Leaving the security of a lucrative job with structured career prospects to become a fine art wedding photographer in London may seem like a crazy move, but for me it was the start of a new phase of professional fulfilment I couldn’t have dreamed of.
It was 2013. It feels like a lifetime ago, and yet I remember it vividly.
I was single, and not in a Sex and the City partying every night kind of way, unhappily so. Four of my closest girl friends were getting married and I was a bridesmaid four times in one year. Although I was thrilled for my girls, I was also desperately lonely.
All my time was spent working in my finance job in Mayfair, earning more money than I had thought possible, and living what seemed to be a very successful life. I was doing a fantastic job of proving to everyone that I could do ‘it’.
And yet, for all the success on the surface, I was seeing a therapist every week, unable to shake the unhappiness.
I started to realise that it had everything to do with my work. The job which had originally challenged and intrigued me had turned me into someone I didn’t recognise and wasn’t proud of. I could have given you the spiel of why my work was important but the words were hollow because I didn’t truly believe them.
Pretending to be someone I wasn’t every single day, while competing in that environment, hardened me and I found myself with only one real friend in the office. As a social person blessed with a lot of friends outside of work, I knew something wasn’t quite right.
Something had to give and I remember the seemingly throwaway comment that changed everything.
‘You seem really happy when you talk about your photography.’
It was the ultimate epiphany moment…
Something I had cultivated for myself for such a long time could actually become my job.
And just like that, I said goodbye to the finance industry and threw myself into the complete unknown of launching a wedding photography business.
I was naive and foolish and jumped in with two feet without looking, but I was fuelled by the hope and potential of my pursuit to do something which I felt proud of.
‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us.’
– A Tale of Two Cities, William Shakespeare
When you reach that breaking point in your life, sometimes you just have to take that leap for change to happen. Do I wish I’d known a bit more about self-employment, the fine art wedding industry, running your own business? Probably. But no matter how trapped you might feel in your current career, I can honestly say that breaking away and pursuing happiness isn’t something you’ll ever regret.
I know I don’t.
Julie Michaelsen is a creative fine art wedding photographer travelling the world photographing beautiful weddings! She believes in love and authenticity and likes to create beautiful imagery for kind hearted and exceptional brides and grooms. She mixes documentary style photography with editorial and fine art wedding photography ensuring that her clients have a set of images which accurately tells the story of their wedding day, highlighting all that makes them individual. Julie shoots weddings, engagement and family photoshoots in London and throughout the world. If you would like to book me please do contact me HERE and tell me about your big day!
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Photo Credit: www.kyleeyee.com