The photography business can be BRUTAL, especially with so many amazing artists out there. After talking with many photographers in my area and seeing how they work, I have realized that their whys and how’s are much different than mine.
This is not necessarily a bad thing; I am proud of what I have built and continue to develop. It’s the being told “oh you’re just different than everybody here” or “you don’t belong here” that I have to get over. And no, I haven’t entirely gotten over it, and nor will I ever. But I think instead of making it bring me down; it continues to push me to prove to myself that there IS a reason I am different.
It also made me realize that I need to stop putting energy towards relationships and social functions that don’t return the energy.
When I got into photography, I used it to help cope with the loss of my father and grew to love the medium. I never started it thinking that it would become a source of income.
Doing that I think automatically set me aside from others in the area. I started slow, shooting landscapes and wanted to learn how to work every button on the camera to figure out how it all works. That’s a little bit of the techie in me.
Only after years of playing with landscapes did I get approached to start shooting portraits. Even then, I was uncomfortable charging as I was still very much learning everything. A year or so down the road, my brother-in-law asked me to shoot his wedding. Luckily it was a small family event, or I would have backed out so fast. From there, it’s just taken off.
One of my greatest pleasures in all of this has been to help others in need. Wether its a local non-profit throwing an event, small business owners who are trying their best to grow their own business or the awesome couples and families I get to meet and capture their forever moment.
However, One of the hardest things for me has been networking and building everything. With not thinking this would turn into a business, I didn’t start anything until a few years after shooting weddings. With some capital in my bank account, I could afford ads, a proper website, and all the other “fun” business necessities. Not to mention the drinks I need to even attend a networking function. Go, go social anxiety!
I’ve been lucky to find a few ladies just like me that have helped me push myself to do all of those things and support each other when we need it. Also, it’s all my husband’s fault. He got me my first camera and continues to push me off the cliff trying to make big decisions.
I have never been one to fit in. The “popular” groups overlook me, I don’t do cliques, I’ve never been into the current trends, and what people classify as “girly” and what I should be doing, I am usually found doing the exact opposite. Hiking, supporting our local breweries, cheering on the roller derby, and generally just having fun with life. So being an outsider has me constantly questioning if I am even doing the right thing if people actually like my work, or even if people like me. That’s my anxiety kicking in again.
Lately, it’s gotten me to think if all of that actually isn’t a bad thing. My work doesn’t blend in with others, so I stand out a little bit more, but it’s less appealing to those who follow all the current, trending styles. Learning that this is a good thing has taken a LONG time. Blend that with my social anxiety and my intovertness, and it has been a bumpy road.
But this year I am making a pact with myself and I am going to stop second-guessing what I love to do in my art and to stop trying to force these interactions with people who are only out for their own good. Putting so much energy out there without getting much in return is so draining. Stepping back from “networking” groups and relationships that just don’t work.
So, here I am. I bring a different style than what is popular. Thinking outside the box and bringing new, fresh ideas to things.
When I attended WPPI in late February, I went to a class that made me wake up to my style and that I shouldn’t mute or hide it like I’ve been told. Maybe I should listen to the speaker who was an editor for Conde Nast and numerous publications over other locals and the voices in my head. Instead, I should embrace who I am and what I bring to the table. So you’ll see my social media coming out with my loves and passions. Probably more pictures of my dog than I should post, but he puts up with me and helps me with my anxiety in so many ways.
Just as I started, I don’t do this to be a business; I do this because I love it. The business part is just a bonus.
That’s why you see blog posts of hikes I’ve been on or other adventures. If I go too long without my camera, I get a little crazy, and my husband kicks me out of the house to go on a hike. It’s my way to decompress, to shake off the stresses of everything, and to create. I promise myself that the year 2019 is the year of me getting back to the roots of why I do photography and why I love working with all the amazing clients that I have. Hint, hint to my clients, I now offer print credits with all of my sessions as I want you to print your portraits out to enjoy.
So cheers to 2019 and bringing our authentic selves!