Following Happiness

First comes love…then comes marriage…then comes a baby in a carriage! That phrase loops in my head as I look at my work calendar. Engagement session here, wedding there, newborn session later. It really is a continuous cycle of excitement! As a photographer I have the wondrous opportunity to capture the story of families. I get to meet them as a couple, then as husband and wife, and later down the road as mother and father. I get to see tiny little newborn babies grow to slobbering and gurgling toddlers to silly adorable little munchkins running everywhere!

flower skirtI love what I do. And I’m forever grateful for the steps that led me to my career…even though they were steep and sometime treacherous. It was actually my trials and triumphs over breast cancer that caused me to truly open my eyes and take a leap into the directions of my dream. Chemotherapy knocked me down pretty hard. Most days I wouldn’t have the strength even to drive my car (ok, it didn’t help that my car was stick shift at that time!). But on the rare occasions when I felt good I’d jump on the chance to go on a motorcycle ride or hang out with friends. During those times I’d always have my camera handy and take photos. Then during my icky days I was able to relive the moments by looking at when I was held hostage by our living room sofa.

Throughout my adventure with cancer I snapped away photos…with my cell phone or with my DSLR camera. It was my husband who suggested I start practicing portrait photography on days when I had energy enough to get up and about. So I did! I started with friends then on to friends of friends. It was amazing! Each time I did a session I had a wonderful time of socializing and being surrounded by happy energy. I would work on the images on the days when I was home bound. Then whenever I revealed the images to them their heartfelt gratitude always warmed my heart. I had found my calling!

In truth, I still went back to my high stress job after chemo and radiation. But I took the next step and started doing photography part-time on the side as something to look forward to. It wasn’t until the end of 2011 that I just couldn’t stand my job anymore. It got to the point that waking up in the morning filled me with dread and made me sick to the stomach thinking of my 8 hour day ahead. I had just gone through the hardest time of my life and knowing that stress may have been a part of what triggered my breast cancer was a big epiphany. What was I doing continuing a path that cause me such heartache?!? Shame on me!So I took the leap. I left my job and started a career. I followed my heart and started doing photography full-time. I’ve been cancer free three years now and that goes hand in hand with how long I’ve been self-employed. I’ve met so many wonderful people (both clients and networking) and have really flourished as a photographer. There may be many negative things that cancer represents, but for me, it was a stepping stone to following my path of self discovery and healing.

Jaymie Smith About Jaymie Smith

Jaymie 'Pyxie' Smith is a full-time portrait and wedding photographer based in Roseville, CA - Pyxie Studios. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2011 and has kicked cancer in the tush with the same gusto she puts into her work. Pyxie also has had a lifelong passion with music and dancing. She found that the combination helped greatly with healing her physically and spiritually during and after her bout with cancer.


  1. I love your story Jaymie. It is a shame that so many of us need a 2×4 to the head but I am grateful for the insight and you clearly are as well. I love your work!

    • Jaymie Smith says:

      Thank you Marsha! Let me tell ya, it still a continuing battle to balance everything. Then again, without the ups and downs life would be a bit boring eh? 😉

  2. Angela Ridgway says:

    What a great story Jaymie! I’ve seen you in action and it is obvious you love what you do! And it shows in the results. Isn’t it amazing how we find our passions? I’m so glad something so positive came from your triumph!

    • You are a true inspiration Jaymie. I for one am very happy for your continued recovery. And Devyn gets so much of that enthusiasm and love for your shared passion of photography in the Wellness Within Photo classes. You Rock!

      • Jaymie Smith says:

        I absolutely treasure seeing Devyn’s personality develop and her love of photography expand. It’s a reflection right back at me, a constant reminder why I love doing what I do. =^_^=

    • Jaymie Smith says:

      Thank you Angela! I’ve had so much joy working with you and will miss your presence. Best of luck on your move and new adventure! *hugs*

  3. Beautifully written, Jaymie. I love your positive energy. It’s the way you get people to see the beauty in the world around us and your ability to bring out the innate creativity in all of us. You are a huge inspiration for me and I feel very fortunate to know you.

    • Jaymie Smith says:

      Thank you Jeff! The best part of seeing the beauty in this world is seeing it with friends and loved ones. I hope you and your family have a fun-tastic time in Africa. I can’t wait to see pictures! You totally rock at landscape photography!

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