I quit my day job for photography

November 24, 2022

Personal

Hey friends, you read the headline right: I quit my job. 

I am officially a full time photographer and business owner! As I work on this little announcement, it’s hard not to reflect on the road that got me here. 

So, TL;DR: I love you, thank you for supporting me, here’s my photography story. 

Many of you know that since opening the doors to Shannon Alyse Photography in 2017, I’ve been living a double life as a full time marketing manager in tech and weekend wedding photographer.

When I was 15 I stole my brother’s Canon Rebel camera and used to take pictures for myspace, school events and for some reason a lot of trees…In college, I used that same camera to take photos for my university’s newspaper but then I graduated, moved into the corporate world and packed that camera away. 

Filling my creative + social cup 

After college, I moved from the East Bay to the South Bay to live with my best friend. Moving to a new area was harder than I thought it would be. I was in that weird transitional phase of life where I was working full time and not seeing my old friends as much. 

While I had a built in community, like my roommates and boyfriend, I still craved meeting new people and other people who were in the same field as me. At the time, I lived with 3 girls who were all teachers. It was hard to come home and dish about corporate marketing when they were literally keeping 30 kids alive every day.

Part of the reason I needed to dish about my job was because I was feeling a little stuck. I was in a marketing role where I felt really limited on creativity and like my ideas weren’t coming to life.

So, I picked up the camera again. I took a lot of pictures of flowers at first – just exploring this familiar creative outlet and getting reacquainted with my camera. Then I started to ask some friends to pose for me and once I started to actually have people as subjects – everything changed and that need for community was filled

Turning a hobby into a business 

I started to photograph more people. Mostly asking friends to model for me so that I could reconnect with them and build my portfolio. But then, I had someone reach out to me to do their engagement photos. It was a friend of a friend who was going to get married in the fall and they said they’d pay me for it. I would have done it for free, bless their hearts for taking a risk on a girl with a camera. 

While that first photoshoot was probably a little chaotic, I remember walking away from it buzzing. Not only did I get to use my camera, but I also got to be around two people who were madly in love, it was infectious. They wanted photos that showed how much they loved each other – I thrived off the challenge of conveying that through images while also making them feel like the best versions of themselves.

After that photoshoot, on my drive home I called Joel and told him all about it. I said something along the lines of, “I wish I could do this all the time,” and he simply said, “You should!”

That’s when Shannon Alyse Photography was born. 

A Big Old Thank You

Five years ago when I picked up that camera again – I don’t think I even knew my dream was to be a creative business owner. I was positive that I would stay on the corporate track and enjoy photography on the side. 

But the more I poured into this side hustle, the more I realized that I wanted the freedom to be my own boss, the freedom to create and the freedom to serve clients in my own way. 

I couldn’t be more thankful for the community who helped me get here. The creatives that dedicated time to getting coffee with me, the business coaches who helped me set up my taxes and pricing, to my friends who literally posed for me time and time again, to the clients who chose to work with me and referred the friends to me  – from the bottom of my heart, thank you. I’m chasing my dreams because all of you continue to believe in me and love my work.

To my husband – here comes the cheese. From the beginning, you’ve been my number one supporter. On the days I was too nervous to call myself a photographer, it was the first thing you mentioned to friends. When I was too afraid to tell people how to work with me, you sent out my website and my business cards. When I was too insecure to share my pricing, you literally sent Venmo requests on my behalf. Being a business owner is hard. There’s so many moments where I second guessed myself and didn’t trust my instincts – through all the tears, you never doubted me, you blindly believed that I could do this. 

In the moments that I lost my courage – you are my brave. One lifetime will never be enough with you, thank you for being my rock. 

So, What’s Next?

All this to say – I am so excited for this next chapter of my business.

I’ve got more time dedicated to photograph the important moments in your life. So my calendar that I used to juggle between marketing meetings, events, family obligations, and photography? Well it’s now open for more sessions and weddings!

I am so ready to be 100% present with all of you. Gone are the days of stacking sessions to get everyone in on a weekend morning. I finally have the bandwidth to dedicate my full attention and creativity to the time we have together. 

Also, the services I offer? You bet those are about to expand. I am excited to dive into new ways to serve clients through prints, film and video to help document those important memories.

Oh! Finally, you’ll be hearing from me a little more. You can expect little love notes like this more often. Nothing spammy, I promise. 

Thanks for being on this ride with me. I love you all.

Now go book something, I just quit my job! 

Xoxo,

Shannon

Hey, I'm Shannon

I'm a lifetime photographer that documents your milestones - from weddings to motherhood & all the moments in-between.

I'm based in Pleasanton, California where I live with my husband, our pup and way too many house plants.