Becoming a Philadelphia Wedding photographer wasn’t something I grew up knowing I was destined to do. In fact, as a kid, I always wanted to be a teacher. I spent hours “playing school” in my best friends’ basement and just knew that was my path.
When it was time to go to college, I headed to Penn State (We are!) to pursue my dream (and this is also where I met Ben!). I studied Kindergarten and Elementary Education with an academic concentration in Social and Behavioral Sciences and absolutely loved it! Shortly after graduation, I headed straight into the teaching field and took my first placement in West Chester, Pennsylvania.
Ben and I both graduated from Penn State the same year and for a time, we had a long distance relationship. As time ticked on, we both began to realize that our relationship was becoming more serious and the long distance thing was really trying.
In December of 2007, Ben took me to Penn State for a quick weekend trip back to our alma mater. I had NO idea that during that little trip, he was going to propose!
As much as I loved my job in West Chester, I knew it was time for me to move on to begin my new life in the Lehigh Valley. The following June, I packed up my classroom and headed north.
Three months later, we were married!
The next few years, I spent checking things off of my “pre-baby bucket list.” During that time, I continued teaching and earned my Master’s degree in Educational Development and Strategies. I also ran the Marine Corps Marathon (this is one of my greatest accomplishments to date!).
Finally, the time was right: it was time to begin our family.
As someone who is a “planner,” I was not prepared by how becoming a mother would change the trajectory of my life. “The plan” was always for me to return to teaching. But, as I spent those early days at home with my new baby, I began to dread the idea of going back.
Leaving my teaching job was hard. There were lots of tears as I packed up my classroom. Teaching had been such a huge part of my identity that I had a lot of anxiety about whether or not I was making the right decision. It’s difficult to find teaching jobs in Pennsylvania and I was giving up a great job, leaving my co-workers/friends and a school that I loved.
But, when I had moments of doubt, I kept thinking about my little girl and knew I was making the right choice for our family.
As my babe grew, I wanted to capture every phase and hang on to every moment. I realized the only way I could stop time was through my camera. As someone who has a passion for teaching and being a lifelong learner, I dove into learning everything I could about photography. I took online classes, in-person workshops, joined Facebook groups, studied under professionals, and sought mentorships–anything I could do to learn and improve.
As my confidence in my skill and ability grew, I realized that photography was the key to living the life I wanted for our family. I wanted a career where I could be home and available for my children and husband; something that would allow me the flexibility of scheduling my own hours while being my own boss. I love that I have the ability to only accept the projects that truly speak to me: this is the key to remaining passionate.
As my business grow, I sometimes grapple with the “what’s next?” As a planner, I can feel pressured to always a clear vision for what is ahead. For now, I am just soaking up this season of running a thriving photography business, connecting with amazing couples, and passionately serving them on the best day of their lives!
Alyssa is an award-winning wedding photographer based in the Lehigh Valley, Pennsylvania. We serve clients in the Lehigh Valley and surrounding areas of Bucks County, Lancaster, Philadelphia, New Jersey, Maryland, Delaware & beyond. To inquire about your upcoming wedding, send me a note here!
[…] I’ve dusted off my old teaching manuals and have dived full force into my old life. […]
[…] different. Instead of photographing weddings, I find I’ve come full circle and am back to teaching these days. Homeschooling is equal parts stressful and rewarding. Believe it or not, I am […]