Several years ago, husband gave me a metal paperweight. It sits on my desk above my computer and reads:

What would you attempt to do if you knew you could not fail?

It doesn’t take but a moment for me to answer that question. Photography! Ever since my childhood, when I stood in my father’s basement darkroom gently rocking a piece of paper back and forth in the developer until an image magically appeared, I knew—this was for me. My first camera was a Brownie (yes, I’m that old). I can remember advancing the film, waiting for the next number to appear in the red window. Years later, in high school, I used my big girl camera to take pictures of friends, old barns and the landscape of upstate New York where I grew up. I was even one of two layout editors for our school yearbook. I loved looking at photographs…and taking them.

However, here’s where the train gets derailed. I went off to college (Cornell University) with a plan to major in psychology and art. My hope was that I could become an art therapist, an idea spawned from watching how art was so instrumental in healing for both my father (after his stroke) and my sister (childhood cancer).

And while it’s true I enjoyed teaching and had a bit of artistic talent when it came to drawing and painting, doing this job didn’t really interest me that much. But it didn’t occur to me that photography was something I could make a career out of. I was smart, bookish. I did well in school. I was an honor student. Why squander all of that to be a photographer. After all, we know about struggling artists, right?

So instead what I did was spend the next thirty years struggling with a career (training and development) that I hated. Of course I still photographed whenever and whatever I could. While traveling, like the semester I spent studying in Amsterdam and exploring Europe, I went through rolls of film (remember those days!) capturing pictures of the places and people I saw. I did that at home too, taking pictures of my friends but also the little details in the world around me: waterfalls, old broken down barns, landscapes. Every moment my hands were on that camera and every moment I spent poring through the photos I took, was pure joy.

Flash forward a few decades. I got married and adopted a child. I decided to start a blog about our adoption journey because in addition to taking pictures, I really like to write. Pampers and Paklava was born. Between my blog and our adoption, I started shooting more and more. I decided to seek other like-minded moms and joined Mamas with Cameras, a Seattle-area meetup. I met some really fantastic mama photographers and an idea, long asleep in the remote corners of my mind, awakened. And percolated. Maybe I could start a photography business?

Slowly, bit by bit, my idea took shape. I got my business license. I started doing more photoshoots with families and kids. I read up about starting a business. I talked with other women I know who have a photography business. I attended a photography conference, Click Away, and learned more about how to identify who I am as a photographer, who my audience is, how build a brand, market myself. And then I put together this website.

The expression “It’s never too late,” applies to my life. I got married late. I became a mom really late. No doubt about it, I’m a late bloomer. So why not start a new career…albeit little bit late? It’s true, at the end of my life I won’t be able to look back on my long career as a photographer, but I will be able to say I gave it a shot. Finally! No matter how it turns out, I threw my hat in the ring and chased my dream.

And with that—Hello World—please welcome Beth Shepherd Photography. Let’s rock this!

Life is just a snapshot in time,