If you had asked me a year ago if I thought today would come, I’d say low chance of that ever taking off. If you had asked me 2 years ago if I’d ever pick up a camera, I’d point to my phone and say that there is a camera in it. Ask me today how long this will last, No idea but I’m hoping till I have arthritis in my hands and then some till I cant hold a camera anymore.
I’m so happy that I made it this far because its only been a year and I nearly stopped a few times when I was lacking motivation. Imagine if I actually had stopped. Photography has given me so much purpose and joy. It has given me a creative outlet, new friends, adventures to new places and so much more! If I had stopped I wouldn’t have near as much fun as I do now!
Today I’m sharing some of the most valuable lessons I learned in my first year. Yes, some of them are cheesy. But they are tried and true!
You have heard this phrase before, I’m sure of it. But it’s true. Comparison truly is the theft of joy. I had a mindset switch recently that everyone has different work processes and help in their business, so when I saw that someone was posting about how many sessions or weddings or whatever they are doing I would think I wasn’t as successful. But the truth is that I don’t know what kind of help they have, or if they have another job, or other commitments or their business is the only thing they do. Me, I have another job, and school, puppy training, a lot of things happening in my life and as much as I would love to drop everything else in my life to focus on photography I know that at the moment I cant (for now).
The only person I am comparing myself to now is…myself because I know I have grown so much in the last year in so many different ways! And I’m so proud of what I’ve been able to do.
It takes money to make money…that’s true. Investing in gear, education and a few others is ultimately investing in yourself. If I didn’t sign up for some courses I promise I wouldn’t be doing what I’m doing today. I look at some of my photos I took before these courses and it’s totally different. I’ve refined my style and found something I love, and that wouldn’t have happened if I didn’t invest in myself. If I didn’t no one else would!
This is close to what I had just mentioned above, but if I had stopped learning how to be the photographer I’m today I wouldn’t have evolved into who I am today. When I got to a place where I was sorta feeling my work I could have stopped there, but I kept investing into myself and now I’m obsessed with the images I’m taking.
I spent a lot of time and money to be able to do what I’m doing now, I know I’m not stopping anytime soon but what if all that was for nothing. That scared the crap out of me that it could fail at any moment. What if no one likes my photos, what if no one books me, what if I suck and never use my camera again…..but what if I succeed. I was terrified when I got a new camera that was 5 times as much as my first camera was, because what if the investment doesn’t pay out…but it has.
Putting myself out there is scary, I’m not an extrovert by any means, but who is going to find me if I keep hiding….so I changed a little and started putting myself out there. These are just a few of the things that scared me but look at me now, if I didn’t do any of those things I wouldn’t be as happy as I am today. Change can be terrifying, but how will you know if it works till you try it.
Plot twist, I get ghosted…..A LOT. Of course, when I get an inquiry I get really excited and imagine being booked on the spot. But that doesn’t always happen, and I’m alright with that. I almost got booked for a really awesome wedding at a gorgeous venue. They liked my work and my prices and I had sent a contract over, but I was left on reading. Yes, I was excited but I knew that somewhere out there another photographer was ecstatic to get the booking as well, turns out that weekend I got super sick so it worked out in the end. Imagine if I had gone to that wedding and made myself worse.
I’m a firm believer that everything works out for the best. I’ve also had a few bookings that had to get rescheduled either by date or having to change locations due to weather, while it would have been amazing before changing it always ends up being way better than we expected! Trust in what happens!
I talked to someone who does weddings every week and a few hourly sessions during the week, thinking about that gets me excited but I know personally for me that would not work. I know I would be tired and burned out, and for me, photography is so much fun and brings me so much purpose, I would lose that happiness if I overworked myself. That’s just one example, but we can touch on almost every subject with this. But if you are reading this my main takeaway is to do what is best for you!
Sometimes I feel selfish when I make my happiness a priority because I want to be as successful as possible and I am such a people pleaser. But hear me out, certain inquires I get are for things that would not make me happy, and would prefer not to book again. But that’s okay! Just because it’s not the best fit with me doesn’t mean that they won’t be a great fit with someone else! If I don’t love the work that I’m doing and it’s not making me happy to do, how do I expect anyone else to?
This may come as a shock, but I didn’t wake up one day and say “I WISH I WAS A PHOTOGRAPHER!”. If you haven’t heard my backstory Ill give you the short version. I bought my first camera at the beginning of 2020 so I could take kick-ass vacation photos. We had 3 amazing vacations set up through 2020….the world shut down…the camera was past its return date…..I learned to use it and practiced for when we could travel again….and I started practicing taking portraits on friends…made an Instagram account….someone wanted an anniversary session….and here I am now!
If I had told myself to wait till the right time to start this I would still be waiting or MAYBE just now getting started. I have been told so many times that this wasn’t the right time to start a business. Why would I start something during a pandemic? Why invest so much right now when it’s not safe? Why risk it? I told myself to do it anyways. There is never a right time, just time.