The first time I remember that I wanted to be a photographer was in July of 2001. I was a junior in high school. I was in New York City and went to Grand Central Station and saw one of the most moving photography galleries. So many images that brought out a lot of different emotions. I knew I wanted to capture moments at that point. The path after that wasn’t so easy. I went to college for graphic design but ended up dropping out after suffering from horrible social anxiety and depression. I ended up getting a job as an assistant for a local photographer I idolized. I quickly learned he was a very toxic, mean person and after a year of enduring his negativity I finally left. Shortly after that, I got married and then pregnant with my first daughter. I was a stay-at-home mom struggling to find my new identity outside of being a young wife and mom. When my oldest daughter turned three, I couldn’t fight the urge anymore. I knew I had to pursue photography again. We were living paycheck to paycheck so I couldn’t afford a camera. Thankfully, my sister-in-law let me borrow hers so I could start my business. And that’s how One Window Photography began. Since I didn’t have any lighting equipment, I used my front bay window in my living room for inside, studio-type shots. Hence my business name. My friends and family hired me to take their pictures (sometimes they weren’t so great). I eventually bought a used camera from a photographer friend for $200 which seemed like a lot of money at the time. My friends and family continued tohelp me build my business. My marketing plan relied solely onword of mouth. I hustled really hard during the first few years. I ran an in-home daycare for seven years, working 55 hours a week. On weekends and evenings, I would do photoshoots and then edit during nap time during the day. Over time, I couldn’t handle both anymore and finally took the plunge and quit daycare. I didn’t have any money saved. Sink or swim quickly became my motto! I ended up staying afloat. A few years after making photography my full-time job, I ended up getting a divorce. I wasn’t sure if I could still run my business. I got a part-time job and kept pushing forward. Then, COVID-19 hit. I was living in my sister’s basement, jobless, going through a divorce and the world had literally shut down. I wasn’t sure how I was going to make it. So, I signed up to work as a DoorDashdriver. Yes, I delivered food as a 35-year-old woman to make ends meet. Slowly the world started opening back up and jobs started lining up again. I still work multiple jobs besides photography to make ends meet. My daughters are my biggest cheerleaders and often tell me how proud they are of me. I let them see me fail and I let them see me succeed. I want them to know they can always go after their dreams, but the path might not always be easy. I’m going into my twelfth year of running my photography business and I’m still learning so much as I go. All of the struggles and hard work have been 100% worth it. I may not have all of the fancy equipment like other photographers do, but I have a deep-rooted passion that continues to drive me.