I was not a popular teenager. I was not the smartest kid in school, I was not the most confident person in the world. I struggled throughout high school with my grades, not because I wasn’t competent, but because I didn’t care. I didn’t know what I wanted out of life, I had no idea what my path was to follow.
What I did know is that I wanted to help people. I finally set my path up to be a psychiatrist, why not? I was good at giving a lending hand, and talking. I helped some kids in high school see the light when they were stuck in a very deep depression. One of which tried to commit suicide, and then I stepped in. I became his friend, and we were inseparable buddies. Although I had a high school boyfriend, I also had a best friend that was a boy. Nobody seemed to mind. We were always together. I think that’s all he really needed, was someone to pay attention to him.
I never took any photography classes in high school, and I was convinced on the psychiatrist career path. I had taken a few classes, and loved it.
It wasn’t until senior year of high school that I was exposed to photography. I had a few girlfriends that I hung out with regularly at school and after school. My best friend and I were hanging out at her house one day and her oldest sister asked us to pose for some fashion shots for her college class assignment. We dressed up in the outfits she gave us, I resembled that of a pirate, and my best friend was an Egyptian goddess.
We went around the corner of the house and started just having fun and shooting some pictures. Once the shoot was over, we went back to the house and started going through the photographs one by one. We laughed… so hard that we almost peed our pants, we had NO idea how to model, and that was very clear!
But when my best friend’s older sister came by this one photo, a portrait non the less, of myself, my jaw dropped. I couldn’t believe that was me! I looked incredible, my eyes were sultry, I had my hair and make up done perfectly (for the time, heavy undereye liner was huge back then…) and I felt like a million bucks!
What did I do next? I went out the next day and bought my first camera.
I thought the horrible and dreadful common misconception of “Wow! her camera is so amazing, and takes great pictures!” *cringe* I quickly realized it was not the camera, but rather the person behind it creating such amazing art.
I practiced and practiced. I asked friends to pose for me, I taught myself all of the settings, and different features of my camera. I was pretty dedicated. My school work started suffering even more, and then, I just started skipping school all together.
I received my first car as a gift from my parents at 17, so when I was learning about this whole new world I discovered in the form of photography, I “went to school” or so my parents thought, but instead, I drove around taking photographs of beautiful things.
I eventually accumulated 30 days in a row of missed school. I was in huge trouble. Thank god my principle loved me, he called me “Smiley”. With only one month until graduation, he gave me an ultimatum. Come to school every day for the remainder of the year, do EVERY SINGLE homework assignment, and he will let me graduate with the lowest GPA that’s considered “passing”.
I was very grateful, and I did what he asked of me. I graduated. YAY!
After high school, I took a few psychology classes, here and there, and continued with photography.
I had no idea that one day it would turn into more that just a hobby!
When people started asking me what I charged to photograph them, I thought to myself “well this is a cool way to make some cash on the side”
So I started charging. I quickly realized I hated photographing families and babies. Never again.
So I stuck with what I knew and loved, fashion. I went to F.I.D.M for 6 months during this time (bye psychology!) studying Product Development.
I dropped out of F.I.D.M and just photographed fashion shoots along with working at my part time retail job. My job paid for my camera equipment.
When I started working for my mother at the sports bar that she owns, I was making MUCH more money, so I upgraded, and upgraded, and spoiled myself rotten with all this new equipment and goodies.
I finally transitioned into weddings, and engagements, which I loved for a little while. I realized after 3 years of photographing weddings, that I really actually hate them.
People just don’t realize how much hard work it is to photograph a wedding. We put our all into our clients weddings, long before the day of the wedding, during the wedding, and 40+ hours of editing after the wedding. We get paid close to nothing for weddings, even $5000 is not worth it to us, because most of that goes to taxes, editing time, emails, equipment etc.
So the last year and a half I decided that the photography I enjoy most is boudoir, and to help women see their true beauty. So I created my brand, my website, my style, and Photography by Alyssa Michelle was truly born.
I never imagined that my career would be something in the creative field, but I did know that I always wanted to help people. This is the most rewarding career I could have asked for. To see a woman see her photographs and cry because she’s never felt so beautiful in her life… That’s why I do what I do.