It's 1996. I'm skimming through University brochures in our careers room at school. What do I want to do when I grow up? I don't have a clue.
I always just assumed you get a job and that's it. Yes, you switch jobs for more money or when you get bored, but your career more or less stays the same, right?
Aged 25 and I was five years into a graduate job as a Radio Journalist. Yes, I loved my job but something was missing. I REALLY wanted to do something else more. That something else was photography.
So how do you suddenly switch from one career to another? For me it was a case of being brave and just going for it. Would it work out? I had no idea. Was it madness to leave behind a great job in radio? Maybe.
My career change plans had a slight stumbling block. I had no photography experience (apart from one evening class course). But I put my application together and applied for an MA in Photojournalism (the journalism experience sealed the deal and I was accepted on the course).
There's no doubt about it, I was WAY out of my photography depth when I started the course in 2005. It was really tough; I won't lie. My classmates had incredible portfolios while my own was a collection of snapshots.
But I loved the degree, made great friends, and learned so much. Ater graduating it opened doors for me in Photography and Picture Editing at The Press Association, Daily Telegraph and FOX TV channel.
Going back to uni isn't an option for everyone financially or practically but doing short courses (either online or an intense in person class) is worth looking into.
Building a website is another great way to get your work on show. It doesn't need to cost the earth and websites like Squarespace give you a chance to build your own for free and try before you buy. That's where I started and I pay about $100 a year for my site.
Setting up an Instagram account and learning about hashtags will get your work seen by others in the field.
If, like me, photography is the direction you want to head in, get reading. Join your local library and read tons about other photographers. We were encouraged to do this on our MA course and I've done a lot of reading recently, rediscovering some of the masters of photography and discovering new photographers.
Figure out who your favourite photographers are and learn from their work.
Magnum photos is another great resource, so settle down with a coffee and take inspiration from some of the best.
Please contact Katie through her site for more info on newborn and baby photography: www.katiecollins.co.uk