Hello and Welcome to Dream School. I’m Karrie Knowles a New England Family Photographer and Graphic Editor. I own Sweet Dreams Photography. I have three amazing grown boys who are 19, 20, & 26 years old. They are the light of my life and my greatest accomplishments.
In high school I took my first photography class with film cameras and a dark room. That’s right I have actually developed film in a dark room myself, pretty cool right. So vintage LOL… Back then I never even considered photography as a profession. I went on to study business and administration in college and worked in the hospitality industry for all of my 20s and most of my 30s. I was so unhappy and felt stifled felt suffocated being within four walls. I also felt as though I wasn’t using all of my brain having to perform the same mundane tasks day after day. The only thing that made me happy was the people. Working with people and making people happy is what made me happy. How could I harness this energy into something that didn’t involve clocking in and lunch breaks and uniforms and suits and four walls. Oh those Walls!!!
I honestly thought I was stuck there for life. Earning PTO and Vacation time became my main drive and focus for working. I literally worked just enough to get time off and then took the time off. What a crazy way to live, right?
Finally my Father opened my eyes to a completely different idea. He said “Karrie, it’s not a job if you do what you love.”
A fisherman my entire life, my father literally had been making a living for himself doing what he loved. It didn’t start out that way. He served his time in the Navy. He worked at Electric Boat 3rd shift when I was a child. Every weekend and all summer he was out on the water. He would bring home lobster and fish and we would have creatures like horseshoe crabs walking around the driveway and turtles living in the broken down pool. My Mother would cook up the lobsters and fish for dinner. Finally he had enough money to buy his own boat and we would go out to a little island crabbing. It was never his main source of income until I was an adult. He began working as a cook on a fishing charter boat and making fly fishing bait while he studied and put in the hours for his Captains License. He has also written several cookbooks!
What he said that day really struck a cord with me. What did I love. The only thing I knew I ever loved was being a mother. So as I said I was working just for time off to spend with my children. But what did I love that I could turn into a paying career? Guess what was I doing during that time off from work. Photographing everything. Landscape, animals, my kids, our vacas, family, friends. Suddenly I started to notice things happening around my hobby for photography. Maybe things that were happening all along and I never realized. I always always had a camera. I was always making projects and albums and presentations and prints for friends and family. Always on my computer or at local labs creating things and printing things. I would take photos of my friends kids and their parties and baptisms and make little gifts for them out of the photos. For one friend I photographed her sons baptism and made her a mini album. For another friend I printed photos of her son for their anniversary present. Photos I had taken of nature I would give to people for home décor as gifts. When I met my long lost cousin I made her Directory of whos who of her ten cousins.
Then one day while I was snapping away taking photos on our trip to visit my uncle in Virginia my boys said to me, “Mom why don’t you become a photographer?”
It wasn’t long after I started posting photos that peopled were starting to ask me to take photos at events and offering to pay me to make albums for them. I slowly started to save and arrange all the photos I took and make my portfolio. That was IT! It was photography that I had always loved and was passionate about. It was something I could make money with and finally love doing. It was not longer a job because I loved what I did. For me personally it was a long process because I kept my job while slowly building my portfolio and client base. With little to no advertising at all I was able to leave that job and change my entire career and in turn my life. I read everything I could get my hands on about photography and editing. I studied. I practiced. I read more. Studied more. Practiced more. I listened to mentors and professionals. I watched tutorials and took classes. I even felt inspired to go back to school to finish my degrees. Guess what, I’m STILL doing all of that. Photography is an industry that is always changing and growing and you have to keep learning and continue growing.
Over the past few years I have gotten many questions about my photography and I always love helping others in the community. I have begun to train assistants and mentor new photographers. I’m so happy to be where I am today that I want to share with you creative inspiration and instruction. What to learn. Where to find help. What steps to take to build your portfolio. And many other tips and tricks I’ve learned along the way.