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Rise of the Female Breadwinners: Sarah Brooke Lyons

Photo: Photo by Sarah Lyons, License: N/A

Photo by Sarah Lyons

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Sarah Brooke Lyons

30; divorced
Children: Daughter, 8
Job title: Photographer
Estimated household income: $25,000-$50,000
Education: B.A.

How did you become the primary breadwinner?

After my divorce I really cut all ties with my ex-husband and began supporting myself entirely at that point. There’s no child support, there’s no help from her father.

Describe your job:

I’m primarily an editorial and commercial photographer. I shoot a lot of portraits— portraits of people in the business community, portraits of people that want to define their online presence and stories on people in the community. My love in photography is international work with mission organizations. It’s very rewarding.

Is your job now the career you’d always thought you’d have?

No, I always thought I’d be a librarian. But I had taken photography classes at San Antonio College and took one just for fun and ended up taking all of them. When I was a single parent getting my bachelor’s degree it made sense for me to start taking on photography work to be able to go to college and still have some flexibility with my working hours. So I started up my business so I could have that flexibility and by the time I graduated with my bachelor’s degree in early childhood education, I had established myself as photographer and kept running with it.

What is your dream job?

[Photography] is. It’s a lot of work, a lot of hours and within photography there’s a huge spectrum of different types of jobs. So there’s times when I’m shooting things that I would rather not, but within that I also get to do some pretty amazing jobs. My dream job is to be doing international [photography] work full-time. I’m not doing that now, but I hope that at some point in my career I’m able to travel a lot more with photography.

What’s the most rewarding aspect of your job?

The most rewarding aspect of my job is to help people feel good about themselves through a portrait. When people see an image of themselves that they identify with and that they feel makes them look good, that’s a really wonderful thing. And I think there’s an element of self-esteem that I can kind of encourage in people.

Also being able to help people preserve memories. I like to think that at some point in their lives, they are going to look back at the images and it’s going to hold a lot of emotional value for them. And being able to sort of capture that emotional moment in a way that they feel reflects how it actually was, that means a lot to me … when you’re in the moment, and you feel joyous and you feel happy, I want to be able to capture those emotions in that moment so when they look back, they feel those emotions again.

Where do you see yourself in five years?

Rise of SA’s Female Breadwinners
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