Why I left my nursing job to be a boudoir photographer

by Andrea

I think my mom is still stressing out about this decision. . .  all the time, effort, and money put into nursing school, only to walk away 5 years after graduating to become a photographer.

So let’s talk about this decision. I think to fully understand I need to first tell you why I became a nurse. Taking care of people is in my nature and has been as far back as I can remember. So getting into a helping profession seemed like the most appropriate path. What other profession is known for helping others more than nursing? So off to nursing school I went.

I had visions of what my career would look like. Moments of happy tears, helping patients and their family members, spending time educating, talking with and listening to the patient. However, what I found it to be was a bit different. I won’t go into the details, but while it wasn’t necessarily bad, it just wasn’t what I was expecting.

During my time nursing I began assisting a boudoir photographer (Asif) for a little part time job. It was the perfect part time job! I also had two babies during this time - my daughter, who is now 2, and my son, who is now 8 months (yeah, we joined the 2 under 2 club… it was wild!). After having my daughter I cut back on my hours as a nurse to be home with my baby more.

When I got pregnant with my son I was still working as an assistant at the studio and Asif and I began loosely talking about me learning to shoot. Eventually I was on board with this idea and I began training, while still working at my nursing job about 25 hours a week. I was stressed, pregnant, and had a 15 month old entering the terrible twos a bit early. . .  I contemplated giving up learning how to take pictures. I mean I was good at my nursing job, I knew what I was doing I felt confident, why start something new?

At this point Asif and I had a model session scheduled and although I didn’t tell him I was thinking about giving it up, I did tell him that learning a new skill is a huge task for me. If I can’t do something 100 percent right away, I get frustrated and give up and move on to something I am already proficient in. I went through the model session pretending those thoughts weren’t even there. 

I can’t tell you exactly why I didn’t give up, I don’t think I know myself. . . maybe I can spend some time thinking about it and we can talk about that in another blog. Looking back, there wasn’t a major moment that made me want to not give up. It was just a lot of small little moments that kept me going. Anyway, I eventually got to a point where I was ready (enough) to do a few sessions on my own!

I had never been so nervous!! Bring on the extra deodorant, and don’t mind my hair in a messy bun!! (hmm, wait. . . ok, so if you come have a session with me now, don’t think I’m all nervous when I walk in wearing leggings, with a messy bun searching for a fan to aim at me because I am sweating, it’s just me, lol! I will also probably trip over absolutely nothing at least once during our session haha) OOOK I get so side tracked… back to the story!

I walked away from those sessions I did on my own feeling AMAZING! I made connections with each of these women, they shared their stories with me, shared their fears, and strengths. They shared with me what others see in them, and what they see in themselves. They shared how important this session was to the journey they were on. Some didn’t even realize they were on a journey till they saw their pictures. I was helping these women in ways I didn’t even know possible. I was part of this amazing journey they were on!!

TIME OUT!!! Did I just find a career in which I get to help women and take the time to listen to them and talk with them, to cry those happy tears?!? I DID!! So after my son was born, I cut back my nursing hours even more and was doing as many boudoir sessions as I could.

However, I quickly got to a point in my nursing career where the stress of being a mom of two and working long hours was getting to me. I remember walking into a boudoir session during hair and makeup and without even thinking introduced myself and mentioned that I just left work. After saying it, I realized that the client probably was like, “Ummm, you just left work?? You just got here!”

That’s when I realized that being a boudoir photographer doesn’t feel like work and I don’t think of it as just a job. It’s so much more than that. Just as I am part of these women’s journey, they are part of mine. Now I have left my nursing career and am a full-time boudoir photographer. Will I ever go back to nursing? Maybe, but right now I know I am doing exactly what I am supposed to be doing.

Here are just a few of the amazing women whom I have had the privilege of working with, each one with her own unique story that I got to play a small part in:

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