Whenever I feel overwhelmed, David will ask me, “Abby, how do you eat an elephant?” And side note, the thought of eating an elephant makes me sad so he changed the saying to, “how do you wash an elephant?” and I usually respond with a sigh, “little by little.” The moral of this story and the reminder that he gives me is, if you have a dream, you must take small steps everyday to help you get there.
I have always known I wanted to be a photographer, but there are many different types of specialities. When I was young, I spent some days dreaming that I would be a photojournalist traveling the world, a fashion photographer in New York, or a celebrity portrait photographer in Los Angeles. In college, I read about the pros and cons of being a National Geographic photographer. I was dreaming big! But, when it came to wedding and lifestyle photography I never thought logically about. It is something I feel naturally connected to. (Also, if you ever hear me talk I mostly say, “I feel” rather than “I think”. I’m an emotional decision maker!) As I was preparing to graduate, I found myself drifting towards wedding photography. In college, I also spent a lot of time looking at young successful wedding photographers with impressive websites, stunning images and beautiful stories to tell. That became my new dream. I wanted to have all of that one day.
Well, that one day is today! I’m closing the gap between reality and a dream by taking action. I quit my day job and it’s scary, yet exciting! Friday was my last day and today was my first day in my home office as a full time photographer.
For the past 3 and a half years, I have worked with a local newspaper company while slowly working on my photography business. (Yes, it has been a busy few years!) I started out at Appen Media Group as an intern working on photography and writing. Later, I became a full time employee as an account executive helping local businesses with their advertising. Being a part of an industry that documents important events every single week was perfect for me, because this is the exact same reason why I love photography so much. While working at Appen, I grew both personally and professionally and accomplished more than I knew possible. I’m so thankful for my day job as it prepared me to take this next step. The lessons I learned from client relationships, formal sales training, and being in an everyday office environment are the type of things I will take with me on this next journey as a full time photographer. And because of everyone’s support and encouragement (friends, family, coworkers, clients, bosses) I feel ready and confident that now is the time to make this leap.
There’s a saying, If you can’t stop thinking about, don’t stop working for it. I knew that if I did not take this leap, I would always regret it. The old and the wise always warn us, you will be more upset by the things you didn’t do than the things you did do. Life is short….something we hear all the time, but something most of us need to live by more. This blog post is hard for me, because it feels all, me me me, but I want to share my story because I hope this reaches someone that needs to hear it. Whatever you are dreaming about, you can do it! Every accomplishment starts with the decision to try. And whenever I have doubts such as, what if this doesn’t work? I remind myself, but what if it does? I still have a lot of work ahead of me, but I’m on my way!
As I said good-bye to coworkers, bosses and clients last week (although it’s more of a, see you later!) I wanted to take the time to share some of my favorite moments at Appen with the strangers who became friends and the place that helped make this next journey possible.
Abby Byrd is a wedding and portrait photographer based out of Atlanta specializing in joyful film photography