Being in the photography business can be a bit daunting when you are still "new."   When I relocated my business from California back to Virginia (where I was born and raised) it was like starting over completely.  I needed to build my client base from scratch and figure out how I was going to transition from west coast to east coast mentality.  That meant restructuring pricing, trying to meet new vendors/photography friends, etc.....  

I remember feeling an overwhelming roller coaster of emotions (Just ask my husband-haha!).......  
I thought it would help to reach out to some local photographers to get to know them and help learn the area better.  I was so disappointed by the response that I received from a few of them.  I was left speechless to be honest.  They were rude and didn't even give me the time of day!  I almost felt like giving up photography all together.  I thought to myself, "How in the world am I going to be able to succeed in such a competitive and unfriendly community of photographers?  How will I ever find someone to second shoot for me?"  I almost felt like giving up.......

That was until I was reading a particular Katelyn James BLOG POST back in May of 2013 and saw Amanda Hedgepeth on it.  A blonde from Virginia who was happy and spunky who had a daughter just like me....jackpot!  Well, I took a chance and emailed Amanda.  And guess what?  She actually WROTE BACK and was NICE!  My jaw hit the floor.  She was the breath of fresh air that I needed.  I started following her work on social media.  Her workshops came and went and I wasn't able to attend because we were in a rough spot financially.  It always made me so sad, but my family had to come first and photography second.   

Fast forward to 2014--When it came time for my birthday everyone was asking what I wanted.  You know what I said?   A MENTOR SESSION with Amanda!  And thanks to my loving family and friends, I finally got to sign up for a mentor session with her in November.  
It was a warm, humid and WINDY (I mean real windy....haha!) day in the OBX.  
My thoughts while driving were:  Is it going to rain during my head shots?  What if this is a waste of money?  What if she isn't all that I'm hoping that she'll be?  What if....what if....what if!  

And then I pulled up to Amanda's home.  I was greeted by her smiling face and contagious positivity.  Besides being gorgeous, she has a heart of gold.  She is like a little fun-sized candy bar...haha! (That's meant to be a compliment...she's petite and sweet!) She was just what I thought she'd be!!!  I think what I loved most about her is that she's REAL.  What you see is what you get.  She showed me what her life was like and welcomed me into her home to meet her adorable daughters and sweet mother-in-law.   

I spent the next few hours getting new headshots and taking about business and life with her.  She made me feel beautiful even in this post-baby body!  She made me laugh and  most importantly she gave me confidence to continue dreaming and growing my business.  She truly is an angel.  

The only two regrets I have are:
1.  I wish I would have done it sooner.
2.  I wish we would have gotten a picture together!

Do I have a long way to go?  You bet I do.  The day I stop wanting to grow and get better will be the day I quit.  And I'm not a quitter..... 

Thank you Amanda for such a wonderful experience.  You are just what the photography industry needs.  You're going places girl!    I hope we can cross paths again soon :)  

-Emily 

Here are a few of my headshots from the day.  :)


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