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Embracing Change Essay

My name is Linda Finstad, and I am a middle aged English woman. Every year for as long as I can remember I made the same “To Do List” of New Years Resolutions that would make me slimmer, fitter, even a nicer person. Every year for as long as I can remember I had to re-make those very same resolutions come the first of January.

Then, on my 45th birthday, I had a light bulb moment. Instead of lamenting that I was middle aged and gravity was having a negative effect on my appearance, I thought “What if I live to be 90? I may only be half way through my life! I may have another 45 years to complete any task I set my mind to.”

I didn’t want to follow the pattern of the previous 20 or so years. It time for something completely different. I decided to make a radical mid-life career change and become a Professional Photographer.

A worthy goal to be sure. However, I don’t know whether it’s a cultural thing, but middle-aged English women rarely go back to school; typically they join a women’s institute or volunteer at the local hospital. This made my New Year’s resolution to go back to school to learn a new profession extremely shocking to my friends and family.

They thought this one would end up like those of years gone by. Failed and forgotten by February. They were certain that the sheer volume of work involved in learning create professional images would overwhelm me and cause me to quit and take up knitting instead.

They were truly shocked when I enrolled for classes at Metro collage, and even more shocked by my genuine enthusiasm to learn everything I possibly could about digital photography, creative lighting and composition.

After completing all the courses available I still desired to learn more, so I enrolled with an on-line photography school ( and completed another 100 lessons on advanced lighting and commercial photography.

You really can teach an old dog new tricks – by the end of the year I was ready to launch my new business – A Sharper Image – Commercial Photography. It was launched in January, 2006, exactly one year post my New Years resolution to become a photographer.

My target market was small to medium businesses that needed sharp, creative images of their products that they could use in brochures/ advertising and on the internet.

Over the course of my first year I have shot everything from food to fashion, art, and some architecture, Along with a slight diversion from the original plan I attended Equine events where I photographed the competitors, which led to opportunities to do farm shoots where families and their animals would gather at a farm for outdoor photo sessions with their horses, dogs and cats. This was great fun for everyone – especially me.

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