Thursday, February 20, 2014

MOM Jessica Part 2: Raney Day Photography

To catch up, or for a refresher, you can read Part 1: Missing Big Moments.
Just a couple of weeks after Jessica found herself praying for a door to open which would allow her to spend more time with her family, her prayers were already being answered.  
"Photography opened its doors to me and a lot of what I learned in college, came back to me.  I took refresher workshops, and my husband gifted me with a camera...I started to believe in myself and knew I could do this."
Jessica knew that her transition from teaching kindergarten, to professional photographer was going to take some time.  However, she instantly started the transition by taking steps to achieve her goal. 
"I was still teaching full-time after 3 years after I realized I wanted to pursue photography.  I would do 2-5 shoots on the weekends and after work.  I was giving away sessions like crazy just so I could practice.  I knew I needed to start at the bottom and work my way up.  I never took any opportunity for granted and I never turned down an opportunity to learn more."
There came a time, about two years into this transition, Jessica realized she was making more money with her camera skills, than she was teaching!  She had a difficult time keeping up with both teaching and her photography sessions.  Her husband encouraged her to take the leap and quit teaching if she felt like she was ready to take that on full-time, but she wasn't quite ready to quit teaching.  Jessica explains, "It wasn't easy for me to make the decision.  I felt such a commitment to my school, the kids, and the community."
So when and how did Jessica decide it was time to officially make her transition?  She recalls the night of her daughter's 2nd grade open house.
"I was in my classroom with my students and their families.  I was holding the door greeting everyone while they toured the classroom.  I kept thinking, 'my daughter is 50 feet away in her classroom without her mom.'  It broke my heart.  Another year had gone by and I wasn't there."
So she decided to do something about it.
"I don't remember much between that thought and ending up in her classroom.  I just remember thinking, 'I pray no one yells at me while I run through the halls! I was out of breath when I stepped into her classroom and saw her face.  We made eye contact and she was beaming when she yelled 'MOM!!!'  That was the moment I knew I needed to quit.  I was missing too many moments.  That officially was my last year teaching.  I turned my leave papers in the next few months, and prepped myself for a new life."
Jessica and daughter Mykenzie on first day of school.
Reading Jessica's emotional words brings me to tears because, as working a mother, I understand what her hurting heart was experiencing. Now Jessica works full-time for herself, at Raney Day Photography, allowing her the opportunity to do what she loves, contribute to the financial health of her family, set her own schedule, and spend all of those big moments with her family.  I am so incredibly happy for Jessica!
Jessica says that weddings and maternity sessions are definitely her specialty, "Both are key moments in anyone's life.  There is also an unlimited amount of emotion. I love to capture the glow the bride has on her wedding day and the glow she has when she is pregnant.  It's perfect!  I absolutely love it!" 
As you can see, her style is very "light and airy", and she loves scheduling a shoot around sunset in order to catch the glowing ambiance of the warm, evening sun.  Her passion for photography is magically captured in the quality of her gorgeous pictures.  I am personally looking forward to having Jessica take our family photos this May! 
You can connect with Jessica, learn more about her photography, or schedule your photo session at and

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