baltimore maryland based
wedding + portrait photography



My Life By the Bay

This One’s for the Baby Boss Ladies Business Owner Struggles and Growth by Chesapeake Charm Photography

March 25, 2016

Hi, I'm mandi.
Welcome to the Chesapeake Charm blog, a journal about recent sessions and maybe a little bit of behind the scenes, too!. 
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As most of you know, Chesapeake Charm Photography, LLC, has been in business for just over a year now.   But, I’ve been plastering my work all over facebook from the very beginning – it started in 2008 with an album on my personal page titled “A Look Through My Lens”  featuring my very amateur 35mm film and 5-megapixel point&shoot adventures from photography class in high school.

Also, please don’t judge me for the progression of photos & experimental editing you’re about to see!  😛

235mm film circa 2007

At that time in my life, photography was certainly my biggest hobby (outside of volleyball, track & field, and various extracurricular school activities), but I don’t ever truly think I saw it as a valid career choice.  My heart was set on becoming a veterinarian, and so my passion for photography took a backseat to college prep.

1And this must be when I learned about saturation…haha!

My first year of college at Stevenson, I was a biology major.  I remember on the very first day of class, my Bio 101 teacher said, “Look around the room.  On graduation day, 50% of you will not be here.”  And as I looked around, I thought to myself, ‘Wow, that DEFINITELY won’t be me.’  I was going to get my biology degree and then venture on to Vet School and eventually save the lives of animals.  That was my CALLING.


But for some reason, that quote stuck with me all semester.  I’m not sure if it was God trying to tell me that I was in the wrong place, or if it somehow affected my self esteem on a deeper level, but I found myself less and less interested in the work I was doing in my Bio classes.  I struggled to stay alert in class, I rushed through my homework just get it over with, and I could not stay focused on studying for more than 5 minutes.

After my freshman year, I knew Biology wasn’t for me.  It became more and more obvious to me that photography was where my heart and my true passion lie, and with that realization, I made the bold and difficult decision to switch my major to graphic design with a focus in photography.

4Back when I used to make my friends model for class assignments…oh and that old logo!

Over the next four years, I knew I wanted to be a photographer, but just figured I’d snag some job at a fashion magazine or publication being a staff photographer.  It wasn’t until around the time of my senior year that I figured out that not only were those jobs very hard to come by, but it wasn’t quite what I wanted to do…even if I wasn’t sure what that was yet.  Soon after I got my diploma, I realized that I really wanted to pursue lifestyle photography, and start a business of my own.

417526_10151059689963649_1950838947_nOne of my very first engagement sessions in 2012

There was only one problem.  It seemed like every photographer I reached out to for help turned me down (not everyone is a fan of community over competition around here!), which was incredibly discouraging.  I had no idea how to start a business, or even where to begin researching how.  I did receive some help from past professors, but I started to let my full time job and just LIFE in general get in the way of my ultimate dream.  My business dream sat in an awkward limbo for quite some time.

I often think, I wish someone would have pushed me harder.  Sure, I spent those 2-3 years after college building my portfolio and client base, but I could have been learning about the business side of things, too – which is half the battle of being a business owner!  I spent a lot of time feeling sorry for myself because my friends & peers couldn’t relate to me – everyone had a typical job and I felt like no one else was riding the entrepreneur struggle bus with me.

It’s sad to admit, but a couple years went by after college until I truly started investing in my business.  I attended workshops, conferences, and classes, and started reaching out to more and more of my idols and was finally starting to put in real effort towards this business.

Est. January 2015

I wish I would have been a little bit more diligent about my dream when I realized it was what I wanted to do.  But you know what?  Its never too late – or too early – to start.   So instead of feeling sorry for myself – I began to get our of my comfort zone and DO something about it.


And that’s why I want to tell you all about this amazing event, The Gathering, that Hope Taylor and Caroline Logan are putting together.  Hope and Caroline have teamed up to create an awesome workshop experience specifically for creatives aged 18-25 who have a desire and a passion to make their dreams a reality.  If you fall under this description, this event is for you!  These girls are such an inspiration and are seriously shaking things up in the industry at such a young age! I’ve learned so much from them, and they are so inspirational! See below!

The Gathering with Hope and Caroline

I want to encourage you, whether you’re in college, freshly graduated, or even well beyond that point, to keep reaching out, keep researching, and just. keep. trying.  If its your dream, your passion, and your vision, you CAN make it happen.  You are not alone.  You CAN be a successful boss lady, even if you’re a youngin’. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!

chesapeake charm photographyFellow Boss Ladies!

hope taylor photographyPhoto by Hope Taylor Photography

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