My entire photography journey has been selfish.
It feels silly to say that out loud. But it's completely true. I started because I needed something to help me grieve the loss of my son. I picked up my camera determined to learn something new and cope, learning to see the world differently because I NEEDED to.
I started practicing with my camera photographing children in my neighborhood because I NEEDED to take photos of other people's children since I couldn't shoot my own.
Then I started my photography business full time because I felt guilty quitting my job to stay at home with my baby boy, born a year later after my loss, and I NEEDED to feel more than a SAHM.
I started shooting film because I wanted to be a cool kid. I continued shooting it even though it seriously cut into my profits because I loved the way it looked and I LOVED not having to edit.
I began shooting weddings because I needed bigger paydays.
I stopped shooting weddings because I didn't like playing the game of "hire me not them!".
I began sharing a studio because I needed to feel legit as a photographer, even though I was a "lifestyle" photographer and didn't know what I would shoot in the studio space itself.
Every decision I have made has ultimately, even though sometimes unconsciously, been about what I want. I've been trying to be happy.
My personal AND professional photography journey has been about my own happiness. I am the type of person that harbors a lot of feelings and sometimes (often) a lot of sadness inside every part of me. It's just who I am. And the older I get the more I understand it.
In the last few years, instead of just doing what I thought I should do (becoming a "lifestyle" photographer), I started to think about what would really make ME happy. What did I want and why? How do I make that happen? What if it's not the norm and everyone laughs at me? What if my business falls apart because I'm not doing what everyone else does? What if I just flat out fail? What if?
I figured it out. For me anyway. I found out how to begin to let go of the things I didn't want to do. I gave myself permission to be selfish without feeling guilty about it.
And you know what happened? I didn't fail. I began to smile more. I began to enjoy going to shoots. I started falling in love with my work and feeling proud about what I was making, what I was doing, who I was photographing. I didn't listen to anyone who was laughing at me, only those laughing with me.
My work changed. My business changed. And I finally felt that sense of happiness and fulfillment in my work and my business.
I want the same for you.
Are you happy in your work? Do you feel fulfilled? Are you stuck with to many "what if" questions in your head? Let's work those out. Together.
Come join me and Sandra at the Little Bellows Retreat. I promise you will leave Oregon with a sense of what you too can do for yourself AND your business to begin (or continue) your own journey of becoming happy with your work.
I hope to see you there.