Americans snap more photos than ever these days. Camera-equipped phones rest in our pockets and cameras are embedded in everything from tablet computers to handheld video games. But do most of us really use those cameras as well as we could?
Photos are especially important to military families. While we’re missing our loved ones, we want to gaze at their faces. And while they’re gone, we want to document all the big and small moments they’re missing. Military Spouse magazine spoke with three talented military spouses who offer advice for aspiring photographers—including the ones who might just turn professional. Read on for expert advice that can fuel your hobby and maybe even launch your new business.
One, Two, Three… Cheese!
Former dental hygienist Melissa Englehart Calhoun couldn’t help but be inspired by the smiles she encountered each day at her job. “I love smiles,” she tells us. “Everything about them. The silly ones, the flirty ones, and even the toothless ones.” >>
When she and her family PCS’d to Naval Air Station Patuxent River last year, as a new mom Melissa decided to stay at home instead of returning to her career. In search of a hobby and wanting to capture daily life with her son, Levi (now 21 months), she tried photography.
Just a few months later, she opened “I Love Smiles Photography” in southern Maryland. So far her lifestyle photography (maternity, newborns, children, and families) business has been thriving, thanks to positive word-of-mouth from the military community. Melissa encourages other spouses to try photography as a career if they love it: “Do it!! Being a military spouse, you have a wonderful network of people. My business would not be where it is without military spouse support.”
Melissa’s Creative Photo Tips
Keep a camera handy at ALL times. When loved ones are away, they want to see daily life and not just the “let’s smile for the camera” moments.
For big days (especially homecomings!), get back-up. I’d recommend having a friend help or hiring someone to take the photos. It’s such an emotional day when mom or dad returns, you want to capture all of it—not just the posed "after" photos. And you, as the spouse, want to see them just as bad.
Melissa’s Photography Business Tips
Make sure you know your state/county tax laws. They can vary.
Organization is key. Keep track of every purchase and a good record of income.
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