The Cautionary Tale of How I Became a Professional Photographer

Shelly Lyn Photography: The Back Story

Even my mom had professional photographs taken of me as a baby!

Even my mom had professional photographs taken of me as a baby!


Here at Shelly Lyn Photography, I am all about telling stories, but instead of a pen, I use a camera and light.  I love being a professional photographer, able to create beautiful images that tell the stories of the people who entrust such a high honor on me. Those stories will be cherished for years by multiple generations: a link to earlier chapters of their own narrative.


Today, I thought I would share my own story of how and why I became a professional photographer. And if my story reaches those who have not yet had their own children, it will serve as a cautionary tale…



Here I am in my last years of high school.

Here I am in my last years of high school.

Unlike the majority of professional photographer’s biographies that you will read, my story does not start off with an adolescent picking up a camera and falling in love with the art from a young age. I picked up books instead and fell madly in love with words, with tales of travelers, far off worlds of make believe and magic. 

I was in high school before I picked up a camera for the first time and truth be told, I liked it, but I did not fall madly in love with it. I enjoyed the challenge of learning the camera’s settings, choosing the right film, mixing the right ratios of chemicals in the dark room and waiting to see my photos slowly appear on paper hung from clothes pins. I have always been a creative person, and in that sense, too, I enjoyed photography. 

It wasn’t until about fifteen years later that I connected my love of stories to my enjoyment of photography. When my husband and I welcomed our first baby into the world, photos of his newborn days from a professional photographer were not in the budget. Two and a half years later, our baby girl was born and while the money was there for professional photos, I felt guilty that one child would have them and the other wouldn’t, so again, we did not hire a professional photographer to document the newborn days. 

Our little baby boy in his first few weeks.

Our little baby boy in his first few weeks.

And our little baby girl.

And our little baby girl.

Fast-forward a year or so from that point and our babies are not babies anymore. They are walking, talking toddlers and the sweet newborn smell, the twitching of tiny arms learning muscle control and the first heart-melting gummy smiles are a memory. It is at this point that I finally am able to see that I can use photography to tell my very own love story. I pick up a camera again with the goal of taking great photos of my kids, and this time I DO fall madly in love with it! I finally see that I can be the writer of my own story through photographs and I know when I am older I will cherish the visual chapters of our lives. 

 

And this is where the lesson of my story comes into focus. I still feel an immense amount of sadness over not having the iconic professional newborn photos of my babies in their infancy. I have a lot of snapshots taken with a phone. Moments and memories I will cherish forever, but nothing in those early newborn days that are of high enough quality to print large and hang beautifully on a wall to look on lovingly every time I pass it.

Becoming a parent taught me about the importance of beautiful, professional portraits of a quality that can be passed on to future generations. Becoming a parent showed me the link between a camera and a story and I absolutely love being able to tell others’ stories through light instead of words. These tales of children and love that I am blessed to capture contain even more magic than any I could read in a book, and ensuring that my client’s stories are enjoyed daily is the highest honor I could hope for.

This is how I love to tell my family’s story these days.

This is how I love to tell my family’s story these days.

I would love to help you tell your family’s story. Time goes by so quickly; make sure you contact me today to schedule your free consultation!