This post is one of the harder posts I have ever attempted to write. As I sit here, the tears like memories are flowing. I have been putting off writing this for too long because I am still struggling with how to adequately reflect upon and sum up 11 years of growth, change, development, opportunities, hardship, joy, business, relationships, and people? The only way I think I will be able to is through the lens of gratitude for it all; the ups and downs, the struggles and triumphs, the loves and the losses…

And along the way I thought I would share just a few of my cherished photographs from this precious journey…..

I want to take you briefly back to where it all began. 12 years ago I was a kindergarten teacher. I loved my job and believed that I would be following in my mother’s footsteps as an educator for the rest of my career days. However, the pain and the loss of two miscarriages changed my preconceived notion of what I wanted our family’s younger days to look like, and God used influential people in my life to open a door through creativity into a world and towards an opportunity I had never even considered.

For this I am grateful.

From those early days I was hungry. Hungry to learn all I could about photography. I learned, I studied, I practiced, I failed, I tried again and I absorbed everything I could that would help me feel like a “real” photographer. I continually (almost to this day) had to fight the feelings of imposter syndrome, that I belonged in this competitive and talented industry. However, I grew, and as the skills of photography became more second nature to me, it allowed me to see my surroundings and subjects differently, through the lens of love.

For this I am grateful.

I was also hungry as a business owner. I loved learning and thinking about running a business, goal setting that could help move me forward and about the hard work it took to own and run a sole-proprietorship. I was hungry to serve others well and part of this was continually looking at ways to improve and grow my service. I know I definitely did not do it all right, but my heart for serving people always was at the forefront of every business decision I made, tried and even failed at. It is my hope that it was felt in how I served and loved those I met.

For this I am grateful.

I learned, as I would suspect that most, if not all creative entrepreneurs do, that this chosen career path is not all sunshine and rainbows. Being a creative entrepreneur is vulnerable. As Brene Brown writes, “Creativity is the way I share my soul with the world.” This is how I feel about all of my work – it was and is an extension of me. Every photograph I took had a tiny piece of my heart in it, and it’s not easy to put your heart out there for all the see, judge and even critique on a regular basis. Had it not been for the gracious kind words of so many I might now have been fuelled enough to continue; to continue practicing, growing, improving, working hard, adjusting and seeking creative opportunities. Through this creative entrepreneurship experience I had to lean into my drive and find grit in the ways that it takes to lead yourself through it.

For this I am grateful.

As some entrepreneurs who get to experience this journey as Mamaprenuers know, building businesses and raising babies is not for the faint of heart. Growth came, albeit slower than I would have liked at times, and as our family grew the business did little by little as well. There were countless tears shed, editing marathons while holding sleeping children, sleepless nights trying to get the work done while the kids (and the rest of the world) slept, babysitting needed, running between home and sessions, juggling my husband’s career and trying to find a way to make my own work as well. It definitely never felt easy, it was a balancing act that I never got right. I wasn’t always able to be fully focused or even fully present; but I am thankful to have had the choice and ability to stop whatever I was doing to tend to their little needs, to tuck them in at nap time, to do plenty of baking and story reading along the way, to have the opportunity to be near and close to them in those early years and to just love them in my own way while showing them that Mom can and does work hard too.

For this I am grateful.

And so I come to the point of this post, to the part that is the hardest for me to write. That after 11 years the time has come for me to close the doors on Carolyn Bentum Photography so that I can open new doors to the next part of my career journey. I have come full circle, and as I write this I am currently back teaching kindergarten and have reignited my love of shaping young hearts and minds.

Behind me I leave tens of thousands of photographs, each holding a small piece of my heart; tangible soulful heirlooms that I pray will bless the families that are within the frames for generations to come. Behind me I leave blood, sweat and tears and the lessons learned that come along with starting something from the ground up and learning along the way. Behind me I leave relationships of industry friends, clients and fellow photographers who have become friends. Behind me I hope I have left a legacy of love.

