Sarah McAffry has zero professional training with a camera, a fact she readily admits when remembering the shift she made from high school English teacher to full-time photographer. With a desire to take good photos, she taught herself the basics and honed her eye for the trade. When it came time to pull the trigger on a new profession, Sarah watched as everything aligned.

“One summer I planned to go back to teaching, but I felt a clear calling not to,” she says. “The day I resigned, I remember telling my principal, ‘I have no idea why I’m doing this.’ Hours later, a photographer called at lunchtime to say she’s leaving the country and did I want to rent her studio. I said yes.”

Years later, Sarah and her husband, Andrew, enjoy an unconventional life. He stays home with their three kids while she photographs families and seniors across east Tennessee. She’s on her third studio and maintains a waiting list for folks who want her to capture their best angle. On Instagram, which can be a wasteful space for the uninspired, Sarah strives to have an impact and share simple, fun moments alongside those fueled by gratitude. Essentially, she wants to encourage her friends and followers alike, give them a nudge of goodwill and continue down the path of following her passion.

“I want them to know that I desire to live with intention. As a photographer, I try to be mission-minded,” Sarah says. “It looks like pretty pictures and could be seen as superficial, but I just spoke to folks at a nursing home and pictures are pretty important to them. I want everything to be purposed and make an impact in a meaningful way.”

Instagram: @sarahmcaffry