Catherine Mungin | Chef Branding Session
The last couple of months over here at Denise Benson Photography have been an absolute whirlwind! I’ve met and worked with so many wonderful people and so many exciting brands so make sure to stay tuned in the coming weeks for all of the goodness I’m going to share. And trust me, it’s going to be a lot! One of those brands is Catherine of Jazzi Cat Cafe. Catherine and I linked up via Instagram and have since had two wonderful branding sessions together. She’s a chef, currently based out of Alanta, GA and is in the process of revamping her business, which is why she needed updated and fresh branding photos.
Our first session together took place in uptown Charlotte, North Carolina. Although spring was making it’s way into the Carolinas, that morning was a super cold one with a good amount of wind! The weather in the south can be seriously unpredictable at times. But we powered through, came out with some great images that Catherine can use for her upcoming website, social media and more, and had a lot of laughs along the way.
Not too long after our first session concluded and Catherine received her images, she reached out to me for a second session that was a bit more laidback and showed a softer side of herself and business. Her focus as a chef is on meals made with only the best ingredients and after breaking down some of her recipes I wished I lived closer to Atlanta, GA so that I could partake in some of her goodness! I’m definitely a lover of food and any time I have the opportunity to try something new I’m always up for it. Once her rebrand is up and running I encourage you to check her out and enjoy some of her treats for me!
The Bethea Family | Lifestyle Family Session
It was such a pleasure for me to have the opportunity to work with the Bethea family again for their newborn in-home lifestyle session. We’d worked together twice before during my annual Fall Mini Sessions, so when we discussed possibly doing their next shoot in their home I was so excited! First, it was an opportunity to meet their newest addition and I adore in-home sessions, especially when there are newborns involved. Whenever a potential client inquires about newborn images I love to let them know how my lifestyle sessions work. It’s not the traditional newborn shoot where the baby is asleep, wrapped in delicate fabrics and perched atop a bean bag or equally adorable prop. My hat goes off to all newborn photographers that specialize in traditional photos like these because they are the real MVPs! But for anyone looking to do something a bit more out of the box I’m excited to share with them the beauty of what a lifestyle session has to offer. You’re in the comfort of your own home, where you’re familiar and relaxed and it can take place at any time of the year without having to disturb your little one by bringing them out in the humid heat or blistering cold. So when I told mom, Kanika, about an in-home session I was so glad that she was on board!
It was so much fun catching up with Kanika and her husband Izell as well as seeing how much bigger little Tristan had gotten. He was the doting big brother to the newest member of the Bethea family, Kendrick. He was the picture perfect sleeping baby and I had a great time capturing their true family as it is. I’m excited to watch them grow over the years and am so thankful that they chose me to capture this important moment in their lives.
Why I’m Never Going Full-Time With Photography
Never say never. That’s the saying, right? And of course over my life span I could change my mind, but for the space that I’m currently in full-time photography is NOT the goal. In a day and age where everyone wants to be their own boss, to take the leap and leave corporate America this is not a popular opinion, but I want to tell you a little about why I feel this way and why it’s ok for you to keep working full-time and to do what you love on the side.
At least once every couple of months I get asked the question if I plan to do photography full-time and ever since I got started in this field my answer has always been ‘no’. It’s not that I don’t love photography, I obviously do if I spend so much of my ‘free’ time working on it. And I think it’s because I love it so much that I don’t have the desire to go full-time. When I first dabbled in photography the end goal was never to make this a career. I’ve always been a creative at heart dabbling in fashion design and even considered becoming a makeup artist, before photography stole my heart. So getting into this field was a way for me to be creative and if I happened to make some extra coins on the side then that was the cherry on the sundae! My primary reason for not taking this full-time is because I don’t want to lose my passion for it. Oftentimes when your passion becomes your sole means of income you’re forced to take on work you otherwise wouldn’t in order to pay the bills. And that’s not something I ever want to happen. I like that I can pick and choose the jobs I want to take on. That I can use photography as my ‘fun’ money or to help pay down debt and still allow my primary job to pay my mortgage, insurance, etc.
If you’re wondering if moving your side hustle as your only gig is the right move for you, no one else can answer that for you. You have to know what makes sense for you, your bank account and your lifestyle. But don’t allow anyone else to make you feel less than or like you’re not a real entrepreneur unless you become full-time. What works for one person may not work for another and that’s perfectly fine. I commend anyone that goes after their dreams and leaves a job they hate to do what they love. And I definitely get jealous when I see my full-time photographer friends waking up at 9 am and then getting in an hour at the gym before starting their work day at 11 am while I’ve been up since 6 am. But as long as I enjoy going to my day job on a regular basis (because we ALL have days where we’d rather sleep in) and the stress of working two jobs doesn’t overrun me then I’ll keep on side hustling and I’ll be happy doing it.
My situation is unique because I’m also an entrepreneur in my full-time job. I own an insurance agency alongside my dad Monday through Friday with a typical 9 to 5 schedule. While I may not answer to a boss, I am limited in what I can do with my side hustle during my regular work hours. But this is the job that allows me to keep a roof over my head, heat going in the winter/AC in the summer and that keeps food in my refrigerator. It’s the job that allows me to live a comfortable life and use photography as my creative outlet on the weekends. So if you’re working a job that helps you pay your bills and you don’t dread getting up each morning to go there then keep going. Allow your side hustle to be just that, on the side. Only you know what works for you and your situation and you’re still considered a hustler, dreamer, creative and entrepreneur by doing what works for you.
Teyauna W. Bridal Portrait Session
I love, love, LOVE shooting bridal portraits. Since my focus for weddings is on elopements and intimate ceremonies it isn’t something I don’t get to do a ton of, but whenever I do get the opportunity I’m elated. Seeing a gorgeous bride all done up in a stunning gown having fun and without all of the stress that surrounds the actual wedding day. The downside to shooting beautiful bridal portraits is that I have to sit on the images of weeks, and sometimes even months before I can share them with everyone. First world photography problems, I know.
Now that Teyauna is officially a Mrs. I’m excited to share my most recent bridal session that took place at the picturesque Rosewood on Country Club in Lancaster, SC. It’s a large home secluded and tucked away in a residential neighborhood about 5 minutes away from where I grew up. Teyauna was an absolutely STUNNING bride and her dress fit her like a glove as she came prepared and ready to serve in front of the camera. We made our way throughout the interior of the home and finally ended her session outside on the grounds with the majestic home as her backdrop. Sweeping columns and a porch your grandma would love made her beauty stand out even more. She was the epitome of a classic southern bride. I’m so excited for her journey into married life and I know her wedding day was full of wonderful memories she will treasure for many, many years to come. I’m so thankful that she allowed me to play a small part in capturing the details of this day for her. And if you’re interested in a bridal session before your big day arrives I would love to chat with you about it! Contact me today so we can begin planning your session.