It Happens Every Time…

Pink Poodles

I can tell a new semester is about to begin as I start to have my usual debate with myself where I question everything I am doing. Last year, when I registered for school just weeks before the semester started, I didn’t have too much time to worry about it, but over Christmas break and the summer break, I think about it all the time.

What am I doing with my life?

See, this is how the debate goes:

I want to get a degree so that if anything ever happens – if Mike should go through a layoff as we have seen before here in Houston, or he should get sick and I have to work, or whatever – I can make more than the crappy salary I used to make. We could not survive on the huge pay cut we would have to take if I was the sole provider. Ok, I guess we could survive, because I did it before, but it would not be easy. I want the security of a degree and the option of a decent income that goes with it. Another type of security that I want is one of the best medical alert systems, just in case one of us gets very sick while the other is out.

I want to be a professional photographer. The money isn’t super, but if I am honest – I have had a passion for it for 20+ years. I love to take photographs. I am happiest when I am taking pictures.

I want to get a degree. I want to finish college since I never did 17 years ago.

I want to take pictures for a living. That is a lot more fun than “working for the man.”

To make money taking photos, you almost have to take people photographs. At least that is what it seems like – that is where the good steady money is. I’ve never taken a lot of people pictures, other than being a “party pic!” person for part of a semester in college and being at a wedding or two where I have taken shots. Those shots came out so well, the brides framed them instead of the ones that the “pro” photographer took. Shooting a wedding was fun, although I can see it would be stressful and I know nothing about using a fancypants flash. Plus I would need more equipment. But I could do it. And I think it would be fun.

I could take baby, child, or family photos – but I would want to try my hand at it first, because really? Photographing a rose or a sign is a lot easier than a toddler. The things I shoot most often don’t move.

I love science. I really enjoy being back in school. While it terrifies me, I am looking forward to the challenge of Organic Chemistry this fall. Based on the book I bought yesterday, I think my psych class will be interesting. I want to finish my degree.

I want to focus on photography full time. I want to take baby photos. I want to share my photography passion. I wish I wasn’t taking Organic Chemistry, because it conflicts with Photo II and I can’t take that this semester. I really wish I could – at the Tomball campus – because it would be so great to learn more.

I really hate having this debate every semester. I am torn between my logical and my creative side. Sometimes it really sucks being a Libra. My scales are not balancing this week.

I am planning on seeing Katie and baby Henry next week. I’m going to talk with some of the moms of babies that I know to get together to photograph them. I’m going to see if some of the moms are willing to do pumpkin patch photos with me to help me build a portfolio. That will help give me a feel for what I want to do, and it might help me balance the scales. Or it may make everything tip back and forth even more.

Mike asked me today if I could do both – go to school and be a photographer. I’m afraid I would feel pulled in two different directions and it would be too much. I don’t know, we’ll see.

I am trying to simplify my life. I am trying to focus, and not put too many irons in the fire all at once. I am trying to follow my passion while being logical. I am trying to not do too much.

Anyone getting married in Houston in the near future? I would really like to shoot a wedding. You know, if it works with my class schedule. Can’t do it if I have a test on Monday.


By Christine

Christine is an Avenger of Sexiness. Her Superpower is helping Hot Mamas grow their Confidence by rediscovering their Beauty. She lives in the Heights in Houston, Texas, works as a boudoir photographer, and writes about running a Business of Awesome. In her spare time, she loves to knit, especially when she travels. She & her husband Mike have a food blog at Spoon & Knife.

12 replies on “It Happens Every Time…”

Another fellow Libra. I feel your pain. I went through this same thing when talks began about the shop. Should I take the big bucks and go back into the corporate world? Guess what I chose.

Maybe you could finish your degree so you have it as a backup. Just like the football players that actually get a degree just in case their pro career doesn’t work out. Try photography full time and if all else fails you have something to fall back on.

Don’t forget if you ever want to use H & R as subjects, we’re SO there.


I understand where you are coming from… and I’m with Mike, try to do both at first, do some work on the weekends to build up your portfolio, finish your degree then maybe jump head-in with the photography…

And i’d love to be your assistant if you need help, especially at weddings…

I’ve had the same mental debate the past several months, although I’m a Leo, not a Libra. I figure until life changes enough to allow me to pursue the ‘dream job that probably won’t pay the bills’, I’ll make due with the one that’ll do until whenever I can 🙂

you can come take photos at my wedding! but you’ll have to come to Virginia 🙂

I feel torn in the same way too. I’d love to make money with photography, but at the same time, I have a very secure job making a decent living with my computer science degree. I thought people were supposed to be right brained or left brained – it’s hard to be both!

As the mother of a toddler, I can’t imagine anything harder than trying to take pictures of a toddler. I took my little one to Picture People and the poor photographer was only able to get one shot before my (adorable) little terror took off around the studio. Once kids are mobile, they don’t stay still long enough for pictures. Oh, but I was supposed to be giving encouragement. I agree with cybertoad – finish up the degree and get it out of the way, then you can give 100% to your photography. Oh and if you’re ever in Virginia you can take all the pictures you want of my adorable toddler. 🙂

You know, it might be easier to shoot a flower than a toddler, but you happen to be a “people person”, after all. I’ve seen you chat-up all kinds of people. Whether or not photographing people is exactly what you want to do, I’m sure you’d be good at it!

I got whiplash just reading that post – sigh. I know how you feel – the road to law school is usually taken because you can’t make any money reading books for a living – you should read Norah Gaughan’s intro to Knitting Nature – here struggle between science and knitting, and how she found a balance.

Balance is always the key.

Good luck!


It was so hard for me to decide to go to law school. (Like Wendy said, I couldn’t find another way to get paid for reading.) There are still times when I question whether I made the right choice. But I am so much happier than I was as a tech writer.

I loved college, and it sounds like you are excited about your choices. I agree with everyone else. It allows you to keep your options open later. You might not have as much time in the future to finish your degree.

My kids are older than toddlers, but I would be *delighted* if you wanted to spend some time photographing them. I think that would be fabulous, actually. And I’ll be happy to make them traipse around in the pumpkin patch for you. 🙂

I think all your photos are amazing, be it people or objects. If I was even half as good as you are in photo-taking I would be wishing that I could do the same job! But I know I’m not, so I stay with my day job! But I know hands down I couldn’t take toddler photos. I think I would want to go into commercial photography (buildings, fruits in the bowls for ads) 🙂

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