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Get to know the Photographer

Welcome to my Wix webpage for my Photography side hustle. I hope you’ll look around and take the time to read a little about me and why I’m here and then help me grow by sending referrals and/or signing up as a new client yourself. Please at any time don't hesitate to ask questions or make inquiries. Thanks for being here.

A little about myself and why I’m doing photography.

I’m 30 (almost 31, eek!) and from a small rural town about 50 minutes outside of beautiful St. Louis, MO. In May of 2015 I graduated from Saint Louis University with a mountain of student loans to pursue a career in forensics. I owed about $140,000 in student loan debt (there are better options to getting a degree at a top school...I know that now). After three years of paying on that debt and an outrageous interest rate I decided I needed to make a change. I was ineligible for mortgage loans due to my debt to income ratio because of the student loans. Student loans had killed my credit score and I was unable to save because of my high monthly payments. On top of that the debt didn’t seem to be coming down...but why would it with a 12% interest rate (scary, I know). Thats when I found Dave [Ramsey] and the baby steps. I worked on lowering my credit card debt and was finally able to consolidate my student loans. It cut my monthly payment almost in half and my interest rate to 6%. Huge lifesaver and 2 years later I’ve finally been able to purchase my first home. But the student loan debt is still there looming over desires for a beautiful wedding and kids and traveling and no savings for even life’s everyday accidents and happenings. If you follow Dave Ramsey you are familiar with the Baby Steps. I am currently on Baby Step 2: Paying off debt. Normally this would be the snowball method but my only debt is student loan debt so everything extra I make goes to that. My goal is to double my payment each month but I can’t do that without a second job/side hustle which led me here.

I have always had a love for capturing photos. My friends and family have even become irritated a time or two over the years because I’m always wanting to capture picture perfect photos...with my smartphone.

A couple years ago I purchased a Canon Rebel T7 and began self teaching in manual mode and editing in Lightroom and photoshop and watching YouTube videos to become better. My first real photoshoot were Senior pictures for my nephew. I’m not a professional photographer who’s done this her whole life and I learn new tips and tricks everyday but I was pleasantly happy with how the photos and edits turned out.

I created and added a watermark and wa-la! I felt I had something. Or the start of something.

Fast forward a year later, COVID had become a thing. Pre-Covid I was working any and all second jobs I could to help make extra cash. I cut up produce for a local produce stand...all over hours but not great pay to really get ahead. I began work at Kohl’s as seasonal help. I loved the job but the hours were tough and even after negotiating pay with my past experience I was still only making $10/hr. That didn’t add up to much either.

One day I thought, what can I do for my side hustle that’s consistent, allows me to make my own hours, bring in the additional money I need to payoff my student loans in 3-4yrs (or sooner) instead of 10yrs, and still allow me to have some kind of customer service/people interaction...while still giving focus to my day job (not to brag so I won’t but I’m a forensic the career...not so much the pay while paying down loans). I’m a people person though, I genuinely love and love working with people.

September 2020 I took a budget friendly trip with a group of friends out to Colorado and asked if I could shoot some couples pictures for them while we were there. They loved them. I was happy with how they turned out.

Whats not to love though about a firefighter and Angelina Jolie’s look-alike together..and they are crazy about each other? Of course they made my job easy.

Thats when I began my Facebook (Wandering Hearts Creations) and Instagram (Wandering Hearts Photography) pages. And ultimately what has led me to starting this website. Since I follow the Baby Steps I needed budget friendly options for starting a side hustle business. I don't have the most expensive camera (I wish), I don’t shoot out of a studio, and I’m not teamed up with a crew or second shooter to help me out. My photos are available after editing through smugmug. I don’t even have a business tax ID. This is a hobby. It’s a side hustle. It’s a means to become debt free and ultimately FREE of the student loan chains I wear everyday In a way that works for me and my schedule and doing something I love and enjoy since it’s ultimately in my free time.

So that’s my background and why I’m here. My other interests include hiking (a lot) can check out my adventure ig at Hikerbabe2020. I also have an Etsy shop where I make and sell custom tees. I’m not the greatest at being crafty with ideas but I’m good at being crafty. I enjoy running and horseback riding and most of all traveling. Another reason I inspire to be debt free. Most of all though I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, my fur baby and my honey. Life is short, the days are short, and any day could be our last. Ultimately when that day comes for me I hope to have no regrets or worries as I know I spent my time well. And financial freedom is one way to do that but I can’t without your help. Without clients and referrals and reviews from the wonderful people who in fact actually make me a photographer.

Currently I have captured couples, engagements, anniversaries, Senior portraits, families, maternity, newborns, and friends. In 2021 I will also be offering Weddings at a reasonable and low price and soon begin offering Boudoir. My hope is to capture true, authentic lifestyle portraits whether it be one person, a couple, or a large family. I want to capture what makes you you. I want to capture the detailed shots that give you a feeling of warmth and love and happiness when you walk in your home and see the photos hung on the wall or when you open your wedding album and remember back to one of the most important days of your life. I hope to do that for you.

After reading my why and how and learning a bit more about me I hope you’ll take the time to check out my gallery and Facebook and Instagram pages and book with me soon. You won’t regret the prices or the fun we’ll have! Thanks for the love and support.

Always, with 💙

-Tina xox

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