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– Posted by Contributor Gabriel (Season 4)

One year ago today – I had just left my job of 5 years because it was time for a change. I had no idea what I was going to be doing, or how it was going to work out, I just knew that it was time for a major life change. As I was perusing through craigslist ad’s for a job, I stumbled across an ad for a photography internship in Atlanta. I had been doing freelance photography for the prior couple years, but thought it would be amazing if I could somehow turn it into a full time income.

Three amazingly shortly months later, the internship was over, and I was back on my own, still not knowing what I was going to do, I wasn’t sure I could pull off the full time photographer thing, and really needed the income of a regular job. So I made a decision that at the time felt quite painful, a decision I thought was taking a step backward. I took a full time job in my “previous” line of work – computer programming.

I am not going to lie, I felt a little defeated by the fact that I wasn’t pursuing my photography full time, but family came first, and that paycheck had to take precedence over chasing my photography business. At least for the time being… But I was still determined not to let it fade away and become one of those things that I “used to do.” So I kept at it, booking everything I could on the side, shooting a lot on the weekends and whenever I could.

The last six months have been crazily hectic in every facet of life, from my full time job, to my wife’s schooling, to my kids, to family, to travel, to photography, but I am still here, and I am still taking pictures. And to be frank, I have come to learn something about myself that perhaps I didn’t understand earlier last year, definitely not in the internship. I shoot because I love it, not because I need the money from it. Take the money away, and I would still be doing the same thing in my free time.

 Sure, the LeahAndMark Internship equipped me with the tools, resources, ideas and direction to try and make this thing my full time income, but more than that, it taught me that I am better than I think I am, that I am capable of becoming the photographer I want to be, that I can do anything I put my mind to. It just takes a ridiculous amount of hard work. Seriously. But the only person stopping you from getting the job you want, from being who you want to be is you. So get up, chase what you’ve been thinking about chasing, stop doing the things you hate, start doing the things you love, and forget about everything else, it is the best decision you will ever make. I promise.

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