My Journey to Becoming A Photographer

Hey there! I’m Caitlyn, a portrait photographer near San Francisco, California! I thought it was time for me to introduce myself, so here it goes!

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California to Ohio and Back Again (x a million)

I was born in California, but my family moved to Ohio when I was in sixth grade.  Most of my childhood was spent in the middle of nowhere with a lot of corn fields!  When I was 17, I made what was probably one of the biggest decisions of my life.  I packed up my bags, hopped on a plane to SFO and moved in with my grandparents to get my residency for college.

I planned on going to the University of California, Santa Cruz for marine biology and didn’t want to pay out of state tuition.  I dreamed of being a dolphin trainer, like Rae on Free Willy or the people at Sea World who get to wear those cool wetsuits!

Long story short, that didn’t happen! AT ALL. 

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Instead, I fell in love with photography.

The summer after I graduated high school, I went back to Ohio.  One day while I was there, my dad told me that he didn’t understand why I wanted to be a marine biologist.  He said he couldn’t imagine me touching slimy things and doing science paper work all day!

Of course, he was right!  

I was valedictorian of my high school and had gotten straight A’s since kindergarten. I could have suffered my way through college to get a marine biology degree, but that was not where my passion was! Don’t get me wrong, dolphins are still my favorite animal.  I still think it would have been cool to spend my days with such amazing creatures.  I’ll just have to visit them any chance I get and hopefully go swimming with them, if I ever find a place that doesn’t seem inhumane.

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All of My Plans Fell Apart

In the Fall, I attended the local community college to get my general education credits done.  That is where I met some pretty amazing people (like my husband) and fell in love with photography. I took a black and white film photography class and loved it so much that I would arrive three hours early so I could print my photographs.  There was something about sliding my paper into the developer bath and watching the image appear.  It was magical, and I was hooked! I took every photography class that college offered and then transferred to San Jose State University, where I graduated with a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts degree in Photography. 

While I was going to school, I also worked at JCP Portraits where I got to learn more of the business side of the photography industry.  They taught me how to efficiently take portraits of a variety of families and how to get people to buy them!  After I graduated, I was immediately offered the assistant manager position.  It was pretty awesome and I was thrilled!  

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Dream Big

I am currently still working as the assistant manager and it is great, but I have dreams that are way bigger than what that company can handle.  I want to own a home someday and build my own portrait studio in the backyard, where my clients can come and hang out with me.   I want to take them to beautiful location spots around California (or wherever I’m living at the time).  I want to be my client’s friend and not just someone they see for an hour as they check one more thing off their to do list. 

Right now, I am working on building up my portfolio as I search for awesome location spots to take family pictures around the bay area.  I am working toward my dreams because I am the only one who can make them a reality!

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Now that you know a little more about me, I would love to get to know you!  Leave a comment with a fun fact about yourself!  Or if you have a favorite place to go around the Bay Area, I would love to know about it!