On Photography

I have been really doing some thinking about photography and how it plays a part in my life. I have taken photos for as long as I can remember. I take pride in the photographs that I have from my childhood and beyond. I took photography in college as something to fill my schedule. It was an introduction to photography. We learned about the basics and how to develop our own black and white film and prints. It was one of my favorite things to do. I started taking photos for class more and more. Then I took studio photography and started photographing people. It was something I wasn’t really used to. I had done mostly nature photography until then.

I started taking more photos of people outside of school. I did senior photos for my sister and loved the process. She loved them and shared them with her friends and they loved them too. It took off from there. I got a love and satisfaction from taking photos of people and having them love them and share them. I never meant for it to be a career option. I had people asking me to take photos of them and I happily obliged.

I started with families, kids, senior photos, even a wedding. I just wanted to see what it is I wanted to do and what I was good at. Also what people would pay me for. I had no idea what it was to run a business. I didn’t have the proper systems and place and eventually the money ran out and people stopped coming to me to take their photo. I had to start advertising and marketing. I had become so greedy about the money that the rest of it suffered. I became so discouraged when I wasn’t getting any clients. I thought I wasn’t good enough, that my work wasn’t good enough and then I started the comparison game. I looked to other photographers work for ideas to market, what were they doing that I was not. It didn’t help me, instead it became a jealous match. They were getting clients, there work was better than mine, they got more likes/comments/etc and I was crap. I beat myself up to the point I didn’t want to do any of it anymore. I walked away. I took some time away for a short while and I missed it.

I posted on facebook that I was bored and wanted to do a shoot. A woman responded and her idea was for a pin up shoot. I had never done one before but always wanted to. So I drove the hour to her apartment and we started shooting. I fell in love! The outfit, the apartment, her confidence, and her reaction to seeing them. I went home with a new spring in my step and an excitement that I hadn’t had in a long time. It was then I found a love for boudoir. I posted some photos to share and the reaction was incredible. They loved them and they were asking for more. So I did some more! I did a marathon session with 5 women, we rented a hotel room, I had hair and make up, got refreshments and food and just had a great time! I was exhausted from shooting all day and into the night but I was excited. I edited the photos and I showed them to the women. They were deeply moved and looked at them and saw a woman that they didn’t know was possible. I had one woman in tears saying I didn’t know I could be this beautiful. In those moments I realized what my purpose was in photography. It wasn’t about taking photos of cute kids or adorable babies. Everyone thinks their kids are cute and are going to love it, sure I could make a lot of money from it but I can’t fill my soul with money.

The fulfillment I got from photographing women is not able to be fully measured. I knew I had a mission that I wanted all the women I photographed to feel that amazing and beautiful. So I decided to focus solely on boudoir. Again at the beginning things were great, I had clients and was making money again. The biggest hurdle with boudoir photography is being able to share the photos. I lost permission from some of the women I had permission before and women didn’t want their intimate photos shared and I understood. Well in the visual medium that is photography, in order to get clients they have to be able to see what you can do and without work to show that’s hard. So here I was yet again, it seems to be a vicious cycle. Chasing the money for photos because I know there is money to be made. I stopped doing photos just for me and only for paying clients and when there was no clients to pay I got discouraged.

My last client was a year ago. I have been really doing some thinking if I even enjoyed photography anymore. I decided to give myself the time off from it completely to decide. I turned away customers who wanted to pay, I didn’t do any advertising or posting. I hadn’t touched my camera in months. It was actually this blog that got my camera out again. I decided to start a blog about a year ago, writing posts on my phone and thinking of them in my head but I never took it farther than that. Then I did and I remembered just how much I loved taking photos. This time I was taking them just for me, no deadlines to edit, no clients to satisfy, and no pressure. It got me thinking about trying to do photography as a career one last time.

So for the last couple of months I have been giving it some thought. What would I do differently? What worked and didn’t work from before. Did I want to do just boudoir again or give the other genres a shot? I have been reading my emails from mentors that I just never got around to deleting. Getting inspired again. But this time I’m doing things a little different. I have a new way of thinking about it and I am putting a plan in place. I am giving it my all this time and I’m not rushing anything. As far as I’m concerned this is my second chance and if it doesn’t work out then I know that I did everything I could to make it work. So I’m back and I’m excited. I can’t wait to share more about my new photographic journey.

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