In 2015, Jimmy and I began building the humble beginnings of “Rowe Photography” from the bar countertop in our apartment. Since we could remember, we’d been capturing landscape and macro photography, but my heart wanted to celebrate life through portraits. So, like the true nerd I am, I got my nose in the books and invested in courses. As I was just building some booking momentum, God led us to move back to Chattanooga.
As excited as I was to return to Chattanooga, this meant my client base would be zilch. Nada. This was so discouraging. For several months I chose to focus on my full-time job serving in a Level IV Neonatal ICU as a Social Worker, but my stress release and my dream remained the same—getting behind my camera! 🙂
During my year serving in the Neonatal ICU, God put it on my heart to pick Rowe Photography back up…full-time. “What, God?! Don’t you know that I’m swimming in student debt from getting my undergraduate and graduate degrees that AREN’T in photography?! Surely you know how saturated the market is already. No one will care about MY photography…” Ugh, if only you could’ve heard all the questions and what-ifs that raced through my mind at all hours of the night. I’m serious—all hours of the night!
So, like the control freak I am, I told God that I’d start doing photography again, but NOT full-time! I began talking about my passion with everyone I came into contact with. Surprisingly, the portrait bookings started flooding in! Jimmy and I also submitted some of our old landscape photography into a contest our health system was putting on. FOUR of them won and are on permanent display in one of our hospitals! These blessings got me giddy. After my shifts in the hospital, I’d rush home and work on photography until all hours of the night (you catching on yet that my mind never stops?)! Important side note: Jimmy was a patient saint during this season of our life!
Over the next several months, God’s calling to do portrait photography full-time became so deafening, that I couldn’t ignore it anymore. Not a single loved one or mentor seemed to support this calling. They were skeptical and discouraged me from pursuing an entrepreneurial path. I felt so “small” and inadequate after listening to their doubts. But, God kept calling me to something more, and He is my ultimate Counselor.
So, in April 2017, after lots of anxious prayer and careful planning, I took Rowe Photography full-time! Telling my boss that I was quitting to do wedding and portrait photography was one of the scariest decisions ever (not to mention, he literally chuckled at me! Boo.). I’m so glad I didn’t listen to anyone else, but God’s call, because it’s been the BEST DECISIONS EVER! Every part of my life has been healthier because of it, and I hope I’m blessing other’s lives through my work.
P.S. Because I can’t stay away from “traditional” social work or my colleagues in the NICU, I continue to work at the hospital as needed. 🙂 Who could stay away from taking care of our tiniest humans?