(Courtesy photo)

GAYLORD – Being a photographer was a talent Miranda (House) Ciszewski says she “stumbled upon” in her senior year in high school at Johannesburg-Lewiston Area Schools. 

“My cousin ended up doing my senior pictures, just because I wanted to feel more comfortable with it,” says Miranda. She never really cared for having her own picture taken. 

Then, the foreign exchange student living with Miranda’s family wanted her senior pictures taken. 

“So, then I took my mom’s camera and took her senior pictures. And afterward, I thought, ‘This is kind of fun.’ So, I started playing around with it.”

The next year another cousin wanted Miranda to take his pictures.

“From there it took off into a hobby. I just really enjoyed it. So from there, I was looking forward to doing it at college. Then [the Spring Arbor University staff] told me I would have to do art classes, like actual drawing, I was terrible at it. So I was like, ‘Nope.’”

Miranda changed her major several times after that, but the photography remained important. Then, she learned of an internship at her best friend’s brother and sister-in-law’s photography studio down in Tennessee. So, she left college to get some on-the-job training.

While there, Miranda ran the office, then job-shadowed them on shoots and learned about cameras. She had hoped to eventually go to work with them as a full-time employee. Several months later, when her father collapsed from a heart problem, she returned to Johannesburg to help care for him. 

After he was well on his way to recovery, she returned to Tennessee to continue her internship. The adjustment back to life away from her family proved too difficult. Eventually, she decided to return home, where she took on various side jobs and kept up photography in her spare time. That is when she also began dating Taylor James Ciszewski, who she married.

Throughout her journey to becoming a professional photographer, Miranda says she kept praying. She prayed in college when she had to decide whether to try out for the internship in Tennessee. She prayed all the time for God to reveal His plan to her regarding her use of photography.

“I don’t necessarily hear [God’s] words, but I feel them. I can feel when it’s a yes or a no. For a long time I have wanted to go full-time, but I hadn’t felt Him saying yes. My husband and I kept praying about it and we’d take little steps.”

Finally, this fall, she felt God telling her it was time.  She turned in her resignation to Johannesburg-Lewiston schools at the end of December. This new year, God has opened a whole new door for her.

“It takes a lot of discipline,” says Miranda of self-employment. She keeps business hours from about 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. The job gives her lots of flexibility and allows her to create her own schedule, keeping time open to spend with her husband. Typically, she does her small shoots during the week and saves her long shoots, like weddings, for the weekends.

Miranda does a variety of photography for her clients: wedding, engagement, newborn, family, sports, senior and creative. She recently did a fitness shoot.

Miranda describes her style of photography as very laid-back. She loves to experiment with different ideas. One family wanted their children’s photos taken in their various sports uniforms. Above all, Miranda likes to kept her photos as natural-looking as possible. 

Photography as a from of self-employment isn’t without its challenges however. Today, with most people carrying a camera inside their phones, making it easy to take photos often, there is a lot of competition. Many others do photography as a hobby.

Miranda is also aware however that just because God has said yes now doesn’t mean this job will last forever. But, for now, she is enjoying the season God has given her to do this.

“It’s all in God’s timing,” she admits.

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Kurt J. Kolka grew up in the small community of Grayling, Mich., near the forested AuSable River. After majoring in English at college, he began a career in writing and newspapers spanning more than two decades. In his spare time he creates a Christian comic strip, The Cardinal, which has a 28-year history of publication. He has also authored a book, “Bullying is No Laughing Matter” (Front Edge Publications, Ann Arbor, Mich., 2014) and is working on his first novel. Kurt and his wife Diane have been married for more than 25 years and have one daughter, Rebekah, and an overprotective dog, Alli. Of life, Kurt says, “Life is never dull with God at the steering wheel, but, man, does He have a lead foot!” More about Kurt and his musings may be found at www.betweenthepines.org.

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