Not too long ago, I was able to watch another photographer as she photographed a wedding day. The stress of it all became all too real as I watched her eyes catch mine. She blinked back tears and pressed on, holding her head high. In an instant, I remembered that feeling all too well. Heck, I still struggle with it at times. That feeling of not being good enough, of feeling the weight of things not going as planned, or expected.
Being a business owner is a learn-as-you-grow profession. No amount of preparation, can set you up adequately on what to expect until you jump in and experience it for yourself.
When I first started my photography business I had no idea the numerous hats I would wear. Accountant, book keeper, head sales girl, advertiser, editor, writer, blogger, …. oh yeah, and photographer. Sometimes it all felt so overwhelming, and other times it felt exactly right. I’d be lying to you if I told you that it was an even mix of both– because it’s not.
BUT, those overwhelming feelings, though they may be more frequent, could never be as strong as the satisfaction of loving what you do and knowing that you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be.
To the photographer just starting out: you can either be your own biggest cheerleader, or your own worst enemy. Choose wisely, friend. Because those watching will most likely choose what you do. Whatever voice we choose to listen to, that’s the voice we give our life to. If we continually believe that we don’t measure up, we never will. But, if we continually strive to learn, grow & DO OUR BEST, we will continually pick ourselves up after we’ve fallen and keep pressing on.
Successful businesses aren’t the ones that never fail. Successful businesses are the ones that don’t let failure stop them.
The hardest part won’t be taking pictures. It will be giving yourself grace as your grow. People will criticize you. They’ll think you should “know everything”, but knowing everything takes time, and by the time you’ve learned the latest tips and tricks, new ones will arise.
If you begin your business hoping to have other’s approval, you’ll need approval to sustain you throughout your journey as well. The approval of others will only last as long as their attention span, so needing it won’t get you anywhere. As quickly as it’s given, it will be gone. And sweet friend, you are so much more than likes on an image, or comments on a blog post. So don’t waste your time refreshing pages hoping to finally find what you’re looking for. You are layers of life and lovely that are continually being added and taken away and your business is too.
Don’t start this journey hoping to be someone. Start this journey because you recognize that you ARE someone. You’re someone with a dream, and photography is a means of bringing that dream to life. Do it because it brings you joy. Chase it because there’s a part of you that wants to see what happens when you try and what you do when you fail. Allow yourself to understand why you love it– and it’s okay if it has nothing to do with the art of creating imagery. It’s okay if you love the rush of watching people come to life in your presence. It is alright if you cherish sharing priceless moments with others. It is perfectly acceptable if you are astounded by the art of freezing time.
Figure out why you love what you do, and do more of it. Listen to the voices of others, but discern that they aren’t the ones that have to live with your decisions– you do. Decide to make every moment matter…. because they do.
I’m cheering you on from the sidelines, friend,