It has been three years ago today that I wrote my first blog post.
When I wrote it, I was 20 weeks pregnant with you Elle. I got the idea to start a blog from lurking on the bump message boards- others moms had them and I wanted one too as a way to remember how I was feeling about impending motherhood.
After you were born Elle, I got a new itch. I wanted a better way to capture this experience, beyond just writing stories, I wanted to remember the exact blue of your eyes.
My interest in photography actually began in middle school where I took a photography class (with dark rooms and film cameras). When I met your dad in high school, we had my moms camera from the 70's, which we shot on manual and got our film developed- mostly black and white. In 2004, after my freshman year in college, your dad and I got a film only SLR (a Nikon N80) for a trip to New Zealand and Austrailia. Your dad wanted to shoot in auto so we kept it in that mode so we could both use it. We used that camera on and off for a few years until it just stayed on the shelf. Life itself was pretty uninspiring. We were working full time jobs, not doing much worth photographing.
When I jumped back into photography (Elle you were about 2 months old), I decided to go the digital route. Back when we got our N80, your dad and I were total film snobs and though digital was going to ruin photography forever. But when I got back into it, digital was the thing to do. Plus I wanted to learn to edit and use photoshop.
I was as giddy as a school girl when my Nikon D90 and a 50mm 1.8 lens came in the mail. I found a couple photography message boards as I was a bit lost. Those boards helped me grow. Of course, manual was not that scary for me but it was different on a digital body and I had never edited before. I figured out what I wanted my style to look but it took me a long time to be able to edit that way consistently (think almost 2 years). I would buy actions just to dissect them work backwards. I would ask endless questions on photoshop boards, but I figured it out.
About 8 months in (before I had my style down), I decided that I might want to do this as a business. And from the moment I said that out loud, I felt so much pressure. Pressure to suddenly take perfect pictures, start my business the perfect way. I became consumed with what others thought about me and my pictures. What they thought about my brand and my style. I portfolio built for free for a year and a half just to make sure I really wanted to do it. And I loved all of it. But there was still too much input from others and I was spending too much time looking at others peoples work, comparing and feeling sad, like I would never be where they were.
One day, I decided I was never going to make it like this. So I unliked a ton of facebook pages of other professional photographers. I found a few key photographers whose work I loved (most of it is not even a similar style) for inspiration. I got off most of my message boards except a small one and just let my work...be.
And when I did that, a huge weight lifted. I never in my life thought I would be making a living as a person who creates something. And I still feel far from "artist". But I do feel like I produce work that makes my clients smile. And that is quite a beautiful way to make money.
I am excited to see where this journey takes me as I am only in the very beginning steps. Here is a a little progression from there to now, just for fun.
First newborn, eek.
Then I had a bit of a jump in progress.
Discovered I love non-posed newborns & started charging
I certainly don't have it all figured out and I have miles to grow as a photographer. In the next couple years I want to be better at composition, white balance and creativity. I would caution someone starting out to use the internet as a way to learn and grow, but if you feel it taking over the way you view your work, step back and re-eveluate.
My mother, who is a nurse, thought for sure that one of her daughters would follow in her footsteps and become a nurse as well and neither of us did. So I won't wish or think that one you of you will follow my footsteps but I do hope you find a way to turn your passion into a career. To turn your play into work.
I count photography as a love in my life. It has given me a much needed outlet, a way to capture the beauty of your childhoods and give the gift of captured memories to strangers who often become friends.
So cheers to passion. And following dreams. And knowing when it is ok to trust yourself.