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Reflection | A Look Back… and a Look Forward

looking back

I have always loved photography. From the moment I got my first 110mm plastic barbie camera at 8 years old I was hooked.

  • I bought the nicest point and shoot I could afford in 2000.
  • I bought my first SLR camera in 2002.
  • I took my first class and bought a 50mm 1.8 prime lens in 2003
  • I started working for scrapbook magazine companies in 2003 and manufacturer/design teams in 2004 and did that through to 2008.
  • I set up a website and opened a photography business in 2005, but closed up shop to go back to college in 2007.

The progression you might expect in those four years was noticeable, but not what you might hope for. Looking back the biggest excuse for slow learning was my lack of trying anything new. I found a niche and stuck in it. Also, the transition from film to digital meant I had to start learning photoshop, this brought on new developments and challenges.

From 2007-2011 I mostly brought out the camera for special occasions and trips. But by my senior year of college I was missing photography something fierce and starting doing some shoots for family and friends and opened up a new website in hopes of doing some part time work. I started shooting more often, practicing whenever I could, and reading as much as I could find online and going back through any books I owned. Thanks to youtube and some amazing tutorials from photographers I had really gotten a good handle on photoshop. I also could never resist a good camera tilt.


2011-2013 I was working as an engineer and only did photography part time, but managed to grow my business. It would never be enough to replace my full time income, but it was definitely a place where I was passionate. By late 2013 I moved to Texas and was working remote from home, I quit taking clients. I was up to my eyeballs in work, but I was now able to shoot during daylight hours and capture some ongoings in our day to day. Here I first toyed with the idea of applying for a pro program as both a validation tool and way to learn more and make more growth.

ColtonPRust.jpg, CampbellMRust.jpg, AubreyGRust.jpg, BrodyJRust.jpg. EveretteLRust.jpg

2014 I gave birth to my fifth baby. I bought the cutest hats and cocoons for a newborn shoot that didn’t happen because by the time he came home from the hospital he wasn’t a newborn. After losing that time I didn’t want to lose any more. I started shooting daily. And this was the major game changer for me. I shot everything. All day. In all situations. I started taking some workshops on macro and environmental portraiture and I applied to B&C’s pro program and was denied

2015 I continued the momentum and continued shooting. I applied for pro again and was accepted. I stopped working as an engineer and became a stay at home mom/hobbyist photographer. I put in an instructor application, had my workshop approved, and taught two runs later in the year. I continued shooting and started focusing on the photography community, mentoring services, and blogging. In the summer I put in an application for a stock company and was accepted in November.

2016 I was enjoying the ride. I taught a third run of the Introspection & Analysis workshop and mentored. I consistently uploaded to Stocksy. I began some film projects with the F100 camera I got from my husband for Christmas. I worked on new blog posts and reach. We started implementing some KonMarie in the house, trying to purge and make room and not drown int he chaos. I had a new baby. We sold our house and moved. We didn’t avoid the chaos.


2017 Total panic mode hit. Burn out. Overwhelmed. Nostalgia over the children and longing for a simpler life set in.

So… where am I going from here?

I am slowing the heck down. I will be turning my workshop into a self study course. I have already reduced the amount of mentoring I do, but I will set some new limits on that as well. I stepped down from all admin positions in various Facebook Groups. I unliked over 3000 FB pages that were clogging my feed.

I setup a goodwill box in the garage and though we purged really well in Texas I will be thinning things down again. I will be ruthless.

My goals are to document the day to day lives of our family, soak up every single moment of squishy baby time, work on a pre-school activities with the littles, enjoy quality time as much as you can enjoy quality time with teenage and pre-teen children while homeschooling, and just live life and be happy. Cultivate a good life.

And probably more so than any of that: Survive. We still have a lot of remodeling before this house can truly be functional for us. And remodeling with six children underfoot has killed people before, I’m certain of it.

One of the exercises in my workshop is to take a look back. Often times we are so hammered with forward momentum and projection we don’t take the time for that reflection. I made that time to take stock and truly enjoy where this craft has taken me. I hope you do the same.

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