By CHRISTY ARMSTRONG
Carrie Workman, a local photographer specializing in professional headshots, has learned how to balance her photography business with her family life.
Workman, who is originally from Atlanta, first moved to Cleveland to attend Lee University, where she studied public relations and advertising.
“What’s funny is photography was not my original plan,” Workman said. “I have really grown to love it though.”
After graduating from Lee, she began working at the university’s admissions department. She said she got her first “real” photography experience as she designed marketing materials for the university.
Dissatisfied with the stock photography she found to use in her designs, she began taking her own photos of students on Lee’s campus. That sparked the love for photography she still has today.
After working her way up to the position of assistant director of admissions at Lee, she quit full-time work when she gave birth to her oldest daughter.
She and her husband, Brian, have four children: Olivia (14), Jules (12), Stella Kate (7) and Levi (4).
As she became a mother, she developed a love for shooting portraits of children. As she continued to hone her skills and find more clients, her photography business grew to encompass everything from headshots to high school senior portraits.
However, it was actually a home organization method — the popular KonMari method — that inspired her to build her business around the professional headshot.
“I went through my home getting rid of clutter and keeping only the things that made me feel joy,” Workman said. “I kind of ended up doing that with my schedule as well.”
While she said she enjoyed getting to work with a diverse group of clients for a bunch of different types of photos, she found herself most looking forward to headshots.
She said she loves how she can work with clients to take one of the most “vulnerable” types of photos — a close-up — and encourage them to feel good about themselves.
“I’m good at reading people and figuring out how to make them look their best,” Workman said, adding her goal is to help clients feel good about themselves as well.
She also said many clients come to her nervous about the photos, but she is in a unique position to be able to encourage people who might be having rough days.
She also finds her current business model personally gratifying, because it allows her to work from home most days.
While her husband works outside the home as a real estate professional, she operates her photography business out of the “studio barn” in her backyard. This also allows her to homeschool her four children.
“My oldest girls would come home from school and tell me about their day. I realized I was missing time with them,” Workman said. “Now, I get to have the best hours of their day.”
She has now been homeschooling her children for about four years now, having started around the time her son was born. Though homeschooling may not be for everyone, she said she believes it has been really beneficial for her children.
Workman now has 17 years of experience as a photographer. She said getting to do what she loves while being near the family loves has her in “a place of joy.”
She advises anyone who may be trying to figure out what to do for a living or may be contemplating a career change to think long and hard about what they would most love to do.
“Figure out what brings you joy,” Workman said. “After all, you’ve got to do it every day. If whatever you’re doing is really hard for you day in and day out and doesn’t bring you joy, it may be time for a change.”
Though her career path may seem unconventional to some, Workman said she loves how things are developing so far.