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How School Picture Day Made Me the Photographer I Am Today.

As I write this, it's September. That means that school photos are coming up soon. Have fun with that ;)

I used to be a school photographer, it's one of the ways I got my start in photography.

In a completely unexpected way, school photography changed the course of my life.

Here's how it happened.

I photographed and edited the yearbook in my second year of university. That led to photographing some weddings for fellow students.

During my 4 years of university I constantly watched the Job Bank online. And, in 4 years, I didn't come across one single interesting job.

I toyed with the idea of starting a photography business, but I didn't have much experience and didn't feel ready.

I knew what kind of job I didn't want. No more factory work; I had done a half decade of that already.

And definitely, positively, absolutely, no working with kids.

Why no kids? Because I was scared of them! I didn't know how to talk to them. I was a shy introvert. I didn't talk to anybody... and definitely not kids!

No sir, I would never work with kids.

I gave up the opportunity to become a teacher... because I couldn't work with kids.

So with no job prospects, starting a photography business was beginning to seem like a good idea. I would probably photograph weddings. But I didn't know where to start.

You have to understand, this is the pre-Facebook, pre-Pinterest era.

I didn't even know what photos were supposed to look like!

Ah, what do I do? Start a business I know nothing about? Or, keep looking for a job?

One day I log into the Job Bank, and I see a posting for a photographer!

A photographer!!!

What are the odds???

There were no odds! It blew my freakin' mind that someone actually wanted to hire a photographer!!!

The job description was vague, but I applied anyway.

I was so excited about this job that I rewrote my resume and included a cover letter. Ever word was there to sell myself - to get an interview.

Knowing I wasn't a real photographer, I bragged (humbly) about how I could learn anything! I would persevere through any challenge! I will never let you down!!!

I was so excited, but so scared when I sent off that resume.

Then I got a reply. A job interview! An interview!!!

Unfortunately, they also included a more in depth description of the job.

My heart sunk.

The only good job to come along in years, and I couldn't do it.

I had to work with kids. Just kids. All day. Every day.

School photos.

There was no way I could do it. Like, really no way.

Those of you who are good with kids don't understand.

When you're timid, shy, introverted, and scared of the unknown - forget about working with kids.

What if one of them talked to me, what would I say?

You can't even understand them!

Them: "Asdafsdf"

Me: "Mhmm."

Them: "Jsdafsdfsadf"

Me: Blink, blink.

Then this stupid thought came to mind.

You have nothing in life. No prospects. A useless university degree. No real photography knowledge. You'll never be anything. Ever. There is nothing out there for you. And you know there never will be.

So why not try?

You said you can learn anything. So learn.

All this inspirational talk coming from deep within meant nothing.

Only one thing convinced me to accept the interview.

I knew I would never get hired.

But at least I could say I tried.

I can say I tried!!!

I'm not a wuss, I tried!

It turned out to be the most awesome interview of my life! It was an hour long, there were three people interviewing me. I loved every minute of it. I walked away thinking, that was so fun!

It was a highly competitive position. I felt good about trying my best, and I was happy to not get the job.

Then I got an email.

I got the job.

And I almost threw up.

I think I did throw up a little bit.

I talked myself into a job that I could not possibly do.

Then the moment of relief came.

I didn't have to accept the job!!!

I just had to politely decline!

So I sat down, typed the email, and hit delete.

Because that voice came back.

Turn this down and you have nothing. Ever.

Stupid voice. I'd like to punch it.

I cheerfully accepted the position.

I'll never forget my first day on the job.

My heart raced and pounded while Oh, Canada played over the gym speaker.