The Triumphs and Trials of an Entrepreneur Turned Photographer
In the Spring of 2005 I was a Sr. Student Program Advisor for the University of New Mexico in charge of covering Valencia County for our program.
One afternoon, I was standing in the conference room at the Youth Development, Inc. (YDI) offices in Los Lunas, NM, when I was asked by a visiting community partner how much I was going to charge her to shoot the upcoming Fame and Shame Awards - a red carpet gala for youth like the Academy Awards but instead of handing out Oscar's, they gave out "Shame-ies", a shameful award of sorts given to youth actor-imitators who cast tobacco use in a positive light. The Shame-ie was truly a yucky sight to behold: a popcorn box adorned with cigarette butts flowing like golden kernels from the top!
For a second I was sort of frozen without a word to say......nobody had ever offered to pay me to use my camera to do work for them. Before the pause got awkward, I coolly replied that I would have to check my Microsoft Excel spreadsheet to see how much I charged for 4.5 hours of event photography, even though one didn't exist. And just like that, I landed my first paid assignment! Eleven years later and with a couple of hundred of events under my belt, I have never forgotten how special and serendipitous it was to enter the world of "professional" photography quite that way.