Ottawa Family Photographer|My Light Bulb Moment

Hi Friends, 
I often get asked about my photography journey and when it started, so I thought this would be a great chance to tell you a bit more about myself. When I first started in 2013, I was working full time and photographing on the weekends. I started with families but also did several weddings in those first couple of years. The photography world was so different then. There was not a huge online resource for learning so most of what I learned was through trial and error and reading books. I delivered photos on CD’s which is crazy to think of now. I absolutely loved it though, and loved meeting new people and most of all loved having a passion and outlet. 
Truth be told though, I struggled working full time while also having a side hustle of photography. I had very little down time. Looking back, however, I realize how foolish that was as I had much more down time then than I do now with two young kiddos. Do you guys remember lazy weekend mornings with no plans and nowhere to go? It’s all just a sweet memory to me! I photographed my last wedding at 8 months pregnant and told myself I would just take a quick break to enjoy my first born. Honestly though, I had a hard time with my first. It was such a huge life change. I went from living in the trendiest place in our city to the suburbs with no car and it being the dead of winter. Combine that with postpartum hormones and lack of sleep, photography was the last thing on my mind. I picked it up randomly to capture major milestones but my heart just wasn’t in it. 
Fast forward to the birth of my second daughter very closely after my first and I had my hands full. Because it had been over a year that I had really used my camera, I was filled with self doubt, and social media exploded, so I saw many amazing photographers’ work and was not confident at all that I could be at their level. It wasn’t until a birthday present from my dad changed my perspective. He bought me tickets to see the NAC orchestra perform Beethoven’s 5th Symphony. We were right in the front row and I was absolutely mesmerized by them. They oozed passion and dedication and just a love for what they do. The musicians spoke about how they practised all day,  every day for months in order to prepare themselves and it was honestly a lightbulb moment. I was so inspired. I remember telling my husband that if I actually gave it my all, and practised every day, and quit doubting myself, I could really make a career of this. So that’s what I did. I studied every video I could get my hands on, I watched hundreds of education videos, I practised every day using my camera and slowly but surely I started producing work I was proud of. Combine all this with an incredibly supportive husband, family, and friends, I was able to relaunch my business to where it is today.
Tell me; is there something in your life that has been a defining moment for you that has lead you to take a huge risk and go after your passion? I would love to hear your stories! I added a couple photos bellow of my kiddos, well just because they are adorable;) The family photos in the snow were taken by the lovely Allie Liko.
Ottawa Newborn Photography, Ottawa Family Photographer
*Gillian is a Ottawa Newborn Photographer and Ottawa Family Photographer serving Ottawa and just outside of Ottawa. I live in Kanata with my husband and two young daughters who are the light of my life. I am a stay at home mom/mom photographer who  specializes in Ottawa Baby Photography and all things Family. I offer both Studio Newborn Photography and well as Lifestyle Newborn Photography in Ottawa. My goal is to capture the unique and beautiful connection of your family so you will have these memories to pass down to your children and grandchildren*
  1. Laken McDonald says:

    Thanks for sharing! Amazing story, and beautiful family. Glad that you had the inspiration to get back into what you love. It is hard to do sometimes and I have experienced burn out many of times. But I started to say no to things that didn’t make me happy and cut down my workload. I feel better than ever growing my business and focusing on what I love the most!

    • Gillian McColl says:

      Thank you for sharing your journey and I’m so happy to read you are in a good place with your business!

  2. Amy says:

    Wow awesome story! It’s so hard to overcome self doubt, thanks so much for sharing!

  3. Mandy says:

    So glad you were inspired to pick up your camera again!!!! Loved reading your story!! Your family is gorgeous!!!

  4. Zsof says:

    Goose bumps! Thank you for sharing. I’m in a similar situation with transitions my business and balancing family life. It’s true with passion and patience dreams can come true.

  5. Jessica says:

    What a wonderful story — more of us need to share our struggles!

  6. Brooke says:

    Wow what a story! Loved reading about it!

  7. Amber says:

    Thanks for sharing. Your kiddos are adorable!

  8. I love this! I’m so inspired by watching talented people do what they’re good at. Whatever it may be.

  9. Jenelle says:

    I love this story! And I love how you were inspired by another artist. Your light bulb moment and hard work laid off, your work is gorgeous! And I can totally feel your heart in it!

  10. Linda says:

    Great winter portraits. Great inpirational story.

  11. Lori Maguire says:

    Beautiful written and refreshing to read!

  12. Lyndsay says:

    I love your story! Mine was after my first was born. I had planned to go back to work full-time but life led me in other directions. One day I thought…hey maybe I can actually make this hobby a “job”!

    • Gillian McColl says:

      Thats so great! I also stay home with my girls so they were definitely played a huge part in this decision.

  13. Micah says:

    What a great story. It’s so funny how totally unrelated thing sometimes have the biggest impact!

    • Gillian McColl says:

      It’s so true. I certainly wasn’t expecting to leave that concert with the inspiration to re-open my business. Thanks for your comment!

  14. Amy says:

    So glad you picked it back up 🙂

  15. Linda says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your journey. I am so happy that you were able to overcome your self doubt and get to where you are today. Well done 😊

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