The Story Behind phoebe o + co.

Before “phoebe o,” it was “phoebe b”

When I look back on my younger years, I remember spending a lot of my time playing with crafts. My childhood memories are a compilation of summer and fall days, forever going to piano lessons, diagramming sentences at my kitchen table (I was homeschooled), coloring and always accompanying my mom to Michael Bublé. 

girl at the beach

Eventually cameras were added to the mix. I’m not sure when or how, but at one point they became an important piece of my creative stock. I remember going to Walmart to get my film developed and later looking through all the photos to find just one good one. It was like Christmas to me, every time.  After disposables, I “seriously” started off with a navy blue Kodak camera that I saved up for. This opened the doors to “styled shoots” with my girlfriends, portraits of my Chuck Taylors and a million candids of my dogs.

“Will you take our picture?”

Once high school rolled around, my brother and I transferred over to the public school system. A huge change, but it was time. There I took all the art classes and found that I also enjoyed science too. I started bringing my camera to sporting events and found that to be a hit amongst my classmates because as soon as they had my attention they would grab their friends and strike a pose for me.

As I acclimatized to public school, I began hanging out with the “smartie pants” group. We took many of the same classes and studied together. As college neared, my interest in science had grown. Naturally, I thought that was more of a realistic and adult career choice instead of the arts. “More job opportunities, a steady income, reliable benefits” … you know the spiel. So, when I decided on Purdue for undergrad, science became my full-time priority.

What’s your dream job?

Around the middle of my undergrad career, someone asked me, “If money or opinions didn’t matter, what would you do with your life?” I think even then I could easily answer the question: traveling couples + elopement photog. Silly me. I’m still processing, but I definitely think there was a pride thing there. But anyways, Purdue Bachelor of Sciences graduate here I am.

I don’t regret my time there at all – it ended up being so fruitful and full of learning + good humans. Rather, I wish I had figured myself out + paid attention to life clues sooner. For example, every Thanksgiving my extended family asked me to take portraits of them and I always had lots of fun doing it and felt very confident in that situation.

Post-Purdue: what’s next?

After graduation I was working in a nutrition lab that I quite disliked. I am so thankful for my friendly coworkers because the environment and actual work was not a fit for me. I spent all my days sitting and typing at a desk in a tiny, windowless office. The work was pretty basic, so I found some podcasts to keep me entertained during my days. 

The turning point for my career (I know how dramatic that sounds, I’m sorry) was when I discovered Jenna Kutcher’s Goal Digger podcast. I think what made the idea of going into business for myself seem so possible was the fact that she was coming from a similar situation. We had almost identical stories. After listening to her podcast almost nonstop for a few weeks, I began entertaining the possibility of diving back into the photography world and actually making it my work. 

One of Jenna Kutcher’s motivating catch phrases is, “How we spend our days is how we spend our lives.” That hit me. Day after day I felt like I was wasting my time where I was currently working. Sure, I was making money and paying for my needs, but I 100% did not feel fulfilled. Nor was I even proud of what I was doing.

This was all happening at a bit of a crazy time. I was planning a wedding and about to move states. But I learned that there’s really never going to be a “perfect time” and if you’re waiting for that, you’re just going to waste a lot of time in the end. So I enrolled in one of Jenna Kutcher’s courses and started taking my dream seriously and prepared to make it real.

Now it’s “phoebe o”

jeep wedding tennessee

Here I am a few months later, married, moved and working on my business … FULL TIME!!! Everyday feels like brain overload and I often feel like I’m doing it all wrong, but it’s my dream! I’m blessed with this opportunity and know that god puts these desires in our hearts intentionally. We have to trust + lean into him to see them fulfilled.

Speaking of, this past weekend I was a part of a paid gig (!!!). Baby steps. It’s so satisfying to see the risks taken were worth it for a vision to come to fruition.

What about you? What is your dream job? What has scared you, but was 100% worth pursuing?

Couple hugging and smiling at each other as boy puts flower behind girls ear.

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phoebe o + co.
Photographing elopements, micro-weddings, couples and maternity in the Pacific Northwest

Anacortes and Whidbey Island, Washington
phoebe o + co.
Couples + maternity photographer serving Anacortes + Whidbey Island, Washington
phoebe o + co.