How I quit my job, adopted a dog and became a wedding photographer

October 1, 2021

My First Time

My first camera was a point-and-shoot piece of crap. I got around 50 photos out of it before the batteries kicked the bucket…AA batteries, I might add. I’d take photos at concerts, snap shots of random inanimate objects (failed artistic notions) and plaster them all over my bedroom walls. Annie Leibovitz, watch out!

At 21, I invested in my first crop sensor DSLR and upped my game considerably. My subjects turned from fruit bowls to friends. Friends’ families. Friends’ family friends. I spent the first few years of my business photographing events and portraits while I finished my Psychology degree.

Six months later, I put a call out to shadow photographers at weddings on Gumtree (what on earth was I thinking?!). Luckily, I got one reply from a bride who welcomed me on board for her wedding. She’d already hired a professional but said I was free to come along and learn. Bingo!

I’LL BET YOU A BEER YOU CAN’T GUESS WHAT HAPPENED NEXT…

I organised a meeting with the couple a month from their wedding in order to get to know them and see how I could help. I was young, eager, and super excited. But I soon discovered that there was actually no professional photographer other than me for the day. Shut. The. Front. Door.

After restarting my shocked brain, I shot my first wedding solely with the support of my dear mum. I was underprepared and extremely dangerously inexperienced. But despite my rookie status, I walked away feeling overwhelmed with excitement and in love with the whole ritual of the day. The energy. The happiness. The love in the room. The dance floor…

I wanted more! This was what I was put on earth to do. I could apply communication skills that I’d picked up through my degree (not in a creepy Derren Brown way, honest!) and engage my creative side at the same time. It was perfect. And although I was (at the time) pretty hopeless under pressure with regard to settings, composition and, let’s be honest, overall skill…I knew I had found my true calling.

I took a leap of Faith and It Paid Off

After a few years of building my portfolio through freelance photography gigs, I tied a bow on my college years (with Honours, #athankyou) and jumped into a full-time Provisional Psychology position. Even with a full season of photography gigs booked in advance, I was worried about leaving a consistent income. 

It wasn’t until I flew the nest for the first time and adopted our first-born child Ollie (‘child’ = ‘dog’) that my mindset totally shifted. I’d spent nine months working on psychological assessments but I couldn’t stop thinking about my photography business. Branding, emails, growth, etc. So I took a leap of faith and quit my day job to become a full-time wedding photographer.

Wondering how to become a wedding photographer in Australia? Just do the opposite of what I did. In my first year of being a full-time wedding photographer, I came perilously close to going bankrupt. I spent more money than I made and had zero industry experience. I had to find a way to keep doing what I loved and provide for Ollie, so I spent my remaining dollars on a photography mentor and attended workshops to understand how to make my dream a reality. Spoiler: IT PAID OFF! Three years and another fury addition later, through my customised photography mentoring online, I want to do the same for you. 

BUT ONE THING WAS MISSING: I WAS LACKING A TRUSTING NETWORK OF SUPPORTERS

After a few long, lonesome years of struggle and self-growth, I found some genuine friends in the industry who were both supportive and favoured a ‘tell it like it is’ approach. They remain my absolute favourite humans in the world and helped me get out of my funk. I would not be who or where I am today without them.

Here’s the truth – I never want anyone to feel how I felt when I first started. It frickin’ SUCKED. Years of mistakes and frustrations, all easily avoidable if I had just found my community of peers at the beginning of my journey.

I had to figure things out on my own from the very start. I had no wedding photography course. Sure, they were out there, I just didn’t think to look for them straight away. Instead, I worked bloody hard, clawed my way up, and now I’m ready to share my knowledge with you.

IMPORTANT:

I will be honest and raw with you right from the start. I’m only human, after all. I still have days when I think ‘Am I good enough’? But through these feelings, knowing that the expertise I have to offer will have a positive impact on others makes it all worthwhile. 

Thanks for being here!

filed in:

Personal

I'm Ash Haase

A professional wedding photographer of nine years and photography educator based in Melbourne, Australia.

recent

This is the place for your blog post…. 

This is the place for your blog post…. 

This is the place for your blog post…. 

categories

weddings

elopements

personal

vendors

travel