We had the good fortune of connecting with Courtney Nowlin and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Courtney, the decisions we make often shape our story in profound ways. What was one of the most difficult decisions you’ve had to make?
In the past seven years the hardest decision I had to make would definitely be packing up my life in my small town and moving to the city. Little did I know it was everything I needed for myself, my marriage, and my business. When my wife received the call that she had gotten a new job and we had to move in less than a week, we had no time to think about it. In reality I think not having time to think was the best thing for us. All I knew my entire life was what was around me, This was a town where everyone knew everyone, but it was home and leaving it was terrifying. Moving to Houston was bittersweet for me. I felt like I was leaving everything and everyone I loved, but I also knew that I needed this move more than anything. We loaded up our car with no hesitation and moved everything we owned to what we now call home. In the beginning I did not think I would be able to make it out here doing what I was so very passionate about. I advertised, I offered free sessions; I spent so endless nights perfecting my craft. Needless to say the past two years have been nothing short of amazing. I went from booking 1-2 weddings a year to now booking 40+ weddings a year. I went from having to work a full time job along with photography to this now being my full time career. Being able to wake up every morning and do what I love made leaving that small town I was so comfortable in so worth it.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I feel that being able to capture authentic and raw emotion in my images really sets me a part from a lot of other creatives. When you book be you are not just booking a photography but someone who is going to tell your story in its most authentic form. Getting to where I am today has not been an easy road at all. I started my photography journey when I was a sophomore in high school. There was never a time I didn’t have a camera in my hand and my friends were always modeling for me. For years I would use my family and friends just to practice because this was something I was so passionate about. Being only a teenager, I never thought it would become my career; there was no was that I could do something I loved so much for work… Being in such a small town with an oversaturated market for photography it definitely was not something I could do full time for work, at least not at the time. It wasn’t until I moved to Houston that my business really blossomed and I am so glad that I was able to start fresh here. Over the past two years I have gained so much knowledge and have built such a beautiful clientele that I wouldn’t have gotten unless I took that leap of faith, packed up my car, and moved. My biggest lesson I have learned being in this industry is DO NOT COMPARE YOUR WORK TO OTHERS and I often have to repeat that to myself. It is so easy to get caught up looking through so many beautiful images wishing you were “that good” but in reality you are that good!! Being a creative is hard because we are constantly picking apart our art when it is already perfect. I think what I want everyone to know about myself is that this was not handed to me. I did not just pick up a camera one day and say, hey I am a photographer. No, what I did is pick up a camera and fell in love with freezing memories; the good, that bad, the beautiful, and the ugly. It became an outlet for me to turn the most broken things into beautiful art, it was my passion. That same spark I have all those years ago is still burning in me today and every time I get to create it just keeps it lit. And that is the kind of passion every person in this industry should have because you are trusting us with your memories.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
There are so many favorites places in Texas that I absolutely adore. First stop would definitely be Flying biscuit cafe for breakfast because the truly have the best biscuits along with the best pancakes. We would then travel to good ole Huntsville, Tx to Blue Lagoon. This place is seriously magical! You get you own private swimming area with crystal blue water to enjoy all day long. We would probably love it so much we would stay the next ay as well. We would travel back to Houston and end up having brunch at Eggcelence Cafe because well, who doesn’t love brunch? Dinner would definitely be held at La Lucha, seriously the best friend chicken I have ever had.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
My wife has definitely been one of my biggest supporters and is always there to cheer me on and remind me that I am worthy. She never lets me forget that I am good enough and that even though this industry can be rough at times I am good enough. Another person who has really helped me flourish the past year would Definitely have to be my friend Fawn, she owns Fawn & Bee Co. which is a videography company based out of Houston. She has helped me come out of my creative shell and really push my boundaries. Not to mention she is my personal hype woman. I believe that in this line of work you truly need a strong group of people who support you and believe in you and I have just that.