Becoming a Photographer: From Hobby to Business

“Mama, when I grow up, I want to be a photographer and a mom, just like you.” 

This is a phrase I heard from my nine year old daughter a few months ago, and it brought an immediate smile to my face. Made my heart sing, in fact. Because the truth is, this is exactly what I hope for her. Not that she has to be a photographer, necessarily, but that she sees what I’m doing and can picture it for her own future too.

I am a homeschool mom of four kids, ages 6, 8, 9, and 11. I am also a photographer. Photography and homeschooling are two of my greatest passions, and they work so beautifully together. I get to teach my kids by day and then get out of the house in the evenings to pursue the creative side that I also love. My busy season for photography is during the summer months, which is the time that my kids have a break from school. It truly couldn’t work out any better than that. 

Along with the actual photographing side of having a photography business is the work that comes afterwards, and that is the post-processing, which is editing and getting back to clients, etc. But this, too, is something that I can do on my own time, and I will use my evenings after my kids are in bed to get that done. I am so beyond thankful for a side job that is so flexible to my busy homeschooling life, while also being such a gift to my creative heart.

The interesting thing is, I never realized that I was creative. Growing up, I kind of figured that if I couldn’t draw or play an instrument well, then I likely didn’t have an artistic bone in my body. It wasn’t until my first child was born that I decided to learn photography just so that I could document our life and his childhood in a better way. That was how I discovered that I actually am creative; I just needed to find the right medium. 

Now, eleven years later, I have a photography business that is just an extension of my heart. This is the thing about a creative hobby turned business. It’s an outpouring of what is already inside of you. Yes, I can use it to make some extra income for our family, which I appreciate so much. But I also need it for me. I get to have an outlet for personal expression and a bit of a mom break when I need it.


Photography work of Andrea Wolfe

Now that my kids are getting older, they are watching me more. They are asking questions about my business. They love watching me edit photos. They ask specific technical questions. I have taught my oldest two kids how to use my camera, and it’s amazing how quickly kids can catch on to using a professional camera once they have some basic tutorials. Something I have realized about not just my kids, but kids in general, is how they all have different gifts and different ways of expressing themselves. Creativity can be brought out in so many interesting ways, and homeschooling is just such an incredible way of being able to have the time to experiment with many different mediums. The fact that I can use my business to also inspire and teach my own children a skill is so neat to me. The learning is so organic because the lessons are not formal or forced or even planned. They just happen on a regular basis as they see me use my camera and want to know more and want to try it for themselves.

A Photo A Day

At home, I have completed multiple 365 Projects, which is essentially just taking photos every single day for a year and choosing one photo per day as the photo for that day. I used that to document our life in the days of babies and sleepless nights and spunky toddlers. This was the best practice for me in improving my photography skills and learning to see the world around me as worthy of documenting so I wouldn’t forget. It was a soul practice. One I desperately needed during some very very difficult days. My children see my camera as not something to pose for, but something that is used to document our beautiful ordinary wonderful life. It’s just an extension of my arm, but it has been used for so much good. 

As a business, I have found my preferred photography niche, which is documenting other families in their beautiful ordinary lives. Man, that is the good stuff. Helping other mamas see that what they do is so vital and valuable. It makes me tear up just thinking about it. I have also delved into the world of birth photography (unbelievably magical!) and wedding photography. And truly, what I aspire to capture, no matter the event, be it a birth or a wedding or a family eating waffles for breakfast, is documenting the value of what is happening before my lens. That is what I needed to see when I was taking photos of my own family, and so that is naturally what I look for, no matter who is in front of my camera.

This is why this is so important to me. Being able to do my most important heart work in teaching my own children while also constantly filling my tank back up with growing my photography business is something I want my children to see. They are my priority, and they also get to witness my own personal growth in going after my other dreams too. The two have worked so seamlessly together, and one is not sacrificed for the other. I get to say yes or no to clients based on my family’s needs during that season. Some seasons I have had to say mostly no. But I am in a current season of being able to say yes, and it is a joy that I do not take for granted. It adds so much to my life, and I am grateful for the chance to show my children what it looks like to pursue a creative side business while also finding the most joy and contentment in spending my days with them. 

Written by Andrea Wolfe

Hey! I’m Andrea Wolfe. I am a happily married wife of 18 years to my bearded farmer husband. I’m also a homeschooling mom to our four delightful and hilarious children, who we are raising on 19 acres in northern Alberta. I can always be found with a camera around my neck, and some may think it is a permanent fixture at this point.    


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"Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old, he will not depart from it" (Proverbs 22:6).