In 2016, I quit my career in corporate finance to work on an app I was developing for the rock climbing industry. I wasn’t happy in finance and I wanted to be a coder. I wanted to build things and be creative. I had dreams of building the next Strava but for rock climbing, and we were getting some attention in the industry. And as everyone knows, social media can play a big part in that. Having been a hobbyist photographer for the past 8 years, I started showing up to climbing events in Denver and taking photos for our social media. I showed up to the USA Climbing National Championships in Denver with my camera and it turns out, USA Climbing needed a photographer that day. That landed me a job photographing the Climbing Wall Association Expo and then shooting commercially for my own gym, Movement Climbing and Fitness.
A year after I had quit my job, I went to Thailand as a last hurrah. The app wasn’t making any significant money and we needed funding in order to get to the next level. My business partner had turned on me and I knew I had to figure out my own personal finances soon or I’d be going back to Corporate America. In Thailand, new friends I met would introduce me as a “famous photographer” because I had a big lens. And although I would get embarrassed, I liked being called a “photographer”. I would walk around the streets of Chiang Mai with my camera and people would just pose for me. I felt like I was on assignment for National Geographic. Other travelers would tell me I should be making money with this. It should be my job.
So when I got back to Denver, I had a series of paid commercial shoots for Movement and the following weekend I had a media pass in Vail at the GoProGames. I was in the media pit with other photographers and I was starting to feel a little more like one of them. Back in Denver, people liked my work and were responding to my story about leaving Corporate America. I was getting hired. I was loving it and I was doing it on my own terms and in my own way. I was being creative and building a name for myself. My business partner abandoned the app and I decided I was going to focus my efforts on photography full time. So here I am today, two years later. Shooting NBA players, fitness instructors, Samsung products, Tinder headshots, pregnant women, weddings, and everything in between. And I’m having a blast. Learning, growing, and somehow making it work. A nice little lesson about showing up, going with the flow, and trusting that somehow, you’ll end up exactly where you’re supposed to be.