Hall.
From that moment until now, I have soaked up every single piece of knowledge that I have learned along the way. Whether it be at Fredonia, at my internship with Kenneth Cole in New York City, working for The RealReal in New Jersey, meeting all of these wonderful photographers along the way- everything brought me to this very moment as I sit here typing this. And let me tell you, it has been a whirlwind. The last year or so, I really focused on finding out what I really wanted to do with my life. When I left my last job in NJ in the beginning of 2019, a question my boss at the time asked me really stuck in my head. “Where do you see yourself in 5 years” Every time he asked me that I always said, “I want to be like Amiee Blasko, I look up to her so much for being so brave.” (Amiee is a full time photographer in Pennsylvania who I met while working for The RealReal, she ended up quitting and pursuing photography full-time in 2017.) I knew that when my 2nd work anniversary came and I second shot at a wedding with Tom Russo after taking nearly 3 years off, I needed to do this for myself. So I started looking for jobs back home to be able to pay the bills, because I knew my mom wasn’t going to allow me to move back in with two cats, haha!
I cannot begin to express how thankful I am for meeting all of these wonderful photographers that I have met within the last year. Every single one of them has built me into who I am now. Community over competition is a big statement that I love to follow because I would rather help someone gain more business than steal it from another person. I want to be the one helping the ones who are just starting out because I was in their shoes just a few years ago. And to those who are just starting out now if you are reading this, INVEST. IN. YOURSELF. That is the biggest piece of advice that anyone could ever give me and I ran with it. Never doubt yourself, always do your research, make friends, take advantage of every opportunity you get- even if it’s a small one. You never know where life is going to take you, I sure as hell didn’t.
Now, I thank you for making it this far in my jumbled up mess of what I thought was going to be an about me that quickly turned into where it all started. I have some of the best support systems a gal could ask for and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
I also want to thank all of the people that really have changed my life for the better in the last year and for those who will in the next coming years… *cue rolling credits*
My Mom – my biggest support system, the one who thinks every photo I take is amazing when I think it’s the worst, you rock. Thank you for accepting the fact that I moved across the state for a boy and ended up changing my life for the better.
Michele – Sorry I didn’t end up being your daughter in law 😉 Thank you for taking me under your wing and showing me the ropes. It makes my heart so full to chat with you and hear that you want me to teach you what I have learned now.
Anthony – You are the reason I even had the opportunity to go to NYC. Without that, I would most likely still be working at Tim Hortons and probably quit photography. Thank you for all of your kind words on how proud you are of me from watching me grow through the past few years.
Alex Zielinski – That 45 minute phone interview changed my entire life and you didn’t even know it until 6 months after. You are one of the reasons why I am writing this right now. You have pushed me for the past year and worked alongside me to grow our businesses to be full time gigs. You taught me things that I would have never known, from photoshop actions to how to pronounce Yosemite.
Tom – That wedding in fall of 2018 made a flip switch in my head. I knew I had to make moves for myself and every single day since you have been pushing me to follow along in your footsteps to be the best wedding photographer I can be. Thank you for answering my countless facetimes and pushing me to make those big $$$ purchases that hit me where it hurts.
To everyone at TRR – As much as I cried and hurt my own heart by leaving you all and moving back home, I knew I had to do it. I am thankful for the friendships that we all made during my crazy 2 years of working for that company. There are so many of you to name, but you know exactly who you all are.
Emily Easton & Amanda Schmidt – Who knew that from a coffee date of us getting to know each other, that I would be so inclined to sign up for your workshop. Granted, I had no idea what I was doing nor what a workshop even was, but as soon as I left that day, I just knew how much you two influenced me and the endless possibilities that were coming my way.
To my endless list of clients – You are the reason I do this. I cry at almost every wedding, my heart gets all warm and fuzzy when I get texts from you guys freaking out about your photos, I love all of the friendships I have built with every single one of you and so so much more. Thank you for supporting me along this crazy journey.