These student spotlights have been SO much fun! Today, we’re highlighting another student, Alicia Wilson, who’s a mom, a photographer, and a former teacher. Reading about her story was such an inspiration to me and I hope it will be for you too! Without further ado, let’s meet Alicia from Alicia Wilson Photography!
Tell me about yourself.
Hi there! I am Alicia, a born and bred Texas girl who gets to have her dream job of being a mommy and a portrait photographer! My husband, Jonathan, and I met right out of high school working at a summer camp in North Carolina. We have been a couple since we were teenagers. We have two children, Shelby (8), and Jase (5), and we live in Rockwall, Texas. My husband is a former Army Special Forces Green Beret and so we have lived in TX and NC. We joke because he is the outgoing adrenaline junkie, and I am an introverted bookworm, but somehow it works haha! Our family loves to be outside in nature, finding trails to walk, or riding bicycles. We don’t go to really busy or crowded places often, since both of my children have autism, but we do love visiting the zoo and aquariums, and swimming nonstop during the Texas summers!
Tell me a little about your photography business!
I specialize in family and children’s portraits. I offer family, maternity, senior, children and lifestyle newborn sessions. This is my third year being full time with my business, and I am completely amazed at how fast it has grown!
What started your photography journey?
I actually had no intention of ever being a photographer! For 11 years, I was an elementary school teacher and absolutely loved it. When my children were born, I became a stay at home mom with the expectation that I would one day return to the classroom. Then both of my children were diagnosed with severe autism and communication disorders, and my life took a radical turn. I desperately wanted beautiful portraits of my children and family, but I could not find a photographer that was willing to work with two special needs children and capture them in a way that wasn’t forced and posed. Every photo session ended with stress, tears, and images of my babies looking scared and vacant. I decided that I would learn photography as a way to capture these memories of my own children without it being a traumatic experience.
My sweet hubby bought me an entry level DSLR at the Black Friday sale at Costco and I began learning about photography. I was hooked immediately!! I would watch every webinar and youtube video, and take every class that I could afford to keep learning and growing. Taking pictures with my babies became fun and not stressful. Eventually, friends would ask me to take their pictures after seeing the images that I had posted on my social media.
As I began photographing more and more people and hearing the stories about what the portraits meant to them, I knew that this was what I was called to do as a profession. It is such a blessing to see how God turned such a painful situation in my life into the catalyst that put me on this path, and not only helps my family financially, but allows me to use my experiences to bless other families and give them a joyful and quality photography experience.
What is your favorite thing about running a photography business?
Oh gosh, where to start?? I absolutely love that I am able to take my children to their therapy appointments and be at home with them if they get sick, and still run a successful photography business. Professionally, my favorite thing is having the opportunity to tell my clients’ stories and give them these timeless portraits that capture them as they are.
What is something you’ve achieved that you’re proud of?
The same year that I was set to launch my photography business, my son was diagnosed with autism. I really struggled with whether or not to pursue my business or not. The majority of those around me told me that I was supposed to be an “autism mom” and it would be selfish to pursue a career outside of the home. Being a mom is the most important thing in the world to me, so I almost quit. But after lots of prayer, my husband and I decided that we knew this is what God was calling me to do. At the end of my first year in business, my daughter got her own little camera for Christmas and asked me if she could join me on my last photo session of the year. Of course, I said yes!
After I was done shooting, my sweet clients agreed for my daughter to take their picture with her little pink camera. My baby girl, Shelby, who was completely nonverbal just a couple of years ago, stood in front of strangers and gave them posing direction and took their pictures like a pro! I was fighting back happy tears watching her the whole time. After she was done, my client asked her, “what do you want to be when you grow up Shelby?”. Shelby smiled at her and said, “I am gonna be a mommy and a photographer like my mommy.” So the thing that I am most proud of is that I have been an example to my children that when you work hard and love what you do, you can accomplish anything, even if it doesn’t make sense to those around you!
If you could tell your past self one thing, what would it be?
Don’t spend your time and energy comparing your journey to others. When you are following the path the Lord has you on, you will be able to find true joy and peace in what you are doing, and be able to genuinely celebrate the journey of those around you as well.
Where can we find you and Alicia Wilson Photography!?
Don’t forget to check out other recent Student Spotlights!
This is so sweet and so inspiring!
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