Real Talk: My first year in Kingston as a Photographer

It has been a year of change, growth, challenges and new adventures. It has been just over one year since I stepped off an airplane and started a new chapter of my life in Kingston. If you ever asked me if I would up route my life and move half way across the country I would have said no. I was established business wise in Manitoba, I was SO scarred to leave everything I built behind. We lived in a small town and laughed with friends & family daily. Our boys were growing up in a community where everyone knew their names. Why would I want to leave?

Guess what, over a year ago we decided life was short. Lets take the risk, there is so much world out there for us all to explore. We can always come home – Alexander, Manitoba was not going anywhere!

I am not going to lie, the first little while was exciting and challenging. Business wise I just explored more possibilities and stepped out of my comfort zone. There was some projects I loved & some that were not right for me. After all, life is about growing, learning and hitting some hard obstacles along the way. These obstacles help us find our purpose, without them we would not grow. Over the past year I have grown, I have faced many challenges building my business & personal life in a new city.

Talking about this little photography business I run, it lights my soul on fire. Photography is my creative release – I need it to be me. I had no option but to just go out market myself and try my best to book jobs. The first 6 months was so hard, after coming from a city where I was completely booked all wedding season and didn’t have much time to take on any other projects, the struggle was real to move somewhere that I had nothing booked. I was always used to being so busy, all the time!

I kicked off my fall in Kingston, a time I would normally be trying to catch a break in Manitoba. Fall is one of the most insane seasons for photographers. In Kingston, I was so new! No one knew who I was! I used all my social media tools to get my name out there, posted ads on Facebook, did multiple giveaways to get a following. I really felt like I was starting over. It was scary and I felt defeated most of the time.

In my head, I was like I should just give up. We have all been there (I think!). I struggled for most of the fall/winter, just trying to find my place here! I was not used to feeling this way. I needed it. It kicked me in the ass really hard. I just kept trying and trying, advertising, giving away free sessions & discounts to get my work out there!

I eventually slowly started to book jobs, and you should have seen the excitement! Anytime I would get an email or Facebook message from a future client interested in my work – I would do a little happy dance! I had not felt this excited about photography in a long time. It reminded me why I started & why I should not give up. To the clients who booked me here in Ontario, I thank you so much – you were honestly my saving grace. You gave me hope & helped my passion feel alive again. I can’t thank you enough. You trusted me to photograph your weddings, engagements, family sessions & so much more.

Starting my business over was the hardest thing I have done, it took endless hours of dedication & the point of tears many times.

But I grew, I grew a lot. I became stronger & a better photographer because of it.

As I am sitting here at my desk, almost one year later. I am happy. I am happy where I am. I am not running around busy, I have balance.

2017 wedding season was slow, which was expected! I found I like balance more then I like busy. I like to take limited weddings, it was nice to have family weekends in the summer (something I have had very limited for the past 5 years!).

I like to take on creative photography projects and collaborate. I like to explore all types of photography, the types I didn’t have a chance too when I was too busy. Over my entire journey as a photographer, I appreciate everyone & everything I have ever had the opportunity to capture!

I honestly feel truly blessed that I can say I feel at home in Kingston. I feel like I have a place and purpose here. I have met so many amazing, encouraging, just outstanding people. I have had the best clients, captured love stories in Ontario & beyond. I succeeded in my goals & learned from my failures. I can’t wait to see what my next year brings, I have some pretty awesome clients and weddings lined up. I am looking forward to it all.

Was all of this worth the risk one year ago? Yes, yes it was.

Thank you. Ontario.

Kaley.

Photo credit: Sabine Chorley – Sterling Images