How to Photograph a Specific Genre of Photography

Dear Jasmine,
I am still a pretty newbie photographer who does a lot of family/children/maternity-type sessions but my heart lies in weddings. Because weddings are my end goal–but I'm not there yet skill or equipment-wise–I am hoping to fill 2015 with lots of engagement shoots since that's something I feel comfortable with at this level.
My question is, should I still take on the family/children/maternity business that comes my way for the income even though it won't be usable in my career later, and takes away from time I could be spending on my wedding/engagement goals? Or should I halt everything else and jump head first into learning weddings? What should I do?
Which Way Woes

Dear WWW,
In 2005 I received my first digital SLR. And I couldn't have been happier. I carried my camera everywhere, I shot everything, I practiced everyday…but I was no where near my prospective dream clients: brides.

In my immediate social circles (work, church, and friends), I was surrounded by young mothers, families, and girls wanting to update their social media profile pictures. When I was asked to shoot their photos, I obliged for experience's sake, but I soon realized I wasn't happy because I wasn't shooting what I wanted.

In April 2006, I made the decision to shoot only engagement sessions and weddings…because I hoped it'd get closer to my goal, faster. I quickly realized that what you shoot, is what you get more of. I didn't want to shoot family sessions, yet my name was passed among mothers at church, which manifested in more family session requests. And shooting these sessions (usually on the weekends because I had a job), sacrificed the time that could've been spent at a wedding.

When I stopped shooting families and portraits, I was forced to hustle in a different way. I had a new fire in my gut to find second shooting gigs at weddings (even if they didn't pay) because I needed to become confident and experienced. Was I bummed to stop earning money from portrait sessions? Well, yes. But soon my portfolio was built to focus solely on my goal: being an Orange County Wedding Photographer.

In April 2007, I quit my day job and became a full-time photographer. I would have ultimately met my goal, but had I tried balancing multiple shoots (with a limited schedule), it would have taken me longer.

Which Way, please understand there isn't a right/wrong way to pursue your dream. You will carve your own path and find happiness along the way. However, if you know what you want–and have the ability to freely pursue it–I say go after it with all your heart. And don't look back.

Here's to Meeting Your Goals…Faster,