A very large piece of my legacy of love in this business has been working alongside my sister, my best friend. She has been a support and a part of the Carolyn Bentum Photography family since the very beginning. In the early days she provided babysitting help as I drowned in editing and trying to care for small kiddos. She provided more constant care and household help to assist me after I jumped back into shooting after having the twins with two other young kiddos already at home (and did I mention she did this all while she too was expecting twins?). With her own interest in photography budding, I was excited to share my learning and trained her to work as my second photographer on wedding days so that I had a reliable second who worked exclusively with me. She next began learning the ropes of the computer work, helping me with bookkeeping and editing so that I could stay on top of my paper work and more quickly turn around galleries for clients. Over the last couple of years we worked together more specially as she began as an associate photographer shooting some families on her own under my brand. Carolyn Bentum Photography couldn’t have existed and survived over these last 11 years without her behind the scenes love, support, willingness to help. And so, even though it is time for me to say goodbye from photography in the capacity that I have known, lived and loved over the last 11 years, I leave behind my love legacy of photography with her as she now embarks on a journey of her own in the photography business world.

For Alaina I am grateful.

It’s hard to say goodbye, it hard to “close the doors”; but as I do, I leave with a deep sense of gratitude. Gratitude for all those who came before me and who were willing to share your wisdom, personal learning and growth through blog and forum posts, courses and over coffee. Gratitude for every person who trusted me enough to step in the front of my camera. Gratitude for the willingness to share some of life’s most precious moments and memories, laughter, joy with me- legacies of love I like to call them. Gratitude to the industry partners and friends with whom I have had the privilege of meeting and serving alongside over the years. Gratitude for the photography competitors who became the best kind of friends. Gratitude for for my family and friends who have supported me, cared for me and our family, and who believed in me when at times I didn’t believe in myself. Gratitude for my husband who sacrificed a lot to help make this dream and opportunity happen and work; I couldn’t have done even a little bit of it without you babe. And gratitude for a Heavenly Father who orchestrated this whole thing – the lessons, the experience, the people and places that are all a part of this legacy of love I am leaving behind.

So if it’s not clear yet, thank you for all of the years of love and support. I will miss this, I will miss you! Cheers to your journeys and to the next leg of mine.

Love,

Carolyn

Gratitude

Soulful Heirloom Photographs

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This post is one of the harder posts I have ever attempted to write. As I sit here, the tears like memories are flowing. I have been putting off writing this for too long because I am still struggling with how to adequately reflect upon and sum up 11 years of growth, change, development, opportunities, hardship, joy, business, relationships, and people? The only way I think I will be able to is through the lens of gratitude for it all; the ups and downs, the struggles and triumphs, the loves and the losses…

And along the way I thought I would share just a few of my cherished photographs from this precious journey…..

I want to take you briefly back to where it all began. 12 years ago I was a kindergarten teacher. I loved my job and believed that I would be following in my mother’s footsteps as an educator for the rest of my career days. However, the pain and the loss of two miscarriages changed my preconceived notion of what I wanted our family’s younger days to look like, and God used influential people in my life to open a door through creativity into a world and towards an opportunity I had never even considered.

For this I am grateful.

From those early days I was hungry. Hungry to learn all I could about photography. I learned, I studied, I practiced, I failed, I tried again and I absorbed everything I could that would help me feel like a “real” photographer. I continually (almost to this day) had to fight the feelings of imposter syndrome, that I belonged in this competitive and talented industry. However, I grew, and as the skills of photography became more second nature to me, it allowed me to see my surroundings and subjects differently, through the lens of love.

For this I am grateful.

I was also hungry as a business owner. I loved learning and thinking about running a business, goal setting that could help move me forward and about the hard work it took to own and run a sole-proprietorship. I was hungry to serve others well and part of this was continually looking at ways to improve and grow my service. I know I definitely did not do it all right, but my heart for serving people always was at the forefront of every business decision I made, tried and even failed at. It is my hope that it was felt in how I served and loved those I met.

For this I am grateful.

I learned, as I would suspect that most, if not all creative entrepreneurs do, that this chosen career path is not all sunshine and rainbows. Being a creative entrepreneur is vulnerable. As Brene Brown writes, “Creativity is the way I share my soul with the world.” This is how I feel about all of my work – it was and is an extension of me. Every photograph I took had a tiny piece of my heart in it, and it’s not easy to put your heart out there for all the see, judge and even critique on a regular basis. Had it not been for the gracious kind words of so many I might now have been fuelled enough to continue; to continue practicing, growing, improving, working hard, adjusting and seeking creative opportunities. Through this creative entrepreneurship experience I had to lean into my drive and find grit in the ways that it takes to lead yourself through it.

