Going Full Time 2 Years!

Week 1, November 11th 2018

It’s a bit like getting off a treadmill.

Your feet become accustomed to the floor moving beneath them and when you step back onto unmoving ground, you feel disoriented. Like your body and your brain aren’t quite in-sync with one another.

This is like stepping off a treadmill that I’ve been walking on for nine years.

This is week one as a full time photographer.

I’m not sure if I’m nervous or excited. I’m sure it’s both. I’m not sure when the ground will feel normal; when my days will feel routine again and if I’ll ever get used to the uncertainty.


I forgot it was my two year anniversary of going full time. It’s been an eventful 24 hours so I’m not surprised that I forgot. So, hello 11:30 PM.

This series of “Going Full Time” presses on my mind here and there throughout each month. Every time I have a moment of insight or a business win (or loss) I think, “Should this be my next month post?”

When I have these moments, I’ll often write a 4-5 sentence note in my phone so I can refer back to it on the 4th of each month. Sometimes I’ll refer back to past month posts and see if they spark anything new that links in with where I am now. Some nights, like tonight, I refer back to both.

Not many people read my blog. The majority of hits I have here are from clients who need advice on what to wear, what to bring, how to pick a location. The rest usually come from a Pinterest Pin I created two years ago called “Fifteen ways to market your photography business.” But as far as readers, I’m not even sure I can throw a “Hi Mom” here. (Not that my mom wouldn’t read this, she actually probably doesn’t know I blog on a journal-y level.) All this is okay because tonight I realized something kind of surprising…

I think I’m blogging for myself.

Tonight when I started flipping back through past month posts, I couldn’t help but love the lessons of the past twelve months. The micro philosophies I had found along the road and picked up to carry with me and light my way. It’s a weird feeling to value one kind of success for so long and then value a different kind of success so suddenly. These pieces of thoughts and bits of writing and selected quotes spoke straight to me from five, six, seven, twelve months ago shouting, “You’re on the right path! Keep going!”

A few weeks ago, Kayden and I watched a Simpsons episode titled “She of Little Faith.” It’s the one where Lisa leaves her family church to become a Buddhist. Marge was especially sad since it was Christmas and she wanted Lisa to celebrate Christmas with them. Lisa went to seek advice from a fellow Buddhist (who happened to be Richard Gere) who told her that if celebrating Christmas with her family brought her inner peace and enriched her life, she should celebrate Christmas with her family.

I wonder if that’s exactly what we are meant to do. To pick up the pieces we come across that make us more generous or peaceful or kind. To pick up the pieces that will build us into better humans and leave the pieces behind that will not. Like little swords of Gryffindors, only taking in that which makes us stronger.

If I’m reading the last two years right, the key is to know yourself well enough to know which pieces will make you better and which ones will not. Looking around at my work, my life, my relationships, and my family, I think I’ve gotten pretty great over the last two years at identifying what will bring goodness into my life and what won’t. From two years ago, it’s much more than I could have ever asked for.

To the girl getting off a treadmill and feeling her feet out of sync, it is disorienting for months. Then you figure it out. The uncertainty doesn’t scare you anymore. You learn to trust in your own ability because something always reaches out to meet your outstretched hand right when you think it won’t. The fear fades away as you keep building your net, and you start to feel comfortable with not knowing. You will always fill the shoes you choose to step into.

Months 1-23:


Denise Karis is an Arizona photographer who enjoys musicals, Doctor Who and breakfast burritos. IG @denisekaris