Remember that winding sound? The click, click, click, click of the dial on a disposable camera? And then that purring whine of the flash re-charging? If you're old enough- you remember. When I close my eyes and think back- that was the sound of the beginning of my photography journey. 

We were on a first name basis at the Walmart photo counter as soon as I turned 16. Every weekend I'd drop off a disposable camera full of that week's highlights and browse the craft aisles for an hour until I could pick them up. (What- first name status at Walmart is not something a lot of people brag about? pshhh...)

Before I knew anything about exposure or aperture or shutter speed, I knew the most important thing about photography to me: I wanted to freeze moments to look back on someday.

I always spent at least one night of the week on my bedroom floor surrounded by edging scissors, construction paper and rubber cement, listening to Train, and putting those photos into scrapbooks.

Yeah... I didn't have a lot of boyfriends, but I had books and shoeboxes full of memories.

These days, I'm no longer winding up disposable cameras, and they no longer know my name at the one-hour photo counter. I've studied the heck out of the technical side of photography, and now most of the photos I take are for other people. But a few things haven't changed. I still have a passion for freezing moments in time- both for myself and for my clients; I've still got all of those scrapbooks full of memories; and I still listen to a whole lot of Train.

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A Little (Okay, A Long) Timeline…

I've loved photographs since I was a kid. I started with disposable cameras, bought my first digital point-and-shoot back in college, and started really getting my feet wet in 2012 when I bought a dSLR and thought that made me a photographer. Spoiler Alert: IT DID NOT.

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In 2013 I left my marketing job and took off on a backpacking trip to Southeast Asia and had my camera attached to my hand. I got lucky and nailed a few shots that were used by other people- so that cemented in my head that maybe I really was a photographer. Spoiler Alert #2: I WAS NOT. 

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After falling in love with a really cute boy, I moved to Okinawa, Japan in 2014. For a while I dabbled in family photography because it perfectly combined my love of kids with my love of creating art. For the first year in Japan I was busy working as a website manager for an English toursim site, and realized just how much work it took for people to really make a living as a photographer, so photography just remained my part-time side hustle UNTIL ... I went to India.

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In 2016, I spent six weeks in India doing 200-hour Yoga Teacher Training Course, (because I was planning to come back to Japan with two side hustles: a photographer and a yoga teacher) It wasn't until the fifth or sixth time that I begged out of dinner to host a sunset photo shoot that someone finally said, "It's so much fun to watch you do what you love." I was surprised. We were all here because we loved yoga and wanted to teach it. "You mean yoga, right?" I asked her. "Well, no- I actually meant photography." I couldn't get that out of my head for the rest of the trip. Why was I so hesitant to pursue this interest of mine. When I returned to Japan in April I decided that it was time to quit making excuses, so I ditched everything else and turned my photography side-hustle into a busienss. I launched my website mindyarnholt.com the following month. 

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But final spoiler alert: A website does not a photographer make. Isn't it funny that the more you know, the more you realize you don't know? It wasn't until I really delved into photography that I found it harder and harder to call myself a photographer. In 2012- I really thought I was! By 2016, I knew how much I didn't know. I'd find myself comparing my work to others and would feel like a fraud. I'd find myself studying depth of field because I realized my focus point was on the lashes and not the iris. I'd find myself studying lighting because I found the shadows on my newborns too harsh. I spent hundreds of hours learning varying editing styles because I was still trying to nail a style that felt like my own. And you know what? Somewhere during all of that worrying... I became a photographer. 

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In 2017 my husband, Dane and I moved from Japan to Spokane, and decided that I would not only keep working in photography full time, but that we were interested in buying a house with room for a newborn studio. We ended up filming an episode of HGTV's House Hunters (which was a bit surreal) and ended up with the perfect space to open Mindy Arnholt Photography, in Indian Trail. 

   

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