Today we’d like to introduce you to Sarah Compton.
Hi Sarah, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I started doing photography when I was in high school. I loved learning from my high school instructor, Ms. Luter, who challenged my creativity. I started doing some senior portraits and small things for friends up until I graduated high school. I went to school at the University of Arkansas where my professional photography took a backseat and my iPhone photography was the front runner. No matter where I traveled or who I was with, I was still wanting to take pictures of it all. After graduation, I decided to move to Los Angeles, I had never been, but decided this is where I wanted to start my “adulthood” (at the age of 22, LOL).
When I first moved to LA, I worked as a waitress for a year while acting (no, you won’t see me anywhere, I was livin’ that Extra Acting life). After a year, a Personal Assisting job fell in my lap, which I dove right into and stayed for three years. Itching to be closer to home and my boyfriend back in Dallas, I made the treck back to Dallas in the late summer of 2018.
Had been a “professional” personal assistant, I decided to stay in what I know and apply for these types of jobs in Dallas. I was lucky enough to be hired shortly after moving. While I have nothing negative to say about this experience, it left me unfulfilled. I knew about two months in that this was not for me. I wasn’t sure what was for me but I knew that wasn’t it.
Fast forward about a year later, my brother told me he was proposing to the woman of his dreams in Yellowstone National Park. I thought, “Oh my gosh, if I don’t capture this, who will?!”. Which led me upgrading my 14 years old camera for the trip. During my time in Yellowstone, I was reminded how much I loved photography. I loved that I got to photography the proposal, which led to engagement pictures. I started photographing friends and family and realized – – – wait – – – is this what I should be doing?! After a year and eight months as a PA, I put in my two weeks to start working for a blogger and pursue photography.
The road to entrepreneurship is not the easy way out, in fact. I would argue the opposite. Taking the leap was the best thing that has happened thus far in my career. It challenges me everyday yet I’m still so excited to photograph people.
Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
I think the hardest part of owning your own business is not feeling like you have days off, and if you do, you sort of feel guilty for them. I’m a one-woman show, if I don’t answer the e-mails, no one will. So those sick days come at a cost (not implying they don’t in other job situations).
Another more obvious struggle is the finances. Business insurance, camera equipment (oh, don’t get me started here), website dues, lawyers/contracts, education costs,… the list goes on.
I am super thankful despite the struggles, of course. Compared to some other entrepreneurs, I’ve had the smoothest road you’ve ever seen! Things really fell into place with me which gave me the peace to pursue this avenue.
Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
In my photography, I specialize in people. You may laugh and say, “well duh” but I truly feel like I specialize in making people feel comfortable and confident no matter the type of session.
Now, what I love to do, and what sets my heart on fire? Couples and weddings. I knew after my first paid couples session and first paid wedding that it was where I am supposed to be for now.
Something I want to be careful of since my photography first started as a hobby back in high school is putting myself in a box; it takes all the fun and creativity out of it. Will I always be a wedding photographer, no. Will I ever take on more family bookings, probably yes. I know what I specialize in right now which is why I focus on couples and weddings. I also have room and energy for this in my life right now so I’m soaking it all in.
I think what sets me apart is how much fun people have at my sessions. If I can make someone laugh, my day is made. I want people to have the best time. I want them to show up expecting the worse and leave saying “holy &%#! that was the best time ever!”. This happens all the time and it makes me giddy.
How do you think about luck?
Hmm… I sat on this question for a bit.
I don’t know if I call it luck or not, although sometimes I feel so blessed I think it must be luck? Or maybe I’m so lucky I think I’m blessed?
I’ve worked since I was 16 and consider myself very driven. I got the first job I applied for when I was 16, the same when I was 22 and then again at 23. Was I really qualified for any of these, no, not really. But I showed up prepared, I was myself, I had the best dang resume, and I let them know I would work hard. And I did just that.
I try to think and pray over these big decisions, and if I feel at peace, I take the leap (both personally and professionally). Life is not about playing it safe. You can’t be stupid but you can’t play it safe either. I think it took smart risks and because they were thought out, they turned out okay.
And in case you’re wondering, I’m knocking on my wooden desk because I don’t need this to bite me in the butt.
- Weddings start at $2100
- Engagements start at $400