Literally I am STILL shaking from reading this email– from three years ago. Not because it effects me now, but because I remember how it effected me back then. At first, it did exactly what the mysterious author intended. It stung, it hurt, and it REALLY discouraged me.

But I took this BRICK (the email) that was thrown at me and built a very solid foundation for what would become the business that supports my family today.

The reason that this author was so in the wrong was because I had disclaimers everywhere that this was my hobby and I was new and I was trying to build a business. I admitted that! But I wanted to practice practice practice so I was asking for people to let me use them for portfolio, and TONS of my friends did thankfully! EVERYONE STARTS SOMEWHERE. You are not above someone just because you are further along in your journey than they are. You never know…they could catch up and RUN past you in the blink of an eye.

I want to make sure I am also making something clear. I’m NOT SAYING that everyone can do this. It’s not easy and it is an art form and takes talent, so you may not find yourself making a full time living off of this…but don’t you deserve to try? To find out? Like many other jobs you have and will go through in life, you give things a try to find out where you belong. It could take you 10 years to build a business. For some, it may just not ever happen or pick up. You may find that being a business owner is too hard on your family and on yourself and it’s easier to work a job where when you leave work— you leave work…it’s not constantly on your phone, home computer and causing you to miss quality time with your kids. But maybe you just love photography for photography’s sake and you want to do it for fun. Well, DO IT!

Don’t let it get to you, take that brick and lay your foundation.

And yes, my makeup has worn off and I’m exhausted beyond exhausted after a HUGE weekend so I’m very sorry for how wild I look. I’m just keepin’ it real, lol! I have a progression picture posted below, too 🙂 You know, for Heather 😉

My work’s changed a little in three years 🙂


Whoops! I used to be bad. Here ya go! But I love that couple on the left that gave me a chance, and they knew I was new. And they were so happy, and in love, and still are today. I guess I did the best I could and for that, I gotta be proud 🙂

Posted by:amandahedgepeth

<p>Hey there! We’re a husband and wife team who has the honor to document inspiring wedding days for the most cheerful couples around. We have three daughters lovingly referred to as the mermaid mafia and we love nothing more than salty beach days, laughing as much as possible and living the simple, good life.</p>

13 replies on “First Email | Personal

  1. This seriously made me cry because I’ve had a “Heather” email. Obviously not from Heather, but I’ve had one of those emails come to me in the past and I actually stopped doing photography for a couple of years after. I still have that email and at first, I wasn’t sure WHY I kept it… I thought maybe I just like the torture from reading it, that stinging reminder that someone thought I was “horrid” at photography. And honestly, I still kind of question why I have it. It doesn’t affect me as bad as it used to and I guess that’s because I stopped reading it. My best friend at the time, Tiffany and I did a shoot at Maymont part and it was all for the sole purpose of building a portfolio. It was with my very first camera (don’t laugh) a Kodak EasyShare. Yes, a bad camera to start with but it was something! We took the pictures and I was so excited to get home and post them up. I did the same as you, explained that I’m new to photography like this and that my goal was to build a portfolio, save up for a better camera and those goals were quickly smashed. I had expected to get some sort of negative feedback because that’s life. I just never expected it to be like THIS. But, here it is, copy and pasted from the file I saved it to 3 years ago from the site that I was on, DeviantART… except for the curse words I’ve * out.

    “wow ok im looking through your pics and at first i was kind of like ok shes kinda good but then i came across that sh**ty pic you posted of the blonde. like you seriously think someones going to pay you for that kind of work? its horrid. if someone were to come to me as a ‘photographer’ as you claim to be and then deliver that sh*t to me as a picture i would laugh and destroy this ‘business’ they think theyre building. youre bad. youll always be bad so give up and accept you need to be flipping burgers somewhere. not behind a camera.”

    It just breaks my heart to think of how many “Heathers” out there have pushed people to give up on their dreams. Thankfully, I have a husband and family who always give me such positive vibes and always push to get the greatest out of me. Without their support… I would still be reading this email and wishing things were different. And I think it’s absolutely beautiful of you to share your email, Amanda. People need this. They need to know that it isn’t just happening to them. Until now, I’ve never shared my email with anyone other than my husband. I was embarrassed of it. You’re amazing.

  2. You are doing great! ‘Heather’ was probably some greasy, fat bald guy who doesn’t know what a camera is… And I love that like is there with you while recording this. And I love Miss Thang taking off her sock! That multi-tasking minx! <3 <3 <3

  3. AMAZING video. I am very new into this industry. I actually did a bit of photography sometime ago and had the person I was learning under really got down on me and told me the pictures I had taken were no good and they couldn’t use them. I remember coming home to my husband that night and telling him what had happened that I was learning and I felt that I had a big barrier put up in front of me. He told me to pick my chin up and go outside and take a few more pictures of my kids just playing. I did that, and of course the pictures were adorable to me, because they are pictures of my children, my flesh and blood and no matter what they are always cute to me. So after that day/night I put the camera up. We would take it back out for family vacations and of course I was the one always behind the camera trying to catch some fun shots of my husband and daughter bodyboarding, but when we came home from our weekend or vacation I would put the camera back up and never really look at my photos. I would send them off to some photo lab and when the pictures came back I would throw them in an album and that was it. Well then I sold my camera, again I was still trying to heal from the sting of being told my pictures were terrible. When I sold my camera I was lost!!!!!! Even though I hadn’t been using it it was still mine and I knew where it was. So I began talking to my husband again and told him I still wanted to learn and grow as a “picture taker”, I can’t claim the title of a photographer, and he said he will get me what I wanted so that I could start shooting pictures again. So we went out and bought me a new camera and I promise you I haven’t but the thing down in over 3 months now. This is something I enjoy!!!!! I have a passion for it. Right now it doesn’t pay my bills and maybe in 10 years my brand/company will be where I want it to be, but right now this is fun to me and I love it!!! Thank you for all of your advise and opening yourself up to others. This to me you can’t put a price tag on and I personally and thankful to you. I have never meet you face to face, but because of your blog and your facebook page, I feel I know you (odd I know) haa!!! So this person who sent you and email like you said, I would love to hear how they are doing now and what they think of you now. You are able to be at home with your daughter, take her to things and open her eyes to life outside of windows and walls. So congrats to you Amanda and again thank you!!!!!

  4. LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!!! you are so genuine!!! i love how your husband was right there with you and cammy!!! you have such a great support system! “heather” is just super jealous and if she sees you now, she will STILL be jealous!!! you are HAPPY which is obviously something they lack. keep doing your thang! you’re such an inspiration! thanks for encouraging “beginning” photographers like myself. i guess i’m kinda still beginning, but kinda just HERE haha. i can’t wait to finally feel like i’m THERE haha. so happy for you and your beautiful family and your booming business!!! you are doing great things and being such an inspiration to others!!! <3 <3 <3

  5. Thanks so much for sharing this again! What a great reminder that we are ALLOWED to learn, make mistakes, and grow publicly. We don’t have to have it all together before we put ourselves out there. Love this

  6. Amanda, It’s Rick Davis here, Brittany Davis’ father. I have no idea as to your training, your years of experience or the type of equipment you use. And I don’t care. All I care about is that when Brittany and Kris (and anyone else for that matter) looks at the engagement pictures that you did for them, they all smile. Can’t wait for you to capture their wedding day in the BVI’s and to start new smiles all around our family and friends. Nuff said!

  7. You rock. Your positivity beams like the sunshine, and all of your other clients agree! Your dreams are coming true before all of our eyes and we all can’t wait to see where your work is in another 3-4 years!

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