For this I am grateful.

As some entrepreneurs who get to experience this journey as Mamaprenuers know, building businesses and raising babies is not for the faint of heart. Growth came, albeit slower than I would have liked at times, and as our family grew the business did little by little as well. There were countless tears shed, editing marathons while holding sleeping children, sleepless nights trying to get the work done while the kids (and the rest of the world) slept, babysitting needed, running between home and sessions, juggling my husband’s career and trying to find a way to make my own work as well. It definitely never felt easy, it was a balancing act that I never got right. I wasn’t always able to be fully focused or even fully present; but I am thankful to have had the choice and ability to stop whatever I was doing to tend to their little needs, to tuck them in at nap time, to do plenty of baking and story reading along the way, to have the opportunity to be near and close to them in those early years and to just love them in my own way while showing them that Mom can and does work hard too.

For this I am grateful.

And so I come to the point of this post, to the part that is the hardest for me to write. That after 11 years the time has come for me to close the doors on Carolyn Bentum Photography so that I can open new doors to the next part of my career journey. I have come full circle, and as I write this I am currently back teaching kindergarten and have reignited my love of shaping young hearts and minds.

Behind me I leave tens of thousands of photographs, each holding a small piece of my heart; tangible soulful heirlooms that I pray will bless the families that are within the frames for generations to come. Behind me I leave blood, sweat and tears and the lessons learned that come along with starting something from the ground up and learning along the way. Behind me I leave relationships of industry friends, clients and fellow photographers who have become friends. Behind me I hope I have left a legacy of love.

A very large piece of my legacy of love in this business has been working alongside my sister, my best friend. She has been a support and a part of the Carolyn Bentum Photography family since the very beginning. In the early days she provided babysitting help as I drowned in editing and trying to care for small kiddos. She provided more constant care and household help to assist me after I jumped back into shooting after having the twins with two other young kiddos already at home (and did I mention she did this all while she too was expecting twins?). With her own interest in photography budding, I was excited to share my learning and trained her to work as my second photographer on wedding days so that I had a reliable second who worked exclusively with me. She next began learning the ropes of the computer work, helping me with bookkeeping and editing so that I could stay on top of my paper work and more quickly turn around galleries for clients. Over the last couple of years we worked together more specially as she began as an associate photographer shooting some families on her own under my brand. Carolyn Bentum Photography couldn’t have existed and survived over these last 11 years without her behind the scenes love, support, willingness to help. And so, even though it is time for me to say goodbye from photography in the capacity that I have known, lived and loved over the last 11 years, I leave behind my love legacy of photography with her as she now embarks on a journey of her own in the photography business world.

For Alaina I am grateful.

It’s hard to say goodbye, it hard to “close the doors”; but as I do, I leave with a deep sense of gratitude. Gratitude for all those who came before me and who were willing to share your wisdom, personal learning and growth through blog and forum posts, courses and over coffee. Gratitude for every person who trusted me enough to step in the front of my camera. Gratitude for the willingness to share some of life’s most precious moments and memories, laughter, joy with me- legacies of love I like to call them. Gratitude to the industry partners and friends with whom I have had the privilege of meeting and serving alongside over the years. Gratitude for the photography competitors who became the best kind of friends. Gratitude for for my family and friends who have supported me, cared for me and our family, and who believed in me when at times I didn’t believe in myself. Gratitude for my husband who sacrificed a lot to help make this dream and opportunity happen and work; I couldn’t have done even a little bit of it without you babe. And gratitude for a Heavenly Father who orchestrated this whole thing – the lessons, the experience, the people and places that are all a part of this legacy of love I am leaving behind.

So if it’s not clear yet, thank you for all of the years of love and support. I will miss this, I will miss you! Cheers to your journeys and to the next leg of mine.

Love,

Carolyn

Gratitude

Soulful Heirloom Photographs

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