A million thoughts are barreling through my head. My mind is constantly in motion, like a conveyor belt rotating around and around with the same constants and new things that pile on each day. There are big things, like the future – open ended with possibilities and little things like, I need to make sure I mail out those client thank-you notes.
I know, I know, I’m not the only one in the world who feels like this, we all have our stresses and our giant never ending to-do lists. My list is a web of things; some need to happen before others can and some can happen at the same time.
Sometimes I come to a halt in my own mind about what I need to do and what I want to do for myself and for my business. It’s important to remember that I cannot compare myself to anyone else. The real question is, why would I want to? If I’m someone else, there is a ME out there that is being wasted! It’s SO easy to say and to agree with, but to implement that change in life is the hardest part of all! It’s something I repeat to myself on the regular…”
Be YOU, be YOU, don’t worry about anyone else’s path but YOURS!” I attended a photography conference in August 2014, where one of the speakers said something that stuck with me.
“Don’t compare yourself to anyone… because you know what will happen? You will compare yourself to how other people do things differently from you, until you become paralyzed… and when you’re paralyzed you can’t do anything.”
But I sat there and really pondered those words. She was right. I can’t let comparison RUN my mind. Everyone is fighting their own fight. Everyone has a different path, that’s life. If everyone had identical paths, life would be SO boring! We wouldn’t have diversity. We all start from somewhere, with a passion and a dream.
Each decision made will push you ahead, keep you on track, or pull you behind. If every single step was so easy, then there wouldn’t be that sense of accomplishment when you finally get those puzzles pieces together. Without the struggle, how would anyone really know what they’re thankful for?
I’m thankful for so many things, and its been a good road so far. I graduated from college in 2011. I had spent 4 years learning, growing, changing, experiencing new people and places, and I was finally out of college with everyone asking me the age old question, “so, what are you going to do now?” What a loaded question.
Some of my friends already had jobs, some of my friends were moving across the country to try out something completely different, and some were planning their next steps to grad school. I went home. I got a job AND I kept taking pictures. At that point, I wasn’t really sure what I was going to do. I knew I loved photography but I wasn’t sure how I could make it a CAREER.
I had only ever photographed families and portraits but I decided I wanted to break into the wedding industry.
I haven’t shot one yet!” popped into my head and filled me with that anxious doubt that is nearly impossible to block out. In the summer of 2012, I booked my FIRST wedding AND it was a destination beach wedding in Florida! I was SO excited and nervous of course but after it was over, I thought to myself, hey, I survived.
I took photos just like I always do and it was FINE, I was FINE! I’m still learning a lot, going to workshops, meeting with local photography groups, meeting supportive photographers in the area, reading countless articles and tips online, and continuing to pursue my dream.
It might be slower than other tracks, but I’m okay. I can’t sit here and complain that I didn’t take steps sooner, because everything is unfolding one step at a time. I’m making it work at my own pace and I’m working HARD.
I still have a full-time job during the week but I work most weekends on photography and I don’t stop: I shoot wedding after wedding, some days are short and some days I’m on my feet for 10 hours, but it’s all part of the process! I’m so thankful for a supportive family that supports my dreams of becoming a professional photographer; parents and sisters and grandparents and everyone else who encourages me!
A year ago I applied to a wedding photography company that I found online. The application was easy with questions, but good ones that made me think, like 1.
What do you love about photography and why do you think you’re a good wedding photographer. At that point, I had only shot 2 weddings but I didn’t let that stop me… I explained that what I loved most about photography was capturing people… wedding or not.
I have a love for people and emotion and those photos that show true emotion and make you FEEL something. Anyone can take a photo, we have smart phones to thank, but not everyone was the “eye” or so I’ve been told…and I honestly had never thought about it until years ago someone pointed it out to me.
People would say to me, “you have such an eye for it, how do you do it?”… my response was “I don’t know, I don’t know that I’m being any different.” I just see things and I go after them. My view changed after I took my first photography class in high school.
I can’t drive anywhere without scanning the scene and setting up a shot, (if you’re on vacation with me, you might as well leave me behind!).
Anyways, back to the job… I was interviewed and hired within a month! Exciting! I’m an Associate Photographer, aka second shooter… meaning at weddings, there is also a lead shooter and we team together. It’s been an amazing experience to work with other professional photographers in the DC area and learn tips and tricks from them!
An update on current life: Since my first shoot in 2011, I’ve now shot close to 100 shoots, including 20 weddings, and countless families and senior portraits. In the beginning of the year (2014), I officially started my own business, and a month ago hired a designer to revamp and re-brand aka new logo, new website & blog, new business cards, new everything!
It’s an exciting adventure and I’m just getting started. I know the future is bright and I’ll keep looking there. It won’t always be sunshine and rainbows, there’s still a lot to figure out but I’ll continue to jump over the hurdles.
I’m so hopeful for 2015, a new brand launching January 1st!!!!, a new opening for marketing, my 2015 brides and grooms who have hired me to capture their special days, and the exciting steps ahead to learn and grow as a photographer and as a business woman.
I’m still young, I have a full heart and I’m more than thankful each day to keep on pursuing the goal.
Full heart + goals = the journey.