Women Branching Out: Beryl Ayn Young

BerylExcited to welcome photographer, teacher, and mompreneur Beryl Ayn Young of BerylAynYoung.com and Momtographie.com to the blog.

Beryl believes in nourishing the soul from behind the lens of a camera and you can see the results in the photos showcased here (they are all taken by her former students).

She’s the creator of the Momtographie Online E-course, a 6-week photography course, which begins May 5th.

Here’s Beryl …

Tell me about your business. Who do you love to serve and why?

My business is all about teaching photography to moms. But more importantly than simply teaching the technical basics of photography, I love sharing with moms how they can find a deeper sense of family purpose and confidence behind the lens of a camera too.


How did you discover photography?

I was gifted my first DSLR camera while pregnant for the first time, when we found out at 20 weeks that our daughter was incredibly sick. She was stillborn not long after receiving the devastating news. I used ‘her camera’ to process my grief and re-discover beauty and gratitude and joy in my broken world.

Since then I’ve been hooked on photography. It was the tool that helped me reconnect with my life. Now, I instinctively pick up my camera anytime I’m in need of
a pick-me-up. For awhile I owned a part-time business photographing children and families, but after our 2nd daughter, Brielle, was born healthy and vibrant and full of life I decided I didn’t want to be out taking photos of other families every weekend. So I put my studio to rest and instead combined passions – developing classes to teach
moms how to rock their cameras and find their own confidence and joy behind the lens.

It’s been the best of both worlds and I absolutely LOVE what I do!


You’ve been an elementary teacher and currently help other teachers incorporate technology into their classrooms, how have those experiences influenced how you teach photography?

It’s funny because teaching photography fits in so well with my role at my day job. A DSLR camera is simply a complicated piece of technology that moms need broken down into easy to understand terms. Just as there are functions on a computer that teachers may never need to use, there are also functions on a camera that a mom will never need to use. It’s my job to break down the technology into its simplest parts and show the important components to get the desired job done.


Tell us about your online class: Momtographie. What can a newbie photographer expect to learn in 6 weeks?

I’m so glad you asked about this class! It’s been in the works for awhile now, and is an online version of a class I’ve taught locally for the past 3 years. The goal of the course is to have moms using their DSLR camera to comfortably shoot in manual mode by the end of 6 weeks. I break down each weekly lessons almost like the steps and ingredients of a recipe where we layer one thing on top of another until it gives us a delicious final product. We start with tips and tricks for taking better photos and then ease into mastering technical settings like shutter speed, ISO, aperture, and light.

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How has the experience of teaching others photography impacted your life?

Teaching photography has allowed me to teach on my own terms and watch the positive impact my teaching is having first hand in my students work. As the world of public education continues to focus on more and more testing and less on creativity in the classroom, it’s been increasingly difficult for me to remain passionate about the work I do there. I feel like teaching photography has truly re-kindled my love of being a teacher.


You recently announced that you’re going full-time at your business in June. How did you feel when you reached the tipping point that made this transition possible?

When I began this journey 3 years ago, I asked a mentor how I’d ever be able to work my passion business full time. At the time, I had no clue how I would turn my business into a full time income and I felt like no one had the magic answer that would get me there.

The frustrating advice I was given by this mentor, and then again over and a over and over again from other entrepreneurs was, “You’ll just know.”

Now that I’m in this place of actually being there, on the brink of making my passion business my full time gig, I’m on a roller coaster of emotions!

I’m giddy thinking about what’s to come, excited to be able to be home for my daughter more, scared about providing financially for my family, and nervous about being my own CEO.

But that first mentor of mine was right. I just knew this year was the right time. There wasn’t any magical formula that got me to this place, there wasn’t really a point where I felt completely secure and ready. I just knew I was unhappy with where I was in my life as an elementary teacher and mom and the ideas I had for my business simply couldn’t be sustained anymore on a part-time schedule.


How has having your own business empowered you?

My business has made me realize that hard work really can reap some amazing rewards and that I truly can be in charge of my own destiny.

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Beryl Ayn Young is a wife, mama, teacher, and photographer offering photography lessons and classes to nourish the mind, body, and soul. She’s the creator of the Momtographie Online E-course offering moms a 6-week recipe for photographic success. Get a sneak peek of what Momtographie Online will offer by joining Beryl right for a FREE mini-class One Ingredient Fix. Check out her site for all the details. You can also find Beryl on Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest.

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What memory would you love to have captured in a photo? Comment below…


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  2. Sheila on at

    I love this interview, Christie! Beryl’s photography is beautiful and really captures the essence of the moment. I love that she ‘just knew’ that is so true in life, we want the answers NOW and really allowing it to unfold, we always know when the timing is right. AND I love how it unfolded to blend her true loves of teaching and photography into a business that suits her lifestyle and allows her the flexibility to have more family time. Doing what we love and allowing the answers to come, being willing to test things out and see what works and what doesn’t work, eventually we find our way. Congrats to Beryl and thank you for sharing her story!

    • christie on at

      Sheila – thank you! All the beautiful photos in this post were taken by people who’ve taken Beryl’s classes and coaching!

    • Beryl on at

      Thank you so much for these kind words. It’s been an incredible journey and it’s about to get even better!

  3. Mindy Crary on at

    LOVE this interview and what amazing pictures! I’m not a mommy, but I love these and am really inspired to find out what the heck a DSLR camera is :o) I know everybody hates the “you’ll just know” when it’s time to act, but it really is true, and Beryl’s business looks truly inspired!

    • christie on at

      Thank you Mindy! Beryl has an amazing business!

      • Beryl on at

        Thank you so much Mindy! xo.

  4. Pam Pearson on at

    I love when the candid unexpected moments are captured! I can feel Beryl’s passion for her work in your interview. Congratulations on going into your passion full time Beryl. I did quite a bit of photography when I was in high school. A different lens through which to view the world. Thanks for bringing back those memories!

    • christie on at

      I love the candid shots, too, Pam!

    • Beryl on at

      Thank you for sharing Pam – it’s been amazing to rediscover my passions this way!

  5. Sabra Sasson on at

    Fabulous interview and love the photos of the adorable children!! Just gorgeous and extra special because they were created by Beryl’s students.

    I completely understand what she meant when she said “she just knew” – it was the same for me and I get asked all of the time by my colleagues about how I came to the decision to start my own law practice.

    And, letting things just happen – letting life happen – without trying to control it so much – has been such a form of relief, in a sense. Just trusting that you are heading in the right direction, and that the answers will appear at just the right time. I have noticed that happen in many areas of my life – not just in business.

    • christie on at

      Love this Sabra “trusting that you are heading in the right direction!”

    • Beryl on at

      I love this too! I am such a control freak, I must say it’s been hard letting go of that control. It’s the constant battle of knowing I’m on the right path, but wanting to know so badly what the future holds. Next year will surely be an adventure!

  6. Cathy Sykora on at

    I could benefit from mommytographie! The best thing that ever happened to me was digital cameras and being able to take 100 photos and throw away 99 of them! I am on my second round of children…I remember to take pictures more often now…but still not enough…I get caught up in life and forget to record it!

    • christie on at

      I forget to take pictures all the time Cathy. For a while there I was the official family photog.

    • Beryl on at

      Even *I* forget to take pictures. It’s hard to strike a balance between being in the moment and being behind the lens. Momtographie will give everyone some new skill and a burst of inspiration too. I’d love to have you come join me Cathy! xo.

  7. Teresa Deak on at

    How wonderful to meet Beryl! Thank you for this lovely interview, Christie. I also have healed my life and dipped into gratitude and joy through photography, so I know just how powerful it can be. What a beautiful way to bring that healing into the world.
    Hugs and butterflies,

    • Beryl on at

      Thank you so much for these kind words. xo.

  8. Julie Geigle on at

    Those pictures are amazing. I’m not sure which one I like best – it’s a tie between the girl with the balloons and the girl with the lollipop and crazy glasses. You truly are gifted.

    • Beryl on at

      Thank you!! All images were taken by my student…and just like you they all make me smile! 🙂

  9. eyenie on at

    What an inspiring woman and amazing story! How beautiful that she used her grief to uncover and develop her passion! And it’s comforting to hear that she “just knew” like everyone said she would about going full-time in her own business. Those photos are WOW, and I would adore capturing my tiny human like that–I will be checkig out her site. Thank you for introducing her here Christie! 🙂

    • Beryl on at

      Thank you so much! And I would LOVE to have you stop by check out my site. xo.

  10. What a lovely story – it just goes to show you can achieve anything. How sad to hear about the stillborn baby, but what a wonderful & positive gift she also brought in hindsight.
    Thank you for the inspiration yet again!

    • Beryl on at

      Thanks so much for your kind words. I’m also grateful to have been able to experience such joy following the tragic loss of our daughter. xo.

  11. Claire on at

    A really great interview and stunning photographs. The course sounds brilliant and well organised. I have a DSLR camera and don’t know where to start with it, so something like this would be amazing.

    • Beryl on at

      Thank you Claire! Good luck with your DSLR, it can be daunting and scary to figure out how all of those buttons work at first, but it’s oh so worth it in the end! xo.

  12. Jessica on at

    WOW, the moms in my crowd are going to LOVE this! Christie, you always come up with the most fascinating new contacts/resources! Beryl’s story is moving and inspiring — for me, the best part is how she MADE a way to make her work fit her priorities. Yay!!!

    • Beryl on at

      Thanks Jessica! This has certainly been an incredible journey so far, and it certainly has been about finding balance along the way! xo.

  13. Leah Shapiro on at

    What a moving story and gorgeous pictures. I love how she used photography to move through her grief.

    This line sums it up for me- “I truly can be in charge of my own destiny.”

    • Beryl on at

      Thanks so much for your kind words! xo.

  14. Gorgeous all around: the photo, the story, how she moved through grief and found her way. So very inspiring. As a mom I want to learn to take better photos than the ones I take on my iPhone. Soon…

    I love the last line: My business has made me realize that hard work really can reap some amazing rewards and that I truly can be in charge of my own destiny.

    How true!

    • Beryl on at

      Tracey — I actually still take plenty of photos on my iPhone too. 😉 But there is certainly power in knowing how to use a camera beyond that iPhone too. Thanks so much for commenting! xo.

  15. Great interview and stunning images. Moving. Really enjoy what you share.

    • Beryl on at

      Thanks so much for your kind words. xo.

  16. Inga Deksne on at

    Christie, you cannot imagine how important for me was to read this interview. I’ve started reading admiring the beauty of photos, acknowledging how creative and useful Beryl’s business is, and then the main part came – the announcement of going into her own business full time. I’m pondering about this idea for some quite time and even announced to my boss that I want to quit but then agreed to stay but on my own terms. This week I decided that I am collecting evidences that it’s time for me to take a leap. Coincidentally June is the time in my mind when I would like to do it too, and it was important for me to read the following sentences: “…There wasn’t any magical formula that got me to this place, there wasn’t really a point where I felt completely secure and ready..” that made everything so clear for me. thank you for inspiration, Christie and Beryl!

    • Beryl on at

      Inga, I’m SO glad you found this helpful. Like you I started having conversations with my boss last Spring about wanting to quit (I am fortunate that we get along well and announcing that did not affect our working relationship). However, I realized quickly into this fall that choosing to stay was not the right choice. So now I leap, and I wish you luck in doing the same! xo.