Have you ever watched your life completely transform before your eyes? You wake up one day with absolutely nothing – lower than rock bottom, struggling to keep a roof over your head and food in your belly. Fourteen years later, you wake up again and realize that you now have everything that was once just a prayer: a career that you’re passionate about, a healthy and happy family, and your personal best quality of life to date. Of course, life isn’t all rainbows and butterflies, but it can be pretty damn close when you’ve got the right mindset. This is a broad claim, I know. However, the past decade of my life, specifically my time as a professional photographer, has changed so much for me that I feel like I’m keeping a huge secret in not sharing my story. I want to let all of you in on the intimate details of how I started doing photography with absolutely nothing and built my way up, ultimately creating a booming business with faith, determination, and complete guidance from God.
About fourteen years ago now, before I had any inkling of my passion for photography, my husband and I had been living in a small, two bedroom house in Smyrna circa 2008. We had just gotten married when we were both unfortunately laid off, eventually having our heat and electricity turned off, all while helping to raise his, at the time, three-year-old son and dealing with a growing rat infestation. If there were ever a time that I would describe myself as being at my “breaking point,” this was it.
In the midst of job hunting, I was constantly searching for a way to acquire the bare necessities for basic survival. I would boil water on the stove in order for us to bathe ourselves. We lived off of Ramen noodle packets for months because it was the only thing we could afford in order to pay rent. I found myself continuously on my knees, praying to God to give me just enough to take care of the people that I loved. My begging prayer every day was for him to guide me to my purpose, because it was obvious that I was not following the life path that I was brought here to lead. I could feel in my gut that I was going to die at a young age due to all of the stress.
Finally, things slowly started getting better. I wouldn’t say that it was like the flip of a switch, but when I was eventually able to start dabbling in photography for the first time, I knew that it was the answer to my prayers. I loved everything about it: the skill, the artistry, the creation of real memories, and the ability to capture those real, raw moments in my photos. Starting with a borrowed digital camera and acquiring nicer equipment over time, the quality of my work, as well as my knowledge and skill, steadily increased. Not only has building this business been a very long journey full of love, laughter, friendships, breakdowns, and many, many happy tears, but it’s my life now. I spend every waking moment with photography on my mind and I wouldn’t have it any other way!
Liz by Design Photography spent it’s first three years in Smyrna, at that little house which was once, quite literally, all that I had. Today, I am celebrating my first ever Best of Georgia award, in my own, stand-alone studio, as a Powder Springs family photographer, with the knowledge that I’ve been able to give hundreds of families the gift of beautifully crafted, life-long memories.
The fact that my work is being hung proudly in others’ homes is enough to make me incredibly thankful for this lengthy, brutal journey. Needless to say, my husband and I are in a much better position in life and I can say with confidence that we have both grown substantially throughout the years since this very trying time. The gratitude that I feel for my current circumstances, as well as everything that was thrown my way that led me to this point, is immense. Going through this intense transformation has ultimately resulted in a refusal to fail and a yearning to make people happy through my life’s work.
I truly believe that, along with all of my clients, family, and friends, who, throughout the years, have continuously supported and encouraged me to continue working hard and pursuing my dreams, I would have never been able to accomplish all of my successes without my unwavering faith in God’s plan.
Liz by Design Photography is proof that miracles happen. I never stopped trusting God to lead me in the right direction. Actually, I still pray to God to help me with essentially every decision that I make for my family and business! This blind faith, along with a passion for service and a TON of hard work, is the driving force that keeps me going day in and day out. Although it definitely takes time, effort, and extreme discipline, I started this business with a simple dream and conviction that if it was meant to be, it would be.
Now, Liz by Design Photography has become much more than a 5-star reviewed newborn and family photography studio. It’s a community of people who care about capturing cherished memories while we still can. Liz by Design is a prime example of the graciousness of God, as well as a testament that you can achieve anything if you work hard enough and if that dream is a part of God’s divine intention for your life. I hope that sharing this very personal and difficult time in our lives will help convey just how thankful I am for all that this business has brought to me today. I genuinely appreciate all of your support and am constantly amazed at how fortunate I am!
If you’ve made it this far, thank you so much for listening to my story.
Remember, faith can move mountains.