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How I Became a Photographer | Tina Case Photography Beginnings

May 23, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

You can read about my story below if you're eating your morning cereal or click here to see my animated story :)  

Back in January of 2007 I was working full-time at HP.  I had been there for more years than I care to mention.  And while I had fantastic job I would often find myself wondering, "is this all there is?"  Something was lacking in my life.

Then a gift fell from above, otherwise known as the Corporate Office.  HP had a once-in-a-lifetime voluntary severance package.  It was only offered to employees who had been contributing to a pension fund which was on the verge of going away.  The catch with this opportunity was you could put your hat in the ring but there was the possibility too many people would jump at this chance.  I was on the low-end of that spectrum in terms of qualifying.  Should I toss my name into the ring?

My photography journeyMy photography journeyMy photography journey

I went with my heart and submitted the proper paperwork.  It was exciting and scary at the same time. I was taking a leap if I were to get this opportunity.  There was a waiting period of about a month while they sorted through the list of people who submitted their name as I did.  I was on pins and needles waiting to find out if my number would get called. During this time I could not tell my co-workers or boss because if I did not get it I would be a sitting duck.

Meanwhile my husband was starting a new job with a startup.  We were taking a risk because for years we were a two-income family.  In all the years I worked we would rely on my husband's income for our day-to-day expenses and sock away my income for our vacations and retirement fund. Without my income could we handle our children's college expenses (we have 3 daughters), mortgage, and be able to take the wonderful vacations that we had become accustomed to?

As it turned out my number literally got picked.  I was informed that I my last day at HP would be June 1, 2007.  It was bittersweet news. HP was where I met my husband. All three of my children were born during my tenure there.  Besides traveling all over the US and Asia, I even did an overseas stint in Europe.  It was a second home to me in so many ways.  I was leaving the security of a great paying job. But as I said, something was missing. Passion.  I was not passionate about the work I was doing.

For about a year after leaving HP I allowed myself to dream. To set my sights on something new.  In college I was an art major and received a BA in Art History. But my goal of becoming an art teacher was interrupted.   Instead I became a flight attendant for PanAm.  Then I went back to college and got B.S. in Comp Sci which lead to my job at HP.  Hanging up my high tech hat was a big deal.  My goal was that I would pursue something in a creative area.

Before any of this, my father had passed away a few years earlier. So during that first year my goal was to move my mom in with us and create an in-law suite. It took nearly a full year and kept me occupied while I dreamt away.

Then one day my husband came home from a work dinner party.  There he met an entrepreneur who started a company called Picateer (which has since gone under).  Picateer was a portrait company that provided parent-volunteer photographers the tools to capture school portraits while raising money at the same time.  Up to 50% of the proceeds would be filtered back to the schools as part of their fundraising efforts. When he told me about their model I immediately thought, "I could do that... hmmmm."

So with my friend who was going through a soul-searching phase we gave each other the courage to create Picture This! Fundraising.  It lasted about 3 years until we both decided to establish our own studios.  We both realized that school portraits, while lucrative, was not fulfilling.  It was a ton of work fraught with a lot of minutia that we did not relish.

But that first photography business armed me with the skills, gear and know-how to start my own business.  It was a great learning ground.  During that time I also realized that I totally loved photography.  That big paycheck from HP wasn't missed.  I worked as hard as I did at HP but only this time it was filled with love.  I found what I was born to do.  Photography is pure passion.  The feeling I get when I'm doing photography is something I haven't experienced since I was a child.  You know that feeling when you were a child, lost in the zone and could play all-day long? Photography, editing, creating - is like that for me.

Photography has led to some amazing experiences for me.  Every time I pick up the camera a new journey begins.  I feel so blessed to be on this path and to have the opportunity to do what I love.


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