• Tina Ebenal

The Inspiration in my Life

As I prepare for another weekend of shooting, I just think about how amazing and supportive my husband is. Almost all of my photography session have been in Virginia, where we are originally from, and it is a 5 hour drive from where we live in North Carolina to Fredericksburg, Virginia. We usually leave after he gets off of work and travel up. He doesn't complain other than the miserable drive itself. He tells me that these are great opportunities and he is proud of me for all that I have achieved so far. And these sessions I don't charge or charge very little for. So the money that I do make from these sessions pays for the gas to and from. But he tells me that money does not matter at the moment, that I should charge, but it is the experience and building of my portfolio is what is important for the time being.

We have been married for almost 4 years. Since graduating 3 years ago from Grad school, it has been difficult trying to find a job in my field that I went to grad school for and being a military spouse, most jobs will not hire someone who they know is only going to be around for a short time or could leave at a very short notice. So these past couple years I tried to find jobs to help us financially and unfortunately nothing worked out. When we had our daughter, we decided that I would be a stay-at-home mom because it would not be worth the time to go to work and not break even when we would have to pay for child care. But my love and passion for photography was always there.

I have always loved photography but never truly pursued it because I was working, school, and then when we had our daughter, my husband was gone on deployment for 7 months and shortly after that he was away for training for another 3 months. I just didn't have the time. One day, my husband and I sat down and talked about our long term goals and what we wanted to do if and when he got out of the military. We had just recently came back from a trip to the Great Smoky Mountains and I had done a lot of photography from that trip. He told me that if I was so passionate about photography I should look into what I had to do to pursue it and become a photographer. So I did.

Since we are still paying off my student loans, going to school was not an option at the moment. But I found online class at a low cost and I met Holly. Holly is a professional photographer who has a wedding photography business. We had hired her to do family portraits of both sides of the family. Brian told me to see if I could intern with her and try to get some experience that way. Since December, I have been working and shadowing Holly. I discovered passion for wedding photography and gained confidence in my abilities. I have a great support system from my husband to friends to family who allow me to photograph them and their family. They are honest with me and help me grow to be better.

I can honestly say that for the first time in my life I feel confident and love what I am doing. If it were not for the love and support of my husband, I would never be here. He pushes me every day by giving me challenges and he critics my work. I am able to combine my love for culture and photography and I am able to work from home so I can be with our daughter. When I am out shooting, which is usually on the weekends, Brian spends the time with our daughter. He is an amazing and wonderful man. I could not ask for a better support.

Marriage is about passion, love, and sacrifice. We have to sacrifice so much time together with the military that it is hard to spend the time we have together pursuing our passions and not feel guilty. We have a very strong marriage with open communication and clear ideas of what we both want. We both work hard to provide a great future and life for our family even if it means giving up some time to do that. On the days that I shoot, Brian spends Daddy and Daughter time that he missed while he was gone and loves being able to have that special bonding time with her. He doesn't complain when we travel to Virginia for sessions because he sees it as great opportunities for me. He pushes me to be the best I can and inspires me to be confident. He makes everything so much easier and I don't feel guilty for wanting to pursue photography.

My daughter is the light of my life. She is a very happy child who brings laughter to our world. She inspires me to be the best I can be because I want her to grow up to be a strong, confident, and independent woman who can do anything in life without any limitations. At 1 year old, she is fearless, independent, and strong willed. I want to be that role model in her life.

I surround myself with friends and family who believe in me and who will be honest with me. I don't want people to tell me what they think I want to hear, I want to be critiqued to become better. I am lucky in that I do have those people in my life and who also allow me to photograph them to help me build my portfolio and business.

Lastly, I am so grateful for the opportunity to shadow Holly and she has allowed me to work with her. She is an inspiration in that she is not only an amazing photographer, but she is an independent woman with her own successful photography business. I am truly blessed for this opportunity and her ability to teach and inspire me. From the short time that I have worked with Holly, I have gained knowledge, experience, and confidence.

I can't wait to see what the future brings.

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