How In the World Did I Get Here!?

I never wondered into my fathers attic and stumble across an old dusty SLR. When I was two years old I did not play with toy cameras and envision myself being a wedding photographer. I never dreamed of going to school and getting educated in photography and win countless awards. I have done no such things, yet here I am, finally calling myself a Professional Life Style Photographer.


The fact of the matter is, when I was 15 years old I knew exactly where I would be in 5 years. In college pursing my doctorate degree. I was so convinced and dedicated I panicked at any sign of a A-! Heaven forbid my 4.0 get tarnished and harm my chances of getting into med-school. I even worked on the student body, joined countless clubs, all in the name of getting "scholarships!"


I was never the brightest kid in school, but I always worked my hardest. I kept my 4.0 until that fateful day...French 101. It's  embarrassing even to admit the fact that French is what tarnished my 4.0. I mean come on. I have always struggled with the English language why did I think French would be any easier...


After trying heath career classes, volunteering at the hospital, and even going to school for my EMT, I found that the health field may not be for me after all. I am known to be a safe better. Always going for a stable job with a stable income. So how did I get to photography?


Well like I said in the beginning, it was never a life long dream. No my photography history started in my late teen years when I stumbled across another professional photographer's work. Something about it was different then others. I had seen photography before, but never like this. I wanted to create images like that, images that told stories and captivated their audiences.


Naturally I bought myself my first SLR camera, not knowing anything about ISO, Aperture, White Balance etc. In fact, I had never really taken photos prior to that. I must have read every book in the library. I would read a section about lighting then go out and practice it. It was an amazing hobby, and a very expensive one.  When I started to branch out and take little snap shots of my friends, people started saying I should charge. No way, who would pay me to take their picture, I thought. But they did, and my hobby quickly turned into a side business. Keep in mind this is all the same time that I am stressing about becoming a doctor or nurse.


I always had a long "script" I told people about how I had everything figured out with school and my future. It was so scripted that when I would start telling someone, my sisters would roll their eyes in annoyment. However I kept coming back to photography, my interest in it never faded. But the fact it's an unstable career choice frightened me. I was scared to try because I could fail, and then where would I be? Jobless with little to no education. It's a daunting truth to behold.


They Told Me I Didn't Have the Balls


I would go over and over the idea of me pursuing photography full time in my head. I was so indecisive in my decisions, one day I would say it was for me, but the next be totally against it. It was after a year in Florida when my photography really started to pick up that I realized this was the job for me. I would do it full time or try and fail. Either way I had to know. I made up my mind, I would pursue photography, and my home base would be Portland, OR.


So here we are 3000 miles later, and people are wondering if this is the stupidest decision of my life, or the best thing ever! I pray every day that the Lord bless my work, and that I stay faithful to Him in all that I put my hand to. Proverbs 6:6 "Go to the ant, you sluggard; consider her ways and be wise!" Here is to the value of hard work, determination, and creativity. I am all about hard work, we don't get anywhere without it.


Here is to my friends and family and their support this last year! If only you knew how much your support really means to me! Thank you for reading my poorly written blog posts, thank you for your constructive feed back, and thank you for answering my many questions! May Our Lord bless what you put your hand to. Raise your glasses to this new year, of new adventures, new commitments, new resolutions. Here's to putting off the old man, not fearing man but fearing God. Here is to new life in Him!


Cheers, and Here Here!


Peter Mahar - Destination Wedding Photographer - Portland